I had a chance to sit down with Thiago Barrella, marketing analyst at Yahoo Brazil, who manages the brand’s Facebook page, among other things. He believes in the power of authentic conversations enabled by social media, as well as the ability for social conversations to connect everyone in the future.
What are three interesting things you have learned in growing and managing the Yahoo Brazil page?
Social media is not about broadcasting, is about interacting. So, the first of them is that the new form of entertainment is sharing. People like to share what they’re are doing or thinking, so as a brand that cares about your customers, you have to encourage them to share and really listen to what they’re doing. If they say “good morning,” wish them a great day back.
The second one is related to the first one. Any user that complains must be heard and quick. If you provide the user with a quick solution for his or her problem, this user will actually become a fan and know that he or she can count on you.
The third one is to make people talk and interact among each other. Every single post must be a conversation starter. Ask people if they agree, if they like, make them talk to each other, make friends. This will make your page a good environment, making your fan page more than just a fan page, but a community where people have fun.
Given that Yahoo has a global page, various country pages and a lot of property-specific pages, how do you coordinate and manage across all these pages?
Yahoo produces different content for each country, it’s because of this we have a local page, so we can communicate and bring content about what happens here to people who live here – - this brings us closer to our fans. We have a corporate page that it’s like our home page: covers a little bit of everything that we have to offer at Yahoo.
But, if the user wants to know only about a specific subject, like sports or entertainment for example, they can like the sports or entertainment news page that is managed by the Yahoo’s editorial team (these are content experts who know the topics inside and out, and this make the content even more relevant).
How do you coordinate between the website and your Facebook pages — do you sync content and promotions or perhaps have separate content just for social?
Everything we do in our fan page has to do with Yahoo’s products and content, but that doesn’t mean that we can develop exclusive content for our Facebook, such as tabs promoting our new version of the Yahoo Mail, or a games based on our properties.
Facebook can give us a really good support for a campaign starting from Yahoo! itself, but it is a wonderful place to make exclusive content, this makes the fan feel special and makes our page much more attractive (people also like us because in Facebook they have something that they wouldn’t if they only accessed the website).
Additionally, Facebook is a great traffic generator — we can leverage the fans and connections to steer people back to our sites for more content and information — this is extremely valuable so you aren’t creating duplicate promotions within Facebook.
How do you determine the value of a fan, and what do you consider to be a good fan?
It’s really hard to determine the actual value of a single fan, but we can determine the value of our community. Our objective with our Facebook page is bring more users to the Yahoo network, see our content and experience our products.
If we do a really good job engaging our fans, they will come back and they will surf through Yahoo, and this makes our fan page valuable. It’s more valuable a page with 500K of deeply interactive fans, than a page with one million fans that don’t interact at all.
That also determines who are the good fans. As we have a lot of content, the good fans are the ones who not just click on the articles, but also likes it, comments on it and shares it. This is the fan that will come back for more.
Another good fan, is the one that comes to our page to complain about something (people can get really mean when they are complaining) and, when the problem is solved, the fan starts liking and commenting on your posts. By solving problems, the person that comes to complain, can actually become a fan.
What advice do you have for content producers that are trying to grow their presence on Facebook?
First, see if the content you’re producing is the content that your fan is looking for. As a media brand, we have tons of content, but we have to select the ones that our fans want to see. Also, as I told you, every post must be a conversation starter.
Ask what your fans opinions are and encourage them to participate. This way your fans will advertise your page themselves, and it will grow by itself. And always remember that social media is not about broadcasting, is about interacting.
What’s one unexpected thing you’ve learned about managing a big page on Facebook?
Social media works faster than you think. From the second you hit ‘post’, someone has alredy seen it, so be very careful.
If you could ask Mark Zuckerberg to give you three new features on Facebook, what would you ask for?
First, I would ask for more information from where my fans come from. On the insights page under users, we have a lot of fans that come from unknown sources. Knowing where your friends come from is really useful — if they were recommended, for example, you can build a social strategy and ask people to recommend you to their friends.
Second, it would be great to know to top five interests of our fans. This would make it much easier to post and interact, based on what the top fan interests are.
Third, I would like to be able to livestream without using a third party tool.
Dennis Yu has helped brands grow and measure their Facebook presences. He has spoken at Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, PubCon, Conversational Commerce Conference, Pacific Conferences, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Convention, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant, and other venues. Yu has also counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. Yu has held leadership positions at Yahoo and American Airlines. His educational background is finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics.