Communications Update

The Facebook Fallacy.

Riding the wave, today’s social media craze, and Facebook seems king of the hill – today. But is it?

In the tech and customer service world the answer is really – it depends. Much like anything else in life demographics and culture drives any local market. But in the digital realm of things, there are no geographic boundaries. The boundaries become user groups based on demographics. The challenge in coming into the 21st century as an organization is the largest portion are still living in the 20th century. So our marketing and practice must be in both realms and each with its own purpose. To put all our eggs in one basket such as Facebook as a communication medium would be a generally weak or losing proposition. Let’s have a look.

Our Maine Knights of Columbus Facebook Page has 223 followers, 20% are women. Of the 223 followers, 17 are out of state, and of them 5 are out of the country, leaving 206 in state, of which some percentage are women. The highest concentration of Followers is in Lewiston at 13 with the next highest being 8 in Auburn and Portland respectively.

In the past week the deepest ‘Reach’ in a post was 81 with 84 engagements. This indicates some viewers engaged with a post more than once. The single deepest reach in the past month is Caribou’s Golf Tournament Reaching about 3.5 times the next highest article at 277 people reached. This indicates shares outside of the Maine Knights Facebook page.

The next highest articles would be Fort Fairfield’s Blood Drive, Bishop Deeley’s comments on the current crisis, a Nun throwing a baseball, and Pope Francis commenting on the Sex Abuse issue. All these being worthy issues they are outliers or high performers of all posts. The high average of reach for the Maine Knights of Columbus Facebook page is only 32 with a high average of engagement of 7. With such shallow reach and so little engagement how effective can Facebook be as a communication, recruiting, and Insurance sales medium?

Well, now, let’s not be too quick to judge. There are 33 Maine communities represented in those numbers and it only takes one to spread the word. Not necessarily the most effective medium but better than nothing. Further, as we begin to attract a younger and more tech/media consuming membership, there will be a well-established framework to go to for their viewing.  What is important in these metrics is to understand its current reach, the future potential, and the current strength of communication between those that do continually engage with Facebook. With that understanding we can leverage Facebook with other forms of communication.

Our Maine Knights mailing list and website continues to show strong performance and growth.

In the past months the total subscriber base stays steady around 385 to 390. This variance is usually changing internet provider services and. or email services, with other life events mixed in as well. Of those subscribers, total opens on a single email event is about 40+% to a high of 52.6%, up an average of 10-15% over the past year. This means about 200 people across the state are viewing the messages sent via email.  Quite remarkable where industry average is much lower at around 18%., and 225% above a purely Facebook reach.

Disclaimer: Many mail programs actively refuse to answer the request for data when an email is opened or clicked. Although these numbers are actual form the mailing list, the counts are likely somewhat or significantly higher depending on population in a particular platform.

The three evil P’s of Paper, Printing and Postage are greatly reduced in the Maine Council budget, but what has happened with readership of the electronic newsletter?

Early versions of the new newsletter merely depended on Click Rate from the email primer sent out over the list serve. These numbers were difficult to count on where even though a mail client may respond to request for information when an email is opened, it may not report clicked links to download the full newsletter. New capabilities within the web site have given a clearer picture of the penetration of information. Over June and July these numbers indicate a rise in readership as high as 75% of those viewing the email primer, or those that are viewing the Facebook notice of newsletter release, are downloading the full newsletter. It may be reasonable to assume that the rise from June to July may be due to posting the email primer on the Facebook page in July as well as providing it via the email list.

Moreover, as the newsletter library grows, logs are showing that visits to download the most current are also prompting some to download past issues as well.

In short, putting our eggs in one basket, or finding that one basket best suited, is unlikely to meet the need. Partnering these technologies in a standard and strategic way can bring more desirable results. The next tricks are to maintain an attractive production with pertinent content to bring readers back, and keep a delicate balance of email traffic that is enough to inform but not so much as to desensitize the reader to our presence in their inbox.


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