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Facebook Marketing Best Practices – Web 2.0 Expo

Posted on Apr 25th, 2008
Written by Lee Odden
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    After the keynote frenzy this morning, the session that stood out for me was “Facebook Marketing: Best Practices” with Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester Research as moderator, Evan Mager from AKQA, Holly Liu from Watercooler, Brett Keintz of 750 Industries and Stanford GSB and Kevin Barenblat of Context Optional.

    Some of the key takeaways from this session were:

    • Be clear with your objectives
    • Test spending money on Facebook marketing even if you aren’t sure about the return. Hey, 1,000,000 visits can’t be wrong!
    • Understanding the ROI of Facebook requires a new kind of mindset
    • Don’t take away the social features of Facebook from users
    • Facebook marketing is not about driving traffic to your web site. Keep Facebook users on Facebook

    Hopefully Jeremiah doesn’t think I’m stalking him as this is the second session in two days of his that I’ve blogged. Unfortunately, I don’t know the panelists and there are no name tents, so each panelist response or comment below is labeled simply as “panel”.

    He started with a series of polls: How many people use the internet? 🙂 Facebook? Bloggers? Twitter? With each poll the number of hands raised changes.

    Owyang cites stats from the Facebook site:

    • 70 million active users
    • Facebook is the 6th most-trafficked website in the world (comScore)
    • Facebook is the 2nd most-trafficked social media site in the world (comScore)
    • Over 55,000 regional, work-related, collegiate, and high school networks
    • More than half of Facebook users are outside of college
    • The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years old and older

    The neat thing about Facebook is that they have a platform that allows 3rd parties to develop widgets and other applications. There are over 20,000 applications, mostly junk. 140 new apps are added per day.

    Forrester data: Researched to find out how people use social networks. Primarily, they use Facebook to self express and also to communicate with peers. Nowhere does it say they look for products or look at advertisements.

    Facebook offers many methods and channels for marketing – many of which you can find in this article: The Facebook Marketing Bible: 24 Ways to Market Your Brand, Company, Product, or Service Inside Facebook

    Panel: You approach Facebook like any other media. Think about your objectives and audience and go from there.

    Panel: It depends on what your goals and budget are. If your looking at branding and community, create a Facebook page and consider engaging an app developer.

    Owyang: What are you seeing as objectives from clients?

    Panel: If you’re looking to attract users, applications are useful.

    Owyang: Any companies looking to increase sales and revenue?

    Panel: This space is so new, no one has really developed a ROI formula that works. The value is the ability to create virality around your brand. It’s a different way of thinking about achieving your objectives.

    Owyang: What are some best practices?

    Panel: Keep your content dynamic and fresh. Keep people coming back. There are basically two types of content on Facebook: The assets themselves, photos, text, etc. Also the social digital actions around that content like comments on photos.

    Ways to keep assets fresh: 1. Do it youeself. 2. License it 3. User generated content – allows a lot of engagement. Users feel ownership of community. However, with UGC you will definitely need moderators.

    Create applications that are metaphors for what people already know. For example, the Dodgeball mobile application. People are familiar with the concept and can jump in and start using it right away without a lot of confusion.

    Owyang: Some of the audience will hate the brands being marketed on Facebook. What do you do about that?

    Panel: You’re going to hear the good and the bad. That provides you an opportunity to listen to customers, audience.

    Owyang: What about trolls?

    Panel: With some people there’s not a lot you can do. Brand fans will come to your aid in many cases.

    Owyang: Does driving traffic to your site work in Facebook?

    Panel: Not really. If you have great content or incentive, they’ll go. With our viral marketing clients, you can take that same content and wrap it into Facebook itself so the experience for the consumer is seamless. We look at Facebook like TV, it’s an immersive experience. They generally don’t respond well to going offsite.

    If you do send them offsite, make the landing page or microsite look similar to the page they came from within FB. Otherwise, we recommend trying to keep people on Facebook.

    Panel: The clickthroug rate to outside sites is low. This is a distribution channel and you’ll get more page views if you keep them within Facebook.

    Owyang: What are some measures of success?Panel: We track everything that happens with the application. We a/b test everything about the app. We also track effectiveness of the campaign, impressions and where they’re coming from. In the app world, it’s important to understand the viral factor. How many are passing the app along and how successful that is.

    Panel: There can be challenges in getting data/metrics from Facebook to match up with traditional media formats. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

    Owyang: When I look at Facebook apps, I see a lot of crap. Where’s the buisiness utility in this?

    Panel: It’s like TV – it’s an opportunity to put your message in front of someone. If you have a million users engage in an app over amonth, that’s something interesting to them. That’s also time they’re not spending with other media.

    Panel: If you can tie in your Facebook campaign with other marketing efforts or as part of a larger effort, it can be more effective.

    Owyang: What is Beacon? What is a fan page?

    Panel: A fan page is an official page for a brand on Facebook. A Facebook page is created and other users can become fans of the page. Marketers can buy ads on those fans and their networks.

    Owyang: Beacon is what happens on 3rd party sites. Is Beacon a good way to do marketing?

    Panel: For most Facebook users, it’s about the feed. What we’re driving toward is distribution through the feed. Giving your fans a place to rally enables you to up the experience for fans. It can supercharge excitement for the brand.

    Panel: Apps are important but fan pages are also very valuable.

    Panel: Brands that want to present an “official” representation, can use Facebook pages. For unoffical engagement, they can provide applications.

    Owyang: What about ads?

    Panel: If all you’re doing is banners and ads on Facebook and nothing else, you’re missing tremendous opportunity.

    Panel: If you can slip an ad into the feed without being obtrusive, you can get very good clickthrough rates.

    Owyang: What about demographic and targeting based on self volunteered personal info? Cites an example of being able to reduce the number of potential job candidates from millions to 200 people by this kind of segmentation and targeting. However, when the ad campaign to work for Forrester was executed, it didn’t generate results.

    Panel: You’ve got to have a soft touch or it can alienate.

    Audience: How do you define success?

    Panel: It depends on the campaign. For video, it’s views, traffic back to the fan page.

    Owyang: Tell me about a company that’s done it wrong.

    Panel: Walmart created a back to college Facebook page. To Walmart’s credit, they “keep trying” with social media. A problem with the Walmart Facebook page was that it was a shallow experience. They disabled the peer to peer experiences – forums, comments, etc. That generated a bad vibe from Facebook community because they couldn’t interact. Also, the Walmart Facebook page was designed to send people to the Walmart web site. When people are on Facebook, they don’t want to leave.

    Owyang: Best practices broken down: Let people communicate with each other, and don’t focus on sending people off Facebook.

    Owyang: Biggest problem I see in this space when talking to brands is that they come into Facebook without goals/objectives.

    Audience: Looking at using Facebook from a recruitment branding perspective. Anyone have experience with apps?

    Owyang: Gives the Ernst and Young Facebook recruiting example.

    Audience: What are best practices to research a target market on Facebook?

    Panel: Facebook has official tools to identify psychographic information. your best bet is to poll Facebook users.

    Audience: Is Facebook enough? Or should I advice to our developers to pour everything into OpenSocial?

    Panel: It depends on your audience. We make that decision based on who we’re trying to reach. ie, other sites that support OpenSocial that have audiences of interest. Facebook is certainly large, but it does make sense to make apps available to other sites.

    Audience: Any examples of lawfirms using Facebook for recruiting?

    Owyang: Nothing specific, but I would start with LinkedIn actually. Do a search via Facebook ads for law students.