Facebook Brand Pages: "Marketers are missing an opportunity here."

One of the key findings is that many companies are still cautious about how much they allow fans to participate and are limiting engagement with only 39 percent soliciting photo submissions, 33 percent promoting contests, 39 percent posting polls and quizzes for fun, and an additional 32 percent posting surveys to gain consumer feedback.

Socializing on the Internet is endless with more than 500 million active users on Facebook alone. Marketers know they must have a Facebook presence to keep their brands front of the mind’s eye of consumers. Many marketers have fully embraced social media and are maximizing their consumer engagement strategies. Yet, a new study conducted by advertising agency “WONGDOODY” (yup, that’s their name) indicates here is the opportunity to do more. I am not surprised because the potential is endless.

Regardless, the WONGDOODY Facebook Global Best Practices Study uncovered a trend that shows a surprising number of top brands do not get the most out of their Facebook marketing efforts.

The Study took a hard look at the activity of the top 100 brands as determined by Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2010 rankings. Not surprisingly, most brands have a Facebook listing, 84 have corporate-run Facebook pages. The study analyzed only the official corporate brand Facebook pages, rather than any fan-generated pages or any paid advertising. From the 84 official pages, the study analyzed 60,276 wall posts, 12,872 comments, and 119,404 “Likes” to see how companies are utilizing the social network.

Most brand pages offered new content or comments nearly every day (average of 24 posts per month) and actively responded to consumer questions (66 percent). They also actively solicited fan comments (82 percent). Additionally, many posted branded video content (not user generated) to their pages (88 percent). However, the study noted a gap in original content created specifically for Facebook. Much of what brand marketers are electing to use is video content that has been repurposed from other sources, such as posting the newest product advertisements. Facebook isn’t about advertising; it’s about socializing.

One of the key findings is that many companies are still cautious about how much they allow fans to participate and are limiting engagement with only 39 percent soliciting photo submissions, 33 percent promoting contests, 39 percent posting polls and quizzes for fun, and an additional 32 percent posting surveys to gain consumer feedback.

Based on this study, WONGDODDY expressed the “need to create experiences that convince fans to go beyond ‘liking’ our brands and encourage interaction. Converting fans to engaged customers helps build loyalty and create Facebook brand evangelists.”

“Evangelists” is a pretty strong word to use, but the key is “socializing” when it comes to promoting your company on Facebook. Ben Wiener, CEO WONGDOODY suggests, “Whether it is out of fear to protect the brand from any negative posts, a lack of funding to create content, or an absence of talent to develop and manage the program, marketers are missing out on an opportunity here.”

The 84 official Facebook pages boasted an average of 1.8 million fans. In a single month, fans contributed on average 857 fan posts to each corporate wall, and each corporate wall post averaged 1,456 Likes and 157 comments.

Here are five corporate-run Facebook pages that I think stand out from the rest: Coca Cola, McDonalds, Microsoft, Google and Disneyland.