Important Trends

Here are a few important trends and key takeaways to keep in mind as you build out your Facebook marketing program:

1. Be where the customers are—Especially if you are struggling with SEO and SEM efforts to drive traffic to your website, try going where your customers already are (that is, Facebook). Facebook Pages are the new website.

2. Get local—Facebook autocreating Place Pages aside, local business profiles are inevitable replacements for the Yellow Pages. People have a natural affinity for the local shops and restaurants where they spend time and will continue to “check in” to these local establishments. Brick-and-mortars can capitalize on the advantage of their physical locations to deepen customer connection and word-of-mouth impressions on friends’ News Feeds.

3. Personalize experiences across the Web—Facebook for Websites and hypertargeting capabilities are enabling
highly social and personalized experiences across the Web. When people visit your website, they will increasingly
expect the option to login with their Facebook credentials and to be able to bring their Facebook profile identity and
friends with them as they search, shop, or interact otherwise with your site.

4. Grow your company’s network—Social networks are growing. Studies suggest that although the average number of close connections is not deviating much from Dunbar’s number of 150, most people’s social networks are growing as a result of staying in touch with weak ties via Facebook. In fact, by inventing “fan relationships,” Facebook is extending the notion of weak ties to include not only people but also brands and businesses. For businesses, having a
bigger social network of fans is akin to having a bigger funnel of people to market to.

5. Recognize that customer loyalty has never been more valuable—In the Facebook Era, suddenly every customer has a voice, and what they say matters to their friends. Increasingly, friends are becoming more prominent filters and recommenders for news, information, and products, heavily influencing how decisions are made. When you win over (or lose) a customer, you could be winning over (or losing) an entire friend group.

Along the same vein, beware too of these common pitfalls:

1. Getting swindled by social media “experts”—It feels like everyone is a social media expert these days. Beware of fake opportunistic “experts” who have no track record of execution.

2. Outsourcing too much—Ben Smith, a marketing manager at Dunkin’ Brands, always warns companies against
outsourcing social media to their digital agency (probably for the same reason that most of us wouldn’t outsource the
company website). Facebook is a critical channel for keeping a pulse on the customer voice, and managing social
media well needs to become part of your corporate DNA. No one knows your business and your customers better than
you, and keeping Facebook efforts close allows you to adapt and respond quickly to real-time feedback. Exactly how much you outsource versus keep in-house will vary by organization, but many business leaders are choosing to own the overall social strategy themselves and delegate certain pieces, such as media buys and creative.

3. Hiring people to do what can be automated—Nor should you over-hire. Social media archiving and brand compliance work in particular can be extremely timeconsuming to do manually. Don’t make the mistake of turning social media into manual labor when there are plenty of ways to automate these tasks through off-the-shelf or custom-developed technology solutions.

4. Focusing only on technology—Technology is often part of the solution, but never the full solution. The hardest part about making Facebook work for business is the organizational change required. Successful programs require winning executive buy-in, properly training employees, and fostering a culture that is receptive to transparency and change.

5. Resting on your laurels—Facebook is rapidly evolving and shows no signs of slowing down. New features are
released every week, with major product changes almost every quarter. This is why companies can’t afford to drag
out RFP’s or wait for long decision cycles. By the time a decision is made, Facebook’s technology has changed. Partner with a vendor you know can keep up. Focusing too much on today’s features and requirements is dangerous because they may soon become obsolete.

How Facebook Is Changing the Online Marketing Discipline

Thanks to Facebook, the Internet is evolving from a contentcentric Information Web to a relationship-centric Social Web. A decade ago, information was at a premium. Today, it is relationships that are king.

Last decade, search marketing taught us to focus on maximizing each transaction, measured by click-through rates and conversions. Today, Facebook fan relationships encourage us to take a longer-term view. Rather than maximize for a single transaction, companies need to optimize for the lifetime of a customer relationship. It’s not about how much a customer buys today, but rather what she buys over a lifetime, together with how she influences others to (or not to) buy.

As marketers, we need to move up the marketing funnel and engage audiences sooner in the buying cycle because this
gives us an opportunity to build trust and help influence the purchase decision. In contrast, search marketing doesn’t
provide much opportunity to influence. By the time someone is searching on Google for “digital camera,” chances are high he is already pretty far along in the purchase decision. There is not much opportunity to influence beyond price, and that is not a game most of us want to be in.

Online marketing still needs to be performance-based, but instead of measuring click-through rates for a single
campaign, we can invest and analyze with a longer-term view.

In many ways, the Facebook Era is a throwback to the days before the Internet. This is especially true for brick-andmortar businesses, which have long mastered the art of instore customer connection. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM founder and CEO Jim McCann sums it up nicely in his foreword to my book, The Facebook Era:

“Past technologies helped drive down costs, improve reach, and grow the business, but in the process we lost something very important: customer connection. I have missed the direct customer dialog I had in our retail flower shops. The digital age has felt largely transactional in comparison. This is why I feel even more excited about the Facebook Era than I did about toll-free numbers or the Internet. The Social Web is about connecting with customers again, hearing their stories, sharing in their joys and sorrows and the most important moments of their lives. It’s about reopening the dialog so that businesses can put customers back in the driver’s seat and keep getting better.”

The challenge to all of us is how to replicate this customer connection through the online medium. Fortunately for us,
there is no better tool for this task than Facebook.

What exactly the future holds is anyone’s guess, but what we do know is that, thanks to Facebook, your business will never again be the same—whatever your industry, wherever you work, and whether you are in marketing, IT, or another corporate function.

The Questions Every Company Should Ask

Before you get lost in the weeds of tactical execution, it’s important to develop a strategic framework to guide decision-making, prioritization, and resource allocation. Often, the best place to begin is by asking the right questions. Here are five important questions to help you get started.

What Is Being Said and Who Is Saying It?

The first step for most organizations is to be able to monitor what conversations are taking place on Facebook. What’s being said? Is it positive or negative? How is the frequency and sentiment changing over time? What are people asking for (could signify an unmet need that needs to be addressed)?

Who Said It and Are They Allowed?

Increasingly, monitoring is not enough. Federal law and industry regulation are being extended into the realm of social media. To avoid lawsuits and hefty fines, companies need to start taking corporate governance and compliance seriously.

What Should Be Said?

The mantra that “content is king” has never held more true than it does on Facebook. Relevant, timely, interesting content is how  companies generate a following, captivate fans, and influence audiences in the Facebook Era.

Distributed organizations face an added challenge when it comes to coordinating and empowering remote employees and agents who sell or otherwise represent the brand on Facebook. Typically individuals in these customer-facing roles tend to be more sales people than marketers, so internal systems must be put in place to coordinate the periodic dissemination of marketing messages to the field.

What’s the ROI?

What is the value of a Facebook fan? Which initiatives are driving results, and which ones are less effective? Which of my people are demonstrating best practices? Early on, measurement will focus on fan count, number of likes/posts/comments, and other first-order metrics. As Facebook programs mature, companies will need to tie social media engagement back to business outcomes such as sales, customer retention, and referrals (requiring integration to ERP

Whom Should I Work with and How Much Do I Spend?

There are thousands of social media vendors out there, and new ones are cropping up every day. Whom should you work with? It depends on the business objectives you are trying to address and how much you’d like to outsource.

Costs can range anywhere from $1,000 for a one-off project to a recurring monthly fee for services or technology retained. If you either have high fan interaction volume or multiple social presences being managed in your organization, it’s almost guaranteed that you will need some sort of technology to help coordinate all the moving
parts and make sure nothing slips through the cracks. Table 1 illustrates the landscape of top social media vendors that can help up your team’s social media velocity and productivity.

Social Media Marketing Vendor Map

How to make money marketing your business on facebook

By now, it is common knowledge that for virtually any business, Facebook matters. Mark Zuckerberg was recently named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. Facebook is the biggest, fastest growing website in the world, period. More than 500 million people log on (see Figure 1) and spend an astonishing twenty billion minutes on the site every single day. Like the Internet before it, Facebook is changing every aspect of business and society. Facebook has in fact become, for all intents and purposes, the new Web. What does this mean for your organization?

Facebook has experienced spectacular growthLike the Internet before it, Facebook has experienced spectacular growth in the
seven years since it began. Today, Facebook has more than 500 million active
users worldwide.

Social media is a disruptive force for your business. Every customer and employee suddenly has a profile and a voice, and what they say gets automatically broadcast to their friends. Brands are being elevated or jeopardized overnight by a single customer’s opinion that “goes viral.” Companies have no choice but to become transparent, responsive, and collaborative. Next-generation products are no longer being conceived in the lab or executive boardroom but by customers themselves. Everything is changing around customer conversation, participation, and how companies are organized.

Fifteen years ago, we all had to learn how to build landing pages and run email campaigns. Today we have to master Facebook to stay in touch and to stay relevant with customers. Business leaders who understand how to cultivate fans and followers on social media are reaping the benefits of customer loyalty—repeat sales, cross-selling opportunities, and referrals. Those who don’t (or choose not to) miss out on critical customer conversations and risk their brand becoming irrelevant over time.

2010 was about social media strategy, vision, and learning. 2011 is all about execution. The dialogue has evolved from “we need to be on Facebook” to “show me the results.” Although specific campaigns and tactics will vary by company and industry, just about every organization needs to think about how its brand and customer conversations fit with the decentralized nature of social media.

This article walks you through the recent Facebook developments, strategic considerations, tactical steps, case studies, and best practices you’ll need to help your organization succeed wildly in the Facebook Era.