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|How Facebook Effects Marketers|
|Monday, 26 March 2012 17:40|
Seldom in history has a channel in one medium (Facebook in the online space) dominated the marketing discourse to such an extent. Not only is the presence of the social networking behemoth driving clients into "trying social", it's also motivating them to increase their online budgets and drive traffic to their FB page, thus spending more on Google and ad networks.
From a marketing standpoint, what's the role of this single channel? And what is its future?
Quite clearly, the value of a Facebook fan needs to be measured. And by this I don't mean just the cost of acquiring a fan, but more importantly, the benefit of getting a new fan. Does this translate into a lower media investment in the long run? Or better still, does it mean the brand will acquire a new customer? Most companies don't have a metric they're chasing, beyond a "feel good" total number of fans. Is there a plan in place to cross-sell, up-sell or target these fans, however subtle that plan may be? In the end, fans of a brand must translate into dollars and sense.
The rise of a fanbase also signals the onset of a potential headache for the marketer. A fanbase is like a flock of migratory birds: it must be fed, engaged, sheltered and protected. If not, it will move on, to to the next watering hole. What's worse, the money and time invested in acquiring the flock will be wasted. Marketers need to allocate budget to create content and engagement with their fanbases. Too few seem to be doing so. A cursory survey of Facebook pages of Malaysian brands will reveal the (largely) soporific nature of fanbase engagement, and the dearth of ideas.
Advertising agencies haven't really entered this space, as the revenue opportunities pale when compared to munificent TVCs. This is hurting the overall development of the industry, as very few of the independent or web players truly understand brand, and can take this space forward. Interestingly, the rise of Facebook implies an increasing importance for real world events and happenings too. There is simply no substitute for a brand to engage with its fans at a launch, or a party, or a "for the fans" special. This engagement finds its way online through pictures, posts, blogger reviews, videos for web etc, and provides much-needed authenticity and tangibility to the brand. Activation is thus critical.
Social media managers in client organizations can become the glue that holds the whole organization together. But their tasks are complex, and the role they do will have a disproportionate impact on how their company is viewed by the online audience. With Malaysians on average logging in at least 2-3 times a day to Facebook, this is quite clearly a channel where the brand's perception will get critically shaped. Social media managers in client organizations need trustworthy agency partners, the ability to track and measure progress, a champion in their organization who believes in the power of the medium, and must themselves be open to experimentation and learning. If they aren't, their organization will suffer disproportionately.
Finally, Facebook provides a context and an opportunity. The winners will ride this complexity with skill, humility and most importantly, a keen sense of how to keep telling stories for the brand in this evolving chaotic space. Every day on average we receive over 50 updates from friends on Facebook. In this sea of messages, today's social media success could well become tomorrow's forgotten footnote. Hence consistency is key.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 22:59|