Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Facebook Marketing: Consumers As Friends

CM Comment: A great summary of how brands should be thinking about Facebook.

October 9, 2009: summarized from MediaPost -- As Facebook passes 300 million active users, it is quickly becoming the favorite engagement-marketing and communications platform of brands. On Facebook, consumers and brands are friends. The notion of consumers as friends is inviting to brands, yet most marketers are still somewhat unclear what this really means and how they should approach this friendship. The simple truth is that a successful friendship takes work; it takes investment from both parties, and just as in real life, friendships on Facebook are cultivated through experience over time. For brand marketers, this equates to: (I) listening to and understanding consumers' wants and needs; (II) creating experiences that consumers actually want to engage with; and (III) making sure to communicate consumer-centric value to consumers on a regular basis.

(I) What does it mean for brand marketers to listen to and understand consumers within Facebook? Listening to what's on consumers' minds, entering into meaningful dialogue, and making consumers feel valued. Tactical examples are:

a. Analyzing consumer comments against posts made by the brand via the fan page wall.
b. Entering into brand product or service-related discussions.
c. Taking consumers' pulse through polls and acting on the data being gathered.

(II) What types of experiences do consumers want to engage with on Facebook and how should such experiences be executed? Experiences that entertain, giving consumers the opportunity for fame and winning prizes, and providing tangible value work best when executed directly into the brand's fan page to provide a seamless flow for consumers within the branded environment. Tactical examples are:

a. Entertainment: collaborative games and branded content experiences.
b. Interactive promotions: contests, sweepstakes, competitions, and reward-driven games.
c. Value-driven: activities focused around the value provided by the brand's product or service and branded virtual gifts.

(III) What is a consumer-centric communication strategy and how often should it be executed on Facebook? A strategy that focuses on only communicating items that are relevant and actionable. Brand marketers should not communicate with consumers just for the sake of communicating -- communication needs to be genuine and planned out in timely intervals to touch on general brand marketing efforts. Tactical examples are:

a. Dialogue focused on engaged consumers
b. Two-way discussions revolving around brand features and benefits
c. Announcements of events, sales, giveaways, promotions, and the like

In the end, it all comes back to doing as one would in real-life friendships -- listening and understanding each other, engaging in fun experiences together, and making sure to keep communication relevant for both parties. Friendships are two-way streets. A brand is more likely to get what it wants by creating an environment wherein consumers are valued and receive value. By cultivating friendships, brand marketers can turn consumers into brand evangelists in any social channel.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/2hWCzG

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