We sat down with Facebook marketing expert Dennis Yu to talk about EdgeRank. Dennis offers an unique perspective as CEO of BlitzLocal.com (an agency that does online advertising for big brands and yellow page category businesses). Let’s dive into the questions and answers:
1) How can local businesses utilize EdgeRank to their advantage?
The challenge for local businesses is to manage an increasing number of online presences when they just don’t have the time or money. Another hour spend messing around on Facebook is an hour away from their family, so the value proposition for using tools, running campaigns, or updating the website better be super good. EdgeRank can tell them if their engagement rate is good and if their content/timing/targeting is on the mark. But taking action against it is a whole different matter. Until existing reporting tools have integrated action, local businesses won’t want to use yet another software package, even if totally free.
2) How do you envision local businesses utilizing Apps in the future?
Because local business owners are so practical– they care about generating revenue as opposed to getting more Facebook fans for the heck of it, a new breed of apps will do things like post coupons to multiple locations (their website, Facebook page, twitter, etc…) as well as flag negative reviews for the owner to respond to. In other words, these apps will provide automated action across multiple channels. They don’t replace the human involved, just help with some of the gruntwork. When call tracking and lead tracking is integrated into these apps, local businesses will be able to unquestionably measure the ROI of all their marketing efforts. Such tools don’t exist yet, of course, but that’s why companies like BlitzLocal are in the space.
3) In your opinion, what is the future of EdgeRank?
EdgeRank by itself is a mathematical concept that doesn’t have business context. Who really cares if their EdgeRank or PageRank goes up by a point or two, unless they can also quantify the business impact at the same time. Google released Quality Score as a diagnostic measure after they released PageRank, so that business owners understood the actual impact of their Quality Score going up or down. Double your quality score and pay half as much for your traffic– now that’s compelling. Does that exist on Facebook yet? No.
4) What is your company doing about local analytics?
We want to provide our scoring tools for absolutely free in the marketplace, with the understanding that if businesses are educated about their data, they can make informed decisions. And naturally, we hope they will also use us to run their campaigns based on that insight. Expect a first release by Spring 2012. We believe that local and social are irrevocably intertwined, since your real customers and real friends are the strongest folks in your network, whether or not they are actually on Facebook. But social networks are increasingly exposing these real world connections because of concepts like “authentic identity”. This causes Facebook to be word of mouth at scale, so we want to help businesses measure that impact and take action.