If Facebook Controlled Your Marketing It Would Look Like This

by | Apr 12, 2012

I recently attended the fMC Facebook event in New York.

Most of the content focused on Facebook’s first-hand research of how people use its network, and they all aimed to provide advertisers with a method to make the best out of their Facebook presence.

Most of the big insights came from Sheryl Sandberg (COO at Facebook), Paul Adams (Global Brand Experience at Facebook) and Mike Fox (Director of Global Vertical Marketing, at Facebook).

Facebook Named 4 Tactics To Focus On

The main message was that the most successful advertisers have implemented a strategy based on 4 successive dimensions: Connect, Engage, Influence and Integrate.  Let’s detail each one of them.

1. Connect

This first step consists in getting your customers to “like” your Facebook page.  It should be seen as the foundations of all your marketing endeavors in social media.  This can be achieved offline and off-Facebook, by promoting your Facebook page wherever you have access to your customers.  Using Facebook targeted ads can be another solution, by targeting people who expressed an interest in your company’s vertical.

It is worth noting that consumers who like your page are twice more likely to report a purchase to their friends, so you’ll benefit from this step right away.

2. Engage

This is the tricky part, which requires creativity and a deep understanding of user-behavior in Facebook.  It consists in getting your connections to engage with your content, so that it is distributed to their own friends.

Brands should not talk about themselves only; they should talk about their customers and their experiences.  They should create content and stories (as opposed to blatant ads), designed to start a conversation and generate engagement (disclosure: distributing such content is what we focus on at Wingsplay).  Brands must also ensure to use a format relevant to Facebook: posts should be around 11 words long, which is the average length of users’ posts.

To get people to interact with your posts, it is also essential to understand why people talk on Facebook.  People talk about feelings rather than facts, about personal experiences, about other people and what’s around them.  Successful brands integrate these aspects to get their customers to engage with their content.

Check out this example:

3. Influence

The objective here is to influence your customer’s friends through advertising.  It is the non-organic version of the “Engage” dimension: it consists in pushing every interaction between your customers and your brand to your customers’ friends.

Brands usually use products such as Sponsored Stories to expand their userbase.  An interesting finding is that most people only influence the few users they are the closest to.  Most users have approximately 5 groups of close friends, which are usually independent (your college friends don’t necessarily know your work friends or your family).

If you want your userbase to influence a broader set of their friends, you should provide them with high-quality content, usually videos, which can be appreciated by most users.  This will considerably increase the share of your userbase’s friends who will view and engage with your content.

4. Integrate

Integrating your userbase into your products is the best way to fully leverage your Facebook page.  It can happen by creating apps which are “social by design”, which means that their value increases when shared with friends.  To do so, they must use the Social Graph, and should also be distributed off-Facebook (on your website, for example).

Games created by companies such as Zynga are the perfect example.  People play these games because their friends are on it.  Brands must get inspired by the way these apps are designed, so that they not only entertain users, but also give them occasions to build and maintain relationships with their friends.

These strategies do not apply to big advertisers only: they are relevant for any kind of business trying to make the most out of their Facebook presence.  They require creativity and an understanding of social media, more than huge advertising dollars.  And as always in marketing, a sexy brand is a must.

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