James Royal-Lawson

Facebook page marketing: How not to do it

A familiar shaped postcard appeared in the post the other week. A big Facebook “like” thumbs up. My kids thought it was excellent (as 3 and 5 year olds, they haven’t really been infected by Facebook yet). For me, it just sent my web-sense into overdrive.

ICA Maxi Nacka

The postcard was sent from ICA, the largest supermarket chain in Sweden and Scandinavia, or more specifically, from one of my local ICA stores that I visit pretty regularly.

Postcard in the shape of a Facebook like thumbs up

This mailshot will have been sent to a large number of ICA Maxi Nacka’s customers – thousands at a guess. The Facebook page had 98 fans on the day the mailshot arrived. Today it’s got twenty more. So we can safely say that this is an example of how not how to market your Facebook page.

We’ll start with the post card itself. Where is the next step? what am I supposed to do? The advert isn’t going to magically click on a like button for me. I need some help. Where’s the URL to the facebook page? OK, perhaps a QR code to scan? Nope. A search term to put me in the right direction? Well, perhaps, but you can’t be certain. Maybe the Facebook page name is Maxi ICA Nacka?

Flawed marketing concept

The whole concept of the mailshot is flawed in this situation. I’m expected to do a series of improbably things. I’m expected to look at this and be convinced that liking this particular ICA store is going to give me something sufficient in return. They do explain that on their Facebook page “You will find inspiration, recipes, events, special offers”. Maybe that’s a big enough return for my Like-love…

Hello, what’s your name?

If that has convinced me to “like”, then I have to get myself to a computer, bring up Facebook and think of something to enter into the search box in order to find their incredibly compelling page. Perhaps if I’ve found the advert that compelling I might have taken it with me to the computer to help me (or perhaps I pulled out my tablet there and then in the kitchen, taking a pause from opening the rest of the mail).

You may remember that the postcard had “Maxi ICA Nacka” in the text. This is one of the names the store calls itself. Unfortunately for them, almost all ICA stores are known as ICA [place name], and the larger Maxi stores as ICA Maxi [place name] – and more often that not you don’t need to say the place name, there’s not that many of them nearby.

If you enter ICA Maxi into Facebook, you get a whole load of results containing supermarkets from all over Sweden. You’d have to work hard and long to find the Nacka store amongst them. So, let’s add Nacka to the search phrase giving us ICA Maxi Nacka. Surely that’ll work?

Screenshot from Facebook showing two search results

As you can see. You get two results. Both of which are Facebook Places. Joe Shopper is starting to lose a bit of the overwhelming urge to “like” this ICA store. The lack of profie pictures makes them instantly less “likable” and convincing too. They clearly aren’t the right pages.

Are we there yet?

Let’s put the phrase from the postcard into Facebook’s search. Maxi ICA Nacka. As Facebook provides instant search results, you’re going to naturally pause after typing Maxi ICA (as ICA stores appear at this point). None of them are Nacka. Let’s continue typing. Nope. It’s one of those Facebook places again.

Screenshot from Facebook showing four search results

Maxi Nacka – who needs ICA!

At this point, if anyone is still hunting, they are hunting for the page out of pure frustration and stubbournness. In one last try, we go for Maxi Nacka. Yes! Bingo! Of course! Obviously as an ICA store you are going to make sure that the main brand of your company is totally missing from the page name.

So we’ve made it to the page. Probably. Apparently this business is based in Nackawic, New Brunswick. At this point, i’ve stopped crying and i’m starting to laugh.

Screenshot of ICA Maxi Nacka's Facebook page

Despite being over the 25 fan threshold for choosing a custom name for your page, the page still has the ugly 14-digit ID number in it’s URL – 167901786576697. I understand that they don’t want to use that URL in their marketing material.

Perhaps they did think about claiming a better name, but just forgot to actually claim it. They do, after all, have a (broken) link to on their Info page.

Over 150 dollars a fan?

The page had 98 fans on the day when the postcard arrived. A few weeks later whilst I’m writing this blog post, they’ve gained a well earned 20. Designing, printing and distributing an advert to a large number of your customers isn’t something that’s free. Even if i’m kind and say that the campaign cost 20000kr (design, print, distribution) they are looking at a cost per fan of 1000kr (approximately 150 dollars).

Given the amateur nature of this entire effort, I’m going to stick my neck out and presume that they didn’t have any specific, measurable, goals for the campaign. Suffice to say, I imagine they expected to earn more than 20 new recruits. I’m starting to feel I should like their page out of sympathy rather than enthusiasm!

Digital marketing is easy to execute – anyone can do it. This is both it’s advantage and it’s disadvantage. Anyone can do it, but not as many can do it well.

is a freelance web manager and strategist based in Stockholm Sweden.

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