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What do we do with facebook?

January 6, 2011

Facebook

Everyone loves Facebook, it’s now even the darling of Wall Street.

With its 600 million users and a 70% penetration of the US population, it’s a media giant.

However, in terms of the sophistication in which brands are using Facebook, we are at an embryonic level.

As Callum Sunders points out in his five social marketing trends for 2011. 

“So
you’ve accumulated 10,000 fans on Facebook.  And?  While 2010 became
the year in which we raced to build up communities for visible brand
advocacy, 2011 is the year in which marketers have to start making
effective use of these groups.”

The challenge moving forward is to try and engage the “likers”. This isn’t a volume game, it’s all about the quality of interaction. So, instead of just buying these “likers” with ads and promotions, brands are going to need to do more to make better use of the folks they’ve acquired.

This means more structured and disciplined thinking about integrating Facebook more astutely into the conversational calendar and better understanding what types of things are going to increase engagement and participation. It has to be more than promos and discounts, a marketer at a leading brand recently told me that he thought the ROI on their Facebook programs were terrible, because all they were doing was giving discounts to existing customers.

So moving forward, there has to be more thought put into this and this is likely to come in the form of more specific and dedicated content. These type of things will increase the level of engagement, but more can be done to reward the “likers” for their social interaction. Instead of just of giving discounts away, perhaps brands needs to think about what the “likers” have to do to earn them.

2011 is going to be an amazing year for Facebook, the revenue numbers and the profit margins, that have been leaking over the last couple of days, are impressive. However, if the company can use its considerable skill to “sell” brand platforms, applications and ideas to brands, rather than just eyeballs, it could push way ahead of Google.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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