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The 14 Most Improved Brands on Facebook in 2012

Peter Claridge

This report was originally published on the Business2Community website on the 17th January. It has been republished on the Unmetric blog.

2012 was a great year for social media. Most brands have moved on from counting Likes to focusing on their content strategy and building engagement with their community. We also saw the rise of customer service being handled over social media which raises the question again: who owns social media in the company? The smarter companies have figured out that every single employee owns social media and have adjusted their business accordingly. Just take a look at JetBlue, which is able to answer thousands of tweets a month in just 15 minutes or less – that doesn’t happen unless there is a monumental shift in the backend support processes.

For this study, we were interested in which brands have improved the most over the last 12 months. There are so many metrics, qualitative and quantitative, that we could have looked at, but fortunately the Unmetric Score takes all the metrics in to account to produce a single benchmarkable score. We also plotted the average monthly Engagement Score of the brands to give a bit more insight in to how much brands have improved in engaging their audience.

After sifting through the social media performances of over 1,000 brands, we found the 14 most improved brands. In no particular order, here are the most improved brands on Facebook in 2012.

Applebee’s

Applebee’s performance on Facebook is proof that people love to eat, talk and share. Engagement has been higher in the second half of the year, peaking in November. Corporate Social Responsibility often resonates well and the post saluting veterans and offering them free meal at Applebee’s, posted in November, had the highest Engagement Score of the year. Similarly a poll conducted in July also saw high user engagement and spurred on fan growth, which helped Applebee’s do so well against their competitors.

Applebee's 2012 Facebook Performance

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings, a bar and grill restaurant, saw a steadily improving Unmetric and Engagement Score throughout 2012. It showed similar trends as Applebee’s with engagement slowing down during the months of March and April and climbing up thereafter. The most engaging post from September featured a photo of chicken wings with the caption asking fans if there was anything better than wings. Clearly, people thought not with the post attracting over 50,000 Likes.

Buffalo Wild Wing's 2012 Facebook Performance

Subway

Subway seems to have had its best Facebook month in October with the highest Unmetric and Engagement scores. It saw a steady increase in its scores from April to October with a small blip in September before surging ahead in October. Subway’s content strategy was really gelling with fans in the third quarter with some of the highest engagement scores in the sector. The huge jump in engagement can be attributed to the oh so adorable baby in a subway wrapper photo, titled ‘its teeniest little fan’. People went gaga for the photo and it attracted over 728,000 Likes.

Subway's 2012 Facebook Performance

Monster Energy

October was the best month for Monster Energy on Facebook with high Unmetric and Engagement Scores. Could this have been helped by Red Bull’s massive publicity campaign for the Stratos Jump helping the energy drink sector in general? Steadily rising since its fall in April 2012, Monster Energy’s Unmetric Score falters again in September and November. It’s Engagement Score saw a rise in November with this post celebrating its 20 million fans with a fantastic video. Over 100,000 people Liked the post.

Monster Energy's 2012 Facebook Performance

Walmart

Walmart saw a year low Unmetric Score of 69 in January 2012 but improved steadily throughout the year to reach a high of 88 in October 2012. However, in the same month it registered a drop in its Engagement Score that had been rising steeply, suggesting another key metric was responsible for helping Walmart boost its Unmetric Score. Walmart’s tribute to the 9/11 victims was the brand’s most engaging post in 2012.

Walmart's 2012 Facebook Performance

Target

Target has seen an almost steady growth in Unmetric scores and Engagement scores throughout the year, nearly winning it the prize of most consistantly improving. It’s interesting that the Unmetric Score follows a three month wave pattern at the start of the year. Like it’s biggest competitor, Target’s most engaging post was in September in memory of 9/11 victims. Its lucky draw contest in November which tied in with Black Friday also helped increase user engagement.

Target's 2012 Facebook Performance

Macy’s

Except for the month of February, Macy’s has constantly managed an Unmetric score of 50 and above. It takes the first prize for being the most consistently improved brand month on month. In common with Walmart and Target, February was a low point for Macy’s, suggesting that the month is particularly slow for retail chains on Facebook! It has seen a steady increase in its Unmetric Scores since June 2012 and its most engaging post ‘Hello Kitty’ came in November and attracted over 375,000 Likes. Something for social media managers to think about, Hello Kitty fans LOVE to engage!

Macy's 2012 Facebook Performance

Michael Kors

Though its Unmetric scores fluctuated mildly throughout the year, Michael Kors engagement score has steeply risen from less than 50 to 400 by the end of the year. It also got its highest Unmetric score in the penultimate month of the year, helped in no small part thanks to some highly engaging posts in November. Infact, its top three most engaging posts all came in November while it saw a 160% increase in fans from August till end of November. These boots were the most engaging for fans, but I can’t for the life of me tell you why.

Michael Kors' 2012 Facebook Performance

Cover Girl

After a pretty decent start in January, Cover Girl saw its Unmetric Score and engagement rates on Facebook fall to a year-low in March. But from there it picked up steady to reach a score of 60 in October 2012. The peak in its October Unmetric Score was likely due to the high engagement generated by its post saluting, on its cover page, a child make-up artist battling cancer. This corporate social responsibility post was spread far and wide over Facebook, gaining nearly 1.3m Likes.

Cover Girls' 2012 Facebook Performance

MasterCard

MasterCard saw a big increase in its Unmetric score in October compared to the previous month while its engagement scores dipped which suggests other key metrics helped boost MasterCard’s score in this month. However, the engagement scores picked up again in November, culminating in the best performance of the year in December with an Unmetric Score of 67 and Engagement Score of 86. Four of MasterCard’s most engaging posts of the year were made in December. While Christmas and holiday posts were popular with fans, the most popular was this post which asked fans why they loved their city – a guaranteed engagement driver!

Mastercard's 2012 Facebook Performance

T-Mobile USA

Declining steadily from January to March 2012, T-Mobile USA’s Unmetric Scores and Engagement scores have more than doubled from April onwards to peak in September 2012. The mobile carrier saw a staggering fan growth of over 400% during the last 12 months – I bet they wish that translated to 400% more subscribers. It seems that any post which mentioned a Samsung smartphone saw huge engagement from fans, with the most popular being for the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 where over 120,000 fans Liked the post.

T-Mobile USA's 2012 Facebook Performance

Samsung Mobile USA

2012 has been something of an epic year for Samsung Mobile with rising sales, rising profits and a smartphone that’s almost as desirable (or more desirable) as the iPhone. The Samsung Mobile USA Facebook page has reaped the benefits as people flocked to its myriad devices. As Samsung geared up for the launch of the Note II and the Galaxy S3, engagement, fan growth and other metrics rose steadily. Posts relating to launches of new smartphones and related accessories have helped it improve its Unmetric and Engagement scores considerably. It recorded an all-time high Unmetric Score of 98 in October, the highest ever score for any brand.

Samsung Mobile USA's 2012 Facebook Performance

Make My Trip

Make My Trip, an Indian online ticket booking website, has had better user engagement on Facebook than many of the other online travel companies for in 2012. Its Engagement Scores have steeply risen from just 10 in May 2012 to over 120 in September 2012. Its Unmetric Score has also steadily improved throughout the year, culminating with a fantastic performance in December where its score jumped from 46 to 50. Its posts with photos of different destinations have attracted Facebook users leading to higher engagement, especially during holiday seasons. The most popular post? This offer for a 4 day trip to Thailand.

Make My Trip's 2012 Facebook Performance

Turkish Airlines

With a stunning 77% increase in its Unmetric score from February to March, Turkish Airlines has maintained its high Unmetric Score throughout the year with some minor fluctuations. After September, the Engagement Score dropped by over a half but had recovered by December. November was the best month for Turkish Airlines as it recorded an Unmetric Score of 70. Turkish Airlines enjoyed one of the highest fan growth rates in the aviation sector, increasing its fanbase by 524%. Its TV commercial, featuring legendary sports stars competing for the attention of a younger passenger, was its most engaging post of the year, attracting 57,000 Likes.

Turkish Airlines 2012 Facebook Performance

There were plenty of brands that didn’t quite make the cut and we were quite surprised that so few brands saw month on month improvement. Liberty Mutual nearly featured in this list but was let down by its December performance.

Methodologies

All data was taken from the Unmetric platform. The Unmetric Score is calculated on a variety of key metrics, weighted and balanced to produce a single score. The Engagement Score is a calculation of the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions of each post. Only brands that have been in the database since January 2012 were included in this study.