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Wealth Management Firms: Who's Winning in SEO?

Today we released new research on the state of SEO in the wealth management industry in collaboration with Moz, a highly respected expert on all things related to search engine optimization (SEO). The analysis answers a question we’ve heard a lot over the past few years as we’ve evolved our Hearsay Sites solution and talked with countless firms (many whom we’ve partnered with to launch their local advisor website program): Who is winning in search, and what are they doing right?
Most companies know how their search traffic is changing – they might even spot check a few of their competitors locally – but no one seemed to know who was garnering the most website traffic nationwide as a result of search engines. We had even less knowledge about how things were changing over time – who was gaining ground and who was losing.
Working with Moz, we believed we could come up with an answer. As a leader in SEO technology, Moz has the tools and data to answer such a broad question. We at Hearsay have the industry insights to make sense of the data and identify the facts that would be most interesting for financial services firms.
Our new report, “The State of SEO: Search Engine Rankings for Wealth Management Firms,” is a result of our partnership. In it, we rank the wealth management companies that showed up the most on the first page of Google in local, organic and paid search, and identified the top overall best performers (based on five keywords and 5,000 cities).
Download the free report here.
The big winners tended to be the larger firms that have also made website technology an investment and business priority: Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch all fit that description and ranked in the top 10 overall. Edward Jones performed particularly well in local search, consuming nearly 40 percent of total click share with over 7,000 locations across the 5,000 sample cities we analyzed.
Our research clearly indicates companies that don’t have local online presences for their advisors are not getting much benefit from search engines. While some may argue that the way to get around this is to hold the top positions for paid search, directing people to a corporate website or landing page may not be the best customer experience for an industry like wealth management, where business largely happens at the local level – between an advisor and a client – and grows over time. Increasing advisor visibility in search is critical.
What was really interesting was seeing firms that are investing more, proportionately, in digital technology and were “punching above their weight class.” Ameriprise (No. 7 overall) and Raymond James (No. 8 overall) were two that stood out here; both companies have recently launched new website initiatives for their advisors.
In analyzing the leaders in organic, local, paid and overall search, we also were able to identify a few best practices specific to wealth management, and how to develop a search strategy that both leverages the industry’s unique assets and matches today’s consumer search behavior.
This research is one step toward even deeper dives into measurable factors about what affects the sites that rank the best, as well as periodic refreshes to see who trends upward and who falls behind. Similarly, this type of analysis could lend well to other parts of the industry, such as P&C and life insurance. Expect more industry-specific data to come!
Download the free report: “The State of SEO: Search Engine Rankings for Wealth Management Firms”
Read the press release

How Big Financial Services Firms Can Beat Google’s Similar Result Filter

Competition is stiff for the top spots on Google local search – and financial advisors and insurance agents know it. Since the first five results on Google get 67.6 percent of all clicks, it’s extremely important to show up there. Companies with multiple locations will want to go even further and get multiple results in the top five spots – an even more difficult challenge – especially since Google will filter out similar results and not show them at all.
Recently, the SEO community has been discussing this issue and the ensuing challenges. In a recent post from the Moz Blog, Joy Hawkins called out three actionable steps companies can take to beat Google’s filter. We would like to expand upon her three points and discuss how they can be applied specifically to financial services companies which face many of the same challenges as other local businesses and a few unique ones of their own.

1. Make the pages for your locations more different

Google gives users a variety of choices by removing results that are similar. They do this filtering by analyzing a website using algorithms that look at the content, layout and domain of the results. The more similar the content is on site one to site two, the more likely Google is to filter out site one, and so on.
Joy talked about how certain websites being filtered were 77 to 81 percent similar. Our recommended approach is for them to be at least 50 percent unique, and to strive for the 80 percent gold standard. But this can be problematic for the financial services industry, where modified content must meet specific compliance, archiving and branding standards.
Hearsay Sites gives corporate teams the control to set just how much website content advisors can modify so companies can balance their corporate and local brand. For instance, corporate teams can create custom themes to reflect the brand’s look, feel and messaging while creating a consistent flow of corporate assets. At the same time, advisors can customize their sites by uploading office photos, writing bios, linking to partners in their community, sharing local events and commenting on local news, all while working toward hitting the coveted 80 percent mark. As with other content, any website content modifications from advisors will go through an archive and retention process.

2. Take advantage of targeting zip codes or community names

Often companies think of targeting cities and towns, but advisors are often concentrated within specific zip codes and communities. The good news is that the types of communities with the density to justify multiple advisors also tend to be communities that can differentiate themselves from the others.
Many financial services companies try to automate this process by using fake local content. The trouble is that Google’s computers can smell the lack of authenticity all the way from their datacenter. The way for companies to get real local content is to allow their field reps to update their sites. Do they call their neighborhood “South of Market” or do they say “SoMa”? Or, do they indicate they’re located in “South Park,” a very specific area within SoMa? A corporate system might optimize for the term “San Francisco,” or the zip code 94107, but if that isn’t what a user searched for, it could be a waste of resources. Users look for words they really use to describe where they live. So do advisors. Companies can leverage that knowledge by letting advisors customize the content on their websites.
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3. Try to get more links to the individual location pages so they’re more authoritative

If companies are going to put an emphasis on advisor and agent websites, getting deep links to their sites is important. Advisors are likely already partnering with their local Chamber of Commerce, community programs, religious groups and volunteer organizations. When local groups partner with each other, the partnerships often surface on the internet in the form of deep links – links from one website to a specific page of another.
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Though corporate sites might have thousands of links pointing to them, it will help local SEO in Harrisonburg much more if the Harrisonburg Chamber of Commerce links directly to advisors based in Harrisonburg. Those links build authority on the advisor’s page and will help companies’ local ranking much more.
There are many ways to build links properly and just as many ways for advisors to get in trouble. In fact, there are many horror stories (ask any local SEO expert) of a single individual acting out of line and causing an entire company to get penalized by Google, often resulting in lost business up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
We recommend taking a guide-rails approach to local linking. Allow advisors to operate freely, within certain boundaries. Never encourage local advisors to buy links as it’s a quick way to hurt the SEO of not only their site, but the corporate site as well. Instead, companies should allow advisors to focus on natural outreach in the community. A great first step is the ability to link from their website to relevant local websites. This will strengthen local relationships, provide value for visitors and often result in other websites linking back to them.
By enabling advisors to share unique content, use their neighborhood knowledge and build link relationships naturally, companies can give their distributed web programs the best chance at having multiple locations rank highly and avoid Google’s similar results filter.

Related Resources:

Google to Penalize Websites That Are Not Mobile-Friendly

Is your website mobile readyshutterstock_209175247? If not, Google will start penalizing your search rankings beginning April 21.
Google recently announced that it would be expanding how it uses website mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. In their official statement, they announced that this will have a “significant impact” on search results, meaning websites that are not mobile optimized — that is, non-responsive to different screen sizes or configured to be viewed on multiple devices — will see a heavy drop in traffic.
At Hearsay Social, we have suspected these changes for some time based on prior Google announcements. And once the April 21 changes take effect, the impact will be significant.
Moreover, Google rarely provides in such clear terms the secret behind their ranking algorithms, and the fact that they have done so here creates an opportunity to meet the demands of a changing era.
Are your advisor websites prepared?
Many financial services companies have realized the importance of mobile in the past few years and have invested in optimizing their corporate websites. One area frequently overlooked, however, has been advisor websites. This is especially important because mobile searches often return local results, according to a ComScore study, which stated that 56% of “on-the-go” mobile searches had local intent.
Are your advisor websites mobile optimized?
The good news is Google can help answer that question for you. They have provided webmasters with a tool that crawls a website and grades the mobile usability – a tool that very likely works in the same way that their ranking algorithm does.
Check out the Google Mobile Friendly test here
Try it out for yourself, how did your websites do? 80/100? 90/100? 95/100?
While doing research during the development of our Hearsay Sites product we found that most advisor sites were either not mobile optimized and scored in the low 50s or partially-optimized, bringing their score into the high 80s or low 90s. So if you scored in the 90s, congratulations, you’re doing better than many of your peers.
As we’ve developed our product using a mobile-first adaptive and responsive approach we’ve found that scores of 98 or 100 are not only possible, but really the only ones that should be acceptable. We never design for the test, but have found repeatedly that when our expert designers are given the tools and freedom to approach mobile design in the way they know is best for consumers, the results will follow.
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What can you do?
April 21 is just around the corner. While you may not have time to launch new advisor websites in under two months, there might be some minor fixes you can put in place to minimize the damage.
As you begin an undertaking to refresh your advisor sites, we recommend asking why your websites got so far behind in the first place. The answer is often that you were using an inflexible system or outdated technology. The reality is that the web is a constantly evolving ecosystem and if you aren’t prepared to move at the pace of change, your websites will be out of date the day they launch. Unfortunately, this is all too often the case in our industry.
At Hearsay Social we have a different approach to advisor websites. We take care of the technology. Your team and advisors provide the great content that consumers are looking for – what we do is keep the website up to date with the latest standards in SEO, mobile usability, markup, CSS, and other capabilities.
If your websites are already mobile friendly, great! But if not, and you find yourself too busy to stay up to date with the ever changing world of SEO, web standards, and Google algorithms, it may be time to explore how a technology partner can help you provide up to date tools for your advisors.

At f8 2014: Facebook's renewed focus on stability and predictability is fantastic news for our customers

1560475_10152244863990798_170618524_nFacebook’s f8 developers conference was a bit different this year.
In the past, f8 has typically been a sporadically scheduled event where Facebook takes the opportunity to announce huge new features. The “Like” button & social graph were both announced at previous conferences.
This year, there were a number of new features announced that will push forward the mobile app industry–most of them focused around consumer applications. I am personally excited about app links, anonymous logins and audience network because these are the types of infrastructural changes that will allow creative developers to continue evolving the mobile app space.
At the same time, however, most of those changes aren’t particularly relevant to Hearsay Social’s current product offering. But there was one huge shift at f8 worth talking about: a very public shift towards stability and predictability.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, took the stage and shared some reflections he’d noticed as Facebook entered it’s 11th year and as he soon enters his 30th. In giant letters above him the famous mantra appeared: “Move fast and break things”. This mantra is much-loved by innovative Silicon Valley developers because it is justification to innovate at all costs, even if that means periodic downtime or bugs.
But as he spoke, the image behind him changed to “Move fast with stable infra.”

It “may not be quite as catchy as ‘move fast and break things.’ But it’s how we operate now.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, at last week’s f8 developers conference.

Our biggest takeaway

At Hearsay Social, we build software for many of the world’s largest companies. And large companies, due to their many moving parts, require  predictability and stability to ensure effectiveness. Many of these companies operate with strict regulations, further intensifying the need for stability and predictability.
We strive to iterate fast and innovate often, while also balancing the predictability needs of our customers. This is a core value at Hearsay Social and something our CTO and founder Steve Garrity talks about often. We help “match the pace of Silicon Valley with the pace of the Fortune 100.”
The fact that Facebook has publicly committed to APIs that last for two years, 48 hour turnaround on major bug fixes and more visibility into changes is great news for Hearsay Social and our customers. The additional stability of one of the platforms we build on will allow us to pass on additional stability of our platform to our customers. This is a win.
We are excited that Facebook has acknowledged that the long term success of their company depends on the trust and participation of large companies. We are excited that they see that this trust increasing as they add stability and predictability. Finally, we are excited that we get to represent many of these companies by continuing to develop the Hearsay Social solution, which allows our customers to leverage the power of social connections.
Thank you Mark and team for your commitment to stability. We look forward to building on your platform for years to come.

Anatomy of a Facebook Business Page

Many marketers still measure the value of their social media pages by a count: either a count of fans or a count of engagements (likes, comments, etc.). Unfortunately, the insights provided by these measurements are nominal. If you want to know the true value of your fans or how your social media communities are contributing to real ROI and sales results, then these basic counts should be a start, not an end.
We have already learned that not all fans should be valued equally and that local fans can be worth as much as 40x that of corporate fans. There are additional ways to analyze a page – one of which is by viewing the composition of its fan graph as a network.
Below is an image representing Hearsay Social’s Facebook business page. The data used to create this visualization is all of the public posts, likes, and comments over a one-year period. Each point on the graph represents a fan and the edges (curved lines) between them represent shared interests as determined by common stories they interacted with.

It’s not just a pretty graph. After analyzing the image, here are a few important takeaways our data team has come up with:

  1. Your entire fan base is actually made up of many smaller groupings.
    At the time of this writing, our Facebook page has nearly 5,000 fans. You can see from the image above that those fans make up a number of smaller clusters – about 20 by my count. Each of these sub-groupings has a distinct personality, set of interests, and motivation for interacting with your page. Understanding more about your own Facebook page’s sub-groups will let you better segment and target your messaging to increase its effectiveness. This is a very common practice in email marketing but it has not yet seen widespread application in social media outside of some very basic geographical targeting.When thinking about your business, you can probably think of a few sub-groups of customers. Are each of those present on social media? Are some more prevalent than others?
  2. You have power fans and influencers — each with their own personality.
    Below is the same graph above, filtered by the most active fans of Hearsay Social. You can see that while there are a dozen or so power fans, they do not all share exactly the same interest. Much like the sub-groupings, each power fan has their own reason for interacting with your content. Many of these power fans are in fact strong representatives of a sub-group. Identifying these people can help you better understand how to effectively communicate with the sub-groups they share the most in common with.
    Have you identified your power fans? Do you know which sub-groups they represent? 
  3. Clusters of fans that have interacted with the same content can help us infer social graph connections and use Facebook’s EdgeRank to our advantage.
    Below is a magnified image of a single sub-group. Digging deeper, I traced down the common interest that these fans share: a blog post about Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz visiting the Hearsay Social office.  Most of them aren’t common ‘likers’ of content which makes us suspect that their having seen the content – and thus liking – was in part caused by Facebook’s EdgeRank. (Facebook doesn’t show every post a page makes to all of its fans but tends to show it more to people who’s friends have interacted with that content.)

    I’m not certain that anyone in this sub-group are Facebook friends with each other, but I suspect a few might be. In this case, we only have a few data points for this particular sub-group; the more data we have, the more accurate our predictions will be. (By the way, if anyone listed below happens to be reading this, leave a comment below to let us know if my hypothesis is correct!)

In conclusion, thinking about your social media connections as merely a number greatly limits your ability to understand them. The more complex your analysis model, the better your understanding will be. Social media is all about connections and networks, so one of the best ways to analyze and learn about your fans is by viewing them as an interconnected network graph.
Do you notice anything else interesting in the images? I’d love to hear your observations.

Local Facebook fans beat corporate fans 40 to 1

Earlier today, independent research group Mainstay Salire released a white paper comparing the fans of corporate and local Facebook pages. According to Mainstay’s data, the typical Facebook post from a local Page reaches five times the percentage of fans as a corporate post, and eight times as many of the fans reached will engage with that post. (Engagement could mean anything from viewing a photo or watching a video to clicking a link, liking, commenting, or sharing.)
Combining those two factors—five times reach and eight times engagement—Mainstay concludes that a local fan is 40 times more valuable than a corporate fan on Facebook.
This new data confirms what has been reiterated time and again both by Facebook (as evident in this fMC conversation between Facebook VP David Fischer and Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn) as well as Hearsay Social, where making the enterprise successful on social at the local level has always been our top priority.
Our design team whipped up an infographic to visualize exactly how this plays out when you trace the path from a Page post to actual engagement on the user level:

What else can we learn about the benefit of local pages? Depending on your social media goals, there are benefits across the board, though it’s clear now that just accumulating as many fans as possible shouldn’t be the end goal.

1. Getting more link clicks

We know from our research that a large portions of posts on social media contain links. Most people post those links in hopes that someone will click them, but are people more likely to click links from bigger or smaller pages? As it turns out, smaller pages see higher clickthrough rates per fan. Not only do more fans see the link, but more of those that see the link are likely to click it.

2. Using more effective media types

Not all post types are equal. We looked at this before but it is even more obvious when comparing corporate and local pages. Looking at “People Talking About This” (PTAT), which is a count of everyone that has commented on, liked, or shared your post, we can see that certain types of posts get more traction. For local pages, photos are the most effective form of media, followed by status updates, videos, and, last of all, links. Interestingly, photos are the second most effective media type for corporate pages, trailing videos. My take is that large corporate pages videos get the most PTAT/Reach because corporate has a bigger budget and thus higher production value on the videos they produce and post to Facebook.

3. Avoiding negative feedback

Not everyone is aware of the negative feedback metrics on Facebook but they are very important. When your posts appear in someone’s News Feed, the user can choose to hide the story or to unsubscribe from your page’s posts completely. In either instance, you would lose the opportunity to reach that person with your content. Looking at the percentage of fans reached who submit negative feedback, we found that larger pages are more likely to elicit negative feedback. This could be caused by many factors, but it most likely comes down to lack of interesting, original content from corporate.
To conclude, we cannot say enough how important it is to make sure you update your Facebook timeline with unique, timely, and relevant content to the user. And, for large enterprises struggling to engage with individuals across social, the key lies in unlocking the power of local.
Feel free to share in the comments any trends you’ve noticed on your own social media pages! And be sure to download the Mainstay report, The Power of Going Local: Comparing the Impact of Corporate vs. Local Facebook Pages.

Be a spooky company: use your customer data to be scary helpful

Social media can be both a blessing and a curse:  the proliferation of readily available customer data has given marketers more to work with than ever before, but it’s hard to sift through so much. The problem is so pervasive that data management could very well be the one thing in our era that makes or breaks companies, whether they’re tech-focused or not.
Hosted in Denver, CO, Defrag Con is an event focused on big data, social media, and enterprise software. It was a perfect opportunity for me, Hearsay Social’s local data-monger, to meet with others from the industry and see what they are working on.
Most of the talks involved boring (exciting!) stuff like API integration and Hadoop that only the super tech savvy will care about. There were, however, a few takeaways that I would like to share because I believe they will affect how we think about enterprise social media in 2012:

  1. Social businesses should be spooky, not creepy
    What is the difference? Creepy companies have a lot of data on their customers but don’t do much with it. Spooky companies, on the other hand, use what they know to become so helpful that it’s scary! We should use the knowledge we have about our customers to tailor their experience with us. We should combine our business records with their profiles to make become more helpful than ever before.
  2. Data isn’t the same thing as common sense
    While some things we learn from data might seem obvious, things always seem obvious once we know them. As we continue to adapt how we engage our customers on social media, let’s not forget to keep an eye on the data. Maybe Wednesday is a good day to post for some industries, but things might be different for you.
  3. Data and computers are growing, but there are still only 24 hours in the day
    As we gather more data than ever before and crunch it faster, we can easily hit data overload. The key to success isn’t more data, but more useful data. Drawing simple actionable insights from data should always be the goal.

Do you keep an eye on your social media data? Have you ever felt data overload? Let me know – leave a comment below.

Facebook Insights update: Track virality, impressions, friends of fans, and more

Today Facebook released an update to Page Insights, the metrics that a Page owner sees about their Facebook Business Page.

Hearsay Social participated in Facebook’s Pages Insights Alpha program, in which we provided feedback on the new Pages metrics and were given alpha access to the new Insights API.
As a data nerd, I am very excited about Facebook’s updates. The more data we have, the better decisions we can make on how to reach and support our customers.
The metrics I foresee as being the most useful for businesses include:

  1. Paid vs Organic vs Viral – This breakdown helps distinguish where your audience comes from and is an extremely important part of using Facebook for business. Understanding how your message spreads, whether naturally, by word-of–mouth, or through paid campaigns, will allow you to make better decisions about how to manage your social media efforts.
  2. Unique Impressions – This data allows you to see how many of your consumers actually see the updates you post and how often they see them. Not every fan will see every update you post because Facebook tries to show users the content most relevant and timely to them based on EdgeRank, Facebook’s secret sauce for optimizing the News Feed. The new unique impressions information will allow businesses to measure their actual day-to-day reach. This will help change the focus from fan count, which is a helpful but not end-all metric, to actual reach.

  4. Consumption – Facebook now provides metrics on content consumption, which includes many user action-types that were previously hard to track, such as link clicks, photo views, and video plays. These metrics will offer a better read on who is engaged with content, beyond the people who comment and “like” the content.
  5. People talking about this – This new metric pinpoints how many people are talking about your Page. “Talking about” includes interacting with your content via comments or likes, tagging your Business Page in their own updates, linking to your Page, or tagging visits to your location (formerly called “checking in”). This number is the Facebook equivalent of a net promoter score. It is the group of people that really like your business, those who help to spread the word.

  7. Friends of Fans – This metric shows the number of Facebook users who are one degree away from your Page, which is extremely useful when creating viral content. If a fan of your Business Page leaves a comment on your Page, their activity will appear on their wall and possibly in the News Feed of their friends. This means that, at any point, the possible reach you have is actually much greater than you might imagine. (The average Facebook user has 130 fans!)

What do you think about these new metrics? How do you foresee them helping shape your social media strategy?
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I’m excited to see how everyone makes use of this new data.

Showdown: links vs photos vs messages. Which medium works best on social media?

A previous blog post discussed ways to increase social media engagement to avoid the dreaded cricket chirp post. I suggested monitoring three factors around posting to see what worked best. Today I would like to share some data around the first factor – media type.
There are five different media types Facebook allows for posting a story (Figure 1) – text, link, image, video, and poll, very similar to the types of status updates allowed by Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Google+.

Figure 1

I crawled 1,000 randomly selected local Facebook Business Pages, looking at activity from May to July 2011. While results may vary, this is a good gauge to shape your own analysis.
Note: Since the poll feature of Facebook is relatively new and not yet widely used, and ‘video’ is also not widely used (Facebook considers YouTube and other embedded videos to be links), there were not enough video or poll posts to draw statistically significant conclusions.
Figure 2

Three major insights from Figure 2:

1. Pictures get ‘likes.’ This makes sense, as photos are by far one of the most engaging items on personal Facebook profiles. People like looking at photos. Clicking the ‘like’ button is the Facebook equivalent of saying “great shot.”
2. Text status updates get comments. Text based messages put emphasis on the statement. When a business asks a question or makes an announcement via a message, customers are more likely to respond with a comment or share their opinion. A customer might enjoy a photo or link, but be able to sufficiently state their opinion with the ‘like’ button. A question, on the other hand, usually begs a response.
3. Links aren’t very engaging. According to my data, you are lucky to receive a comment on one in six links you post to your Facebook Business Page. There are more ‘likes’ than comments, but links are still the least engaging of media types.
Now that we know a bit about expected engagement of each media type, let’s look at the volume that these sample businesses are publishing in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Links, which have the lowest engagement, count for 60% of the posts to Facebook Business Pages. Engagement might not be how every business determines success, but engagement is an important factor in your future social media interactions.

Suggestions for Businesses

Post more pictures. People like looking at photos and they are a great way to interact with your fan base and build trust. People like to do business with a smiling face.
– Do you have a unique skill or hobby? Post pictures that show your personality.
– Post pictures related to your line of work – shots from the field or scenarios you encounter on a daily basis. Though these things may seem routine to you, it will help familiarize your customers with your business and show that you’re an expert.
– Post pictures of your happy customers – with their permission, of course. If it makes sense for your line of work, this is a great way to allow customers to relate to other customers you have served well.
Post fewer links. Whether you are linking to your own site or other articles on the Web, you might be posting links more than your customers benefit from. If, like many of the businesses I analyzed, 60% of your posts are links, try dropping it to 40% or less. Other media types create more engagement and interest. When you do finally post a link, say, back to your website, your audience may be more likely to make a purchase.
Don’t be afraid to post plain text. Sometimes simple is better. Don’t be afraid to post a single line of text expressing a sentiment or asking a question.
Can you think of more ways to apply this knowledge? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

How soon can I expect growth on my Facebook Business Page?

One question we hear a lot at Hearsay Social is, “How soon should I expect to get more ‘likes’ on my new Facebook Page?” You might be wondering the same thing.
In order to give you an accurate answer, I looked at the data of approximately 1,000 small businesses that created a new Facebook Page since signing up with Hearsay Social, tracking them over their first 60 days.
Figure 1 shows the results.

Figure 1: Average growth across all 60 Pages, normalized by the date they were created.

Notice that I didn’t include a value scale on the y-axis. The actual number of fans varies greatly depending on your business. A hot restaurant in New York City will have a larger reach than an accounting office in Nebraska. One thing that remains consistent, however, is the pace at which they acquire fans.
A few things to notice:
1. The rate of growth is much faster in the early days – nearly 50% of growth happens within 10 days of Page creation.
2. There are a few hiccups where the average drops slightly for a day or two.
3. The line shows a fairly smooth decelerating curve.
Do you notice anything else? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Segment Analysis

To help you understand the pace at which your Page will gain “likes,” we can group your followers into segments.

Figure 2: Splitting the graph from above into four segments.

Group #1 – Friends and Family

It’s an old business school lesson: When you start a business, the first people you should go to for support are your friends and family. So, it makes sense that when you start a Business Page on Facebook you would do the same.
After creating your new Page, the majority of your followers will come from your personal Facebook friends. The best way to spread the word is to post a status update on your personal profile linking to your new Business Page.

Group #2 – Loyal Fans

Your customers probably already use Facebook on a daily basis. Many of them will be excited that your business now has a social media presence. Make sure to let them know about your new Page by creating a sign to hang at your office and by including a link in your email signature.

Group #3 – The Masses

This next group represents the majority of your customers. As you inform your customers and extended network about your Facebook Business Page, you will see a steady increase in fans. This growth can last for 30-45 days.

Group #4 – New Audience

Once you’ve reached the majority of your customers, you can increase your online presence by reaching out to a new audience – new customers, interested prospects, and people that find your content interesting.

*Special Note – Promotions, Mentions, and Viral Growth

There may be times when you see a surge in growth in a short time. This might happen because of something you planned (a marketing campaign), sometimes it’s unexpected (your business gets mentioned in a popular blog), and sometimes it’s something amazing (like a video that you created goes viral). You did remember to include your Facebook Business Page URL in the video, right?

Example of unexpected growth I saw on a Facebook Business Page. A popular blog learned about the business and recommended it to their readers. In about a week the Facebook fan count of the business tripled.

Final Thoughts

Growth during the first week is highly indicative of long term success. If you are having trouble getting started, you might need to rethink your approach. Hearsay Social provides onboarding and training for all of our customers. Take advantage of it!
Are you thinking of starting a new Facebook Business Page? How do these graphs compare with your expectations?
If you’ve already started a Facebook Business Page, was your experience similar to these averages?