1. Assign an owner and educate your organization. Hire or assign a social media director, a companywide
owner who sits on the executive team (or in marketing) who coordinates social media efforts across the organization.
Some companies, such as DeVry Inc., have had success with convening a social media task force consisting of representatives from various departments.
People are most afraid of the unknown, so educating employees on how to achieve their personal and department
goals using Facebook mitigates their natural resistance to change. Organizations like Coldwell Banker and the State
of Utah now incorporate Facebook training as part of ongoing training for employees. Other companies have encouraged “reverse mentorship” on social media topics where Gen-Y hires help teach older employees the ins and
outs of Facebook. There are also a number of popular conferences now that provide an immersive experience for
key employees to quickly learn and absorb best practices to bring back to the company
2. Start monitoring and managing existing social media brand assets. The first place to start is to search for any existing brand conversations taking place on Facebook. Start tracking and responding to those first to build experience and context to inform your overall Facebook strategy. Understanding what is being said about your company and who is saying it provides valuable context for setting your business objectives and subsequently developing your plan. For example, if there is a lot of negative sentiment about your company on Facebook, then one of your top social media goals should be to address negative comments and elevate your brand. On the other hand, if people overwhelmingly love your brand and are creating viral videos, writing glowing reviews, and posting photos of themselves in your stores, your social media goals might be to recognize and promote these individuals across your Facebook and Web properties. Plan from day one to measure and monitor over time, as trends are generally more important and telling than raw numbers.
A common situation that many large brands find themselves in is that by the time they get serious about engaging on
Facebook, fans have already beat them to the punch and have created unofficial Facebook Pages or Groups. Take Ferrero, the European chocolate maker whose products are popular and loved around the world. In 2008, Ferrero
executives discovered a zealous fan had created a Facebook Page for Ferrero Rocher, one of their most popular
products. But not only had a Page been created—it had actually become one of the most popular Pages on Facebook, with more than two and a half million fans! Instead of reinventing the wheel and losing the community momentum, executives decided to collaborate with this fan and co-opt the page.
Without taking the time to research and listen first, brands might accidentally create redundant efforts or compete
against their own fans. Instead, brands at minimum should be monitoring and complementing, or in some cases even
working directly with grassroots efforts to best engage their community of fans.
3. Map business goals to Facebook’s capabilities. Review high-priority business goals to see which might be
addressed well using Facebook. For example, if your company priority is to appeal to new audience segments,
you may want to consider creating highly tailored Facebook Pages for those audiences and running Facebook Ad
campaigns hypertargeting those audience profiles. If, on the other hand, your organization’s top business goal is
improved customer service, you may wish instead to reorient your Facebook Page around customer questions,
issues, complaints, and case resolution.
4. Invest in corporate governance and compliance. Throughout this process, have the discipline to periodically check in with your legal and compliance teams to see if any existing or potential future activities may be in violation of company policy or industry regulation. Seeing how regulatory bodies from the FTC and SEC to FINRA and
FDA are starting to clamp down on Facebook, the inconvenience will be well worth being able to avoid costly lawsuits and hefty fines.
The following case study profiles how Farmers Insurance Group tackled the issue of corporate governance in a highly
regulated industry and is reaping the benefits of social media across its 15,000 agents across the country.
Case Study: Empowering Field Reps with Corporate-Approved Content and Compliance
On the heels of a highly successful corporate Facebook Page initiative by corporate marketing last year, a number of
Farmers Insurance agents began creating their own Facebook Pages to connect with their customers and local
The challenge for corporate marketing quickly became how to ensure FINRA compliance and corporate governance on
these locally driven Facebook Pages while empowering each of their 15,000 agents to have an authentic personality and voice on social media. It is a tricky balance because, although agents are not Farmers employees (each agency is
independently owned and operated), they represent the brand.
Another challenge was what happened after agents created a Facebook Page for their agency. Agents and their staff did
not necessarily have the proper systems or training to consistently post timely, relevant, and interesting content, nor
were these communications being filtered and archived for compliance.
Farmers Insurance Group looked to Hearsay Social to help address these important challenges:
► Archive social network communications per FINRA 10-06 regulatory guidelines (using Hearsay’s built-in integration to the LinkedIn messaging API)
► Provide agents with social media best practices and compliance training
► Help seed agent conversations on Facebook with articles, videos, and other educational content, as well as
promotional messaging such as contests and sweepstakes
► Provide one-click distribution of branded tabs to all or a subset of agents (see Figure 8)
The results? FINRA compliance, increased agent and customer engagement, and strong and consistent Farmers
branding across all agent Facebook Pages. Each agent was up and running on Hearsay within a matter of minutes, and
more than 90% quadrupled their number of Facebook fans in the first 60 days. A recent Rose Bowl sweepstakes campaign run through Hearsay’s branded tab distribution system (see Figure 8) was one of the most popular and successful in the marketing team’s history.
Farmers uses Hearsay Social’s Facebook tab distribution platform to push branded tabs (such as its recent Rose Bowl sweepstakes campaign) to local agents’ Facebook Pages. Certain aspects of the tab like the logo are fixed for brand consistency, with customization opportunities for agents who wish to add a personal message or touch.
“Our 15,000 agents are our most valuable brand representatives. For eighty years, we have empowered our agents with offline tools and training. It was imperative we start thinking about how to empower them with social media
tools and training, so we looked to Hearsay Social. Their technology platform is powerful, effective, and simply outstanding.” —Marc Zeitlin, Vice President of Marketing, Farmers Insurance Group
5. Measure, learn, and iterate. After you’ve decided on goals, it is useful to define metrics around these goals to help define what success means, determine the appropriate level of investment, and measure direct value to the business. For example, “identify X new trends in the market” or “increase our Net Promoter Score by Y.” Over time, comparing results from one Facebook campaign to another, as well as across different marketing mediums, will enable you to determine how best to allocate resources across your various marketing channels.
In addition to these more traditional measures, it’s likely we will need to develop new measurement techniques. This is
not unlike a decade ago when the notion of “cost per click” was developed for measuring online ad performance. The
Facebook Era introduces a concept of “social customer lifetime value,” which I simplify and summarize in the following sidebar.
Social Customer Lifetime Value (sCLV)
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a popular marketing metric that approximates the business “value” from a customer.
Traditionally, it has been calculated as the net present value of future cash flows from a customer relationship—in other
words, how much someone will spend on your products or services across his or her lifetime as a customer. As a business, you wouldn’t want to spend more on marketing and selling to someone than her CLV minus the cost of goods sold, because then you would be losing money.
CLV has been instrumental to the marketing discipline, but perhaps it is outdated. Seeking to incorporate the social
word-of-mouth effects of customer engagement on Facebook, I developed a new way of thinking about CLV, which I call social customer lifetime value (sCLV):
sCLV = CLV
+ Sales from word of mouth on Facebook
+ Customer support savings
+ Product revenue from crowdsourced ideas
This example accounts for 1) incremental word-of-mouth News Feed referrals from a customer engaging with a
Facebook Page, 2) support savings from community questions being answered by another customer instead of a company’s own support staff, and 3) revenue generated from a product or feature suggestion posted by a customer on
Facebook. sCLV will be calculated differently for each company based on the business goals defined and initiatives
pursued. Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, recently developed a number of helpful tools and calculators relating to this concept