Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How Marketers Use Facebook

I've been grappling with how to integrate social media (and Facebook in particular) into my bag of direct marketing tricks. I've gotten my arms around why some companies (including my own) need to embrace blogging (to start a dialogue with their customers/prospects and to build credibility). But, I'm still having a hard time understanding how to use other social media to do what marketers are supposed to do. That is: sell more things, make more money.

This article, from "Brandweek", made it a tad clearer: Poke Me, It's Real: Facebook, Interaction Benefits and the Future of Marketing

The author, Maria Popova, provides comprehensive detail about the demos of Facebook (projected to be used by over 60 million people in 2008, with 45% of users being over age 35) and discusses the rich targeting opportunities enabled by Facebook's data collection efforts. She also highlights one of the reasons behind widespread usage, and that is peoples' need to 'show-off'--show the world just how smart/cool/intelligent they are (important to remember when developing social marketing programs).

But, the main thrust of the article was this very important point: People using Facebook are constantly looking for what works for them. It's all about the user, their custom experience, their needs and their wishes. Some quotes from the article:

"Facebook, you see, is the quintessential tool in the age of “opinionation”: I like this, not that, need this, dump that, want this. Now."

"When it comes to marketing, Facebook is a peculiar hybrid of evolution (oh, the possibilities to connect) and devolution, stripping marketing to its bare bones to reveal the all-important "What's in it for me?" backbone."

"And, as far as brands go, it seems like the bottom line is quite simple. As Facebook grows, so will the immediacy of the demand it places on marketers: to do what many have shied away from or outright avoided doing: focus not just on product benefits, but on "interaction benefits"—if I choose to engage with your message (be it a Facebook widget or a product integration or a viral video), what's in it for me?"

So, at the end of the day, succeeding on Facebook is pretty similar to succeeding elsewhere in marketing (and, I guess, in Life). When developing an application, or a program, remember the needs of your prospect/customer. Make sure that it appeals to their need to show their community how great they are. Make sure that it brings them benefits, makes their lives easier or more fun. Make sure that it enables connections, that it helps 'start' conversations.

Oh yeah, and remember that as a marketer, it has to benefit you, your company and your product, too.

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