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Icrossing facebook-challenges-2010

  1. 1. Facebook:New challengesfor marketersA collection of perspectives from icrossingseptember 2010
  2. 2. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingContentsIntroduction– Antony MayfieldFacebook vs Google – Is Facebook changing search or replacing search?– Dr Jason Ryan and Antony MayfieldFacebook backlash – Could users abandon Facebook en masse?– Alisa HansenFacebook’s community pages and the impact for brands– Heather White-LairdWhen fans attack – Handling crises on Facebook– Dana MelleckerEarning your way to attention – Abandoning the ‘If you build it, they will come’ mindset– Anne SteinhausMoving at Facebook speed – Coping with the pace of Facebook’s innovation is a challenge in and of itself– Antony MayfieldEcommerce: The new benchmark for Facebook– Heather White-LairdFacebook centricty – Social Media Strategy beyond Facebook– Alisa HansenAbout iCrossing © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 2 2
  3. 3. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingintroductionWhen Mark Zuckerberg recently said that Facebook wouldreach one billion users there were few people who doubtedhim. The social network has become a mainstay of people’sweb experience for many and is second only to Google in itsimportance to online marketers.While Google is becoming a known quantity, and search amaturing marketing discipline, Facebook is still evolving at arapid rate. At the recent F8 Facebook developer conferenceearlier this year the company announced significant innovationson several fronts, adding new potential opportunities but alsocomplexity to marketers’ task of developing effective strategiesfor Facebook.This collection of articles from iCrossing e specialists gives ourperspective on some of the things brand and media ownersneed to bear in mind when it comes to Facebook, as well asapproaches for developing successful brand profiles.We hope it is useful - and do let us know what you think eAntony Mayfieldsvp, social media, icrossing © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 3
  4. 4. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingfacebook vs. google:is facebook changing search or replacing search?By Dr Jason Ryan and Antony MayfieldWe describe iCrossing as a search and social media agency, creating Google’s evolution has recently leaned toward social, taking into accountconnected brands. We see search and social both as the twin lenses the importance of people’s social graphs, their networks of friends, inthrough which we can see and make sense of the web and as two deciding what pages will be most relevant to them on a particular subject.interdependent facets of the medium. From the Vince update > onward, Google has been working hard to make search results more personal, and for personal, read: social.Increasingly, however we are seeing Facebook as a platform that maychallenge the established search engine paradigm - exemplified by Google The blaze of innovations from Facebook at the F8 conference earlier this- of a service that organises the web, helps us makes sense of it, navigate it year, especially Open Graph > , begin to make the social network lookand get what we want. like a tangible challenger to Google’s monopoly on sense-making on the web. Sitting alongside its page index is Facebook’s ‘people index’. TheWe like to explain the difference between Facebook and Google as a tale pages Facebook can direct people to may be smaller in number but itof two university start-ups that both set out to define the web in different could nonetheless end up being more influential.ways. Google’s genius was to move away from the mental model ofinformation being indexed like so many library books and use hyperlinks For now though, the potential for Facebook to usurp Google isto see the relationships between documents - pages on the web. theoretical. For all the excited talk of “Likes” being more important than “links” Google is where most users go for finding things.Making sense of the reputation system that was implicit in links gavethe Google algorithm the best way yet of divining relevance and whatpages would be most useful to the user. Google was the product ofa mathematical/engineering mind, an academic project of dazzlingbrilliance that was then applied commercially with equal intelligence.Facebook was the product of thinking about the social life of Harvardstudents, a desire to make their network more efficient that was executedwith simplicity and elegance. Whereas Google made content somethingthat was defined by the document and the documents surrounding it,Facebook made the content a facet of the individual and the individualssurrounding them.Recently, Eli Goodman of ComScore said that Facebook “not only hasthe potential to become a viable search engine, but in fact it has a chanceto help redefine the way we think of search.” Google and Facebook arenot two parallel systems, alternatives ploughing their own course anddestined never to meet, they are intertwined and also competing. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 4
  5. 5. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingcontinued ...While the battle plays out though, marketers’ responses to Facebook’srise should include: Dispute “either/or” strategies:p While search or social may be a priority, marketing plans, and especially longer term strategies, need to ensure that both areas are represented and adequately resourced. Search and social literacy throughout the in-house andp agency teams: While experts are a necessity for operating effectively in paid and natural search as well as social media, cross-discipline knowledge sharing and innovation is essential. Stay close to users:p Maintaining the relevance of customer personae and keeping a keen eye on how core customers are using the web via search and social media will help prevent you developing approaches based on how customers used the web last year. Web use is changing all of the time for all demographics. Visibility is about more than search engine rankings:p “Search visibility” has been a useful and measurable idea for brands for some time. Extending visibility to include what people find when they look for you in their social networks as well as their search engines is a logical next step. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 5
  6. 6. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingfacebook backlash:could users abandon facebook en masse?By Alisa LeonardWe’ve been seeing it for a while now: Facebook experiencing quite A brand’s continued investment in Facebook should be predicated ona bit of backlash in the media around their privacy policies and the solid research, strategy and experience planning. Rather than takingsubsequent exodus of users leaving the network in search of safer pastures. a site-specific approach to social media, whereby a social strategy livesUnfortunately, this backlash has been aided somewhat by Facebook itself, and dies by a single network or service, iCrossing believes in value ofwhich addressed the issue with evasive, predictable corporate-speak. developing a federated content and community management strategy that may be deployed across one or multiple social spaces.This is a slightly ironic twist, given the “era of Facebook” and the newtransparency and openness ethos that brands, particularly those active This approach enables a brand to firstly, deploy new social spacesin social spaces like Facebook, have adopted. However, shortly after the effectively, secondly understand how each branded social space performsinitial media firestorm, Facebook released another version of its privacy within a brand’s greater digital ecosystem and finally iterate and optimissettings to help remedy the situation, giving users more granular control e efficiently.over sharing their data. It is, however, important to keep in mind thatFacebook has not changed its Terms of Service (ToS), which still give To be clear, this approach does not advocate a “one size fits all” approachFacebook significant control over what it can do with user data. to developing social spaces - we know that different spaces serve different functions and are often managed under the auspices of disparate teamsSo what does all of this mean for brands and those who participate in of stakeholders. We believe spaces should fulfill differentiated goals, butFacebook? Is everyone really leaving Facebook? Should brands continue what this approach does advocate is the development of a universal set ofto invest in Facebook? tools, content creation capabilities and management protocol which lay the foundation for a cohesive, integrated social media strategy.Firstly, it is important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, thoseleaving Facebook have tended to be either early adopters or much Through this approach, investment is largely made in developing socialyounger users who prefer social gaming networks to Facebook. What currency - namely content (such as a brand video) and the “meta-is important to keep in mind is that the growing user base for Facebook content” (comments, Likes for the video) which proper communitycontinues to be the 35+ year old age group, mostly “moms” and other management generates. With this approach, a brand may pull in and outmainstream target consumers. of relevant social spaces when networking habits shift or evolve.Unlike early adopters who can be fickle about their social network ofchoice, and who get involved in the techno-cultural politics of socialnetworking platform wars, the average Facebook user is not leavingFacebook any time soon. While the privacy concerns may have sparkeda media frenzy and led to some proponents of the open web leavingFacebook, the majority of users will continue to use the service as theirprimary social network. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 6
  7. 7. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingfacebook’s community pagesand the impact for brandsBy Heather White-LairdFacebook’s goal for the recently launched six million CommunityPages > is to provide users with the best collection of shared knowledgeon a topic. An altruistic goal for sure but one that has caused someconsternation for brands.Currently these pages are completely controlled by Facebook. Theyhave no Wall where users can post comments and content is addedautomatically when users update their own Wall with a relevant keyword.Brands cannot add or edit any content either. And because there is verylittle meta data associated with these posts, it may mean a brand’s nameor products can appear in a negative context. The best remedy for thisissue is an engaging authorized b rand Fan Page through which you cancontribute to your brand messaging.Community pages have also created an avalanche of redundant andconfusing content. For example, there are now over 500 results forCoca-Cola pages in Facebook’s search. A potential upside to thisover-abundance of content is that, because many of these pages containirrelevant and meaningless information, users may shun CommunityPages in favour of the more targeted, brand-owned pages relating to theirpassions. Who’s really interested in seeing hundreds of thousands of postsaround coffee? More likely, it’s a new coupon offer from Starbucks that isthe desired result.As always, brands need to be careful in this new and constantly changingenvironment. Vigilant monitoring of key terms and conversations isrecommended and, as with all social media, active brand participation inthe space is a necessity © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 7
  8. 8. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingWhen fans attack:Handling crises on facebookBy Dana MelleckerBrand Facebook pages seem like a no-brainer today. You provide someinteresting content and people who enjoy your product or services willsignal their loyalty by joining your page.Many companies, however, are finding that their low-cost social mediatool can turn into their worst PR nightmare. Some brands may evenquestion whether they should have a Facebook page at all given the risks.Nestle is a typical recent Facebook casualty. Nestle’s undoing was apoorly thought out initial response to negative comments following anaggressive Greenpeace campaign. Nestle’s first responses were more thana little snippy and went a long way to inflaming the fan base. My guess isthat the person in charge of managing their Facebook page is (or was) avery bright but young staffer with little PR experience who was not givemuch guidance in managing the page.Think about it. Would you let the person responsible for communicatingto your Facebook page fans provide comments to the Wall Street Journalon corporate policy without proper training and vetting of messages?The potential for PR backlash alone should not be reason enough fora brand to choose not to have a Facebook page. The most importantquestion is whether you have the resources and strategy to manage itcorrectly. Is content approved by senior PR people? Have you establisheda set of “best practices” to guide your Facebook page managers? Do youhave a specific Facebook plan in place in case of a crisis?Like any good PR campaign, you need to prepare for the worst. Withoutsuch preparation you are simply navigating the social media tightropewithout a net.It is a bit unfair to single out Nestle. They just happen to be the mostrecent Facebook casualty. All brands, however, should learn from theirmishaps. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 8
  9. 9. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingearning your way to attention:Abandoning the “if you build it, they will come” mindsetBy Anne SteinhausYes, the Facebook audience is huge, both in terms of sheer numbers and This might sound expensive, and may seem antithetical to the commontime spent on the site. And yes, of course it makes sense for your brand notion that Facebook is a “free” platform to build on. Maybe you want toto have a presence on Facebook. But remember: Facebook is not a search dip your toe in the water, or maybe you need to run a small test to proveengine. Facebook users are not there to actively search for brands or the value of Facebook to upper management. But look at it this way:products and they need a compelling reason to leave the site. shouldn’t you be willing to invest at least a little bit in a site that has an audience as big as Google’s?Too often companies think that if they just create the right content itwill spread like wildfire. They’ve been wooed by agencies and vendors Over time (once you’ve reached a critical mass) you can rely more onpromising to make “viral” content that will instantly garner millions organic, or earned, impressions – those updates that are created whenof views; in reality there are few brands that have the recognition and users interact with your page, allowing your brand to appear in theirreputation to pull this off. friends’ news feeds. These carry with them an implied endorsement and are key to increasing your visibility on Facebook.So, if you would like to see any traffic to your Facebook fan page, you’dbetter be thinking of ways to drive that traffic yourself… at least at the Of course, you don’t want to drive users to a bad experience. This isonset. all predicated on a solid content and community management strategy. But if you’ve gone through the trouble of creating useful, unique,How should you support your Facebook page? There are obvious options relevant content for your Facebook page, it would be a shame for it to go– Facebook ads (the simplest of which are relatively inexpensive), putting unnoticed.a Facebook logo in the global footer of your dot com site, creating a socialmedia landing page.What else is there? Well, why not start with your employees – they can bea great way to seed your page with fans. Leverage your current internalcommunications and encourage employees to Like the page and add it totheir email signatures.Use blogger outreach to build awareness, send emails to your most loyalcustomers and incentivize them to spread the word, create a displaycampaign, put up signage in your retail locations… in other words, thinkof this as you would any other marketing initiative. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 9
  10. 10. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingmoving at facebook speedcoping with the pace of facebook’s innovation isa challenge in and of itselfBy Antony MayfieldThe pace and scale of innovation coming out of Facebook is a challengein itself for marketing professionals. Just as we come to terms with thesocial web, large parts of it seem to shift beneath our feet.As Facebook celebrates the milestone of 500 million users, it is notjust the growth rate of the service which is dizzying to witness. Theinnovations which are coming out of the company also seem to arrive atbreakneck pace.We are becoming familiar with the idea of Facebook as an innovationengine - its ability to produce new technology solutions at a rapid rate isthe key to its success so far.Following April’s 2010’s F8 Conference digital marketers mighthave been forgiven for wanting a couple of days to think through theimplications of the Like button (or “social plug-ins” alone). However thiswas just one of a host of potentially game-changing announcements fromthe company, including the Open Graph protocol, opening up its publicdata for searches and adopting a new authentication standard.All of this before we even begin to take into account developments fromthird party developers and service providers in Facebook’s ecosystem.Although, it would not be wise to equate social media marketing solelywith Facebook, it’s important that attention is paid to this platform at themoment.Due to its complexity, social media generalists may not be enough to besuccessful in Facebook, and clients should insist on specialist support intechnical development, content, community management and analyticsin addition to strategic expertise. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 10
  11. 11. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingecommerce:the new benchmark for facebookBy Heather White-LairdWhile everyone has been up in arms about the loosening of the privacysettings, Facebook is quietly making an assault on a much biggerbattleground: ecommerce.When Facebook launched over six years ago, it was conceived as afriend-to-friend system, where people felt comfortable sharing their mostintimate information. In doing so, they gained the trust of their users andbuilt a loyal and committed fan base of 500,000,000 people. And thattrust for “sharing” will lay the groundwork for trust for “buying”.The 100,000,000 people who play games on Facebook are already verycomfortable paying real dollars to buy virtual goods, enabling companieslike Farmville to generate projected revenues of $450 million this year.Not one to miss an opportunity, Facebook recently announced thatFacebook Credits would be the only virtual currency allowed and gamecompanies would have to pay them up to 30% of all revenue from thesetransactions.In addition, Facebook has developed their own ecommerce app, calledPayvment, that has already been rolled out to over 20,000 independentretailers and will be available to the major players soon. The app is freeand takes roughly five minutes to set up.Given that people spend over seven hours a month on Facebook and theyare already Fans of many Fortune 500 companies, why wouldn’t they justbuy books, clothes and movie tickets right there?The only ones who might protest this new arrangement would likely becompetitors, such as Amazon, eBay and PayPal, but I don’t think there’llbe much of a fight. The Facebook forces have already set the benchmark. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 11
  12. 12. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingA facebook page isn’t a social media strategy:social media strategy beyond facebookBy Alisa LeonardWe believe the web is social. Social media has fundamentally dislodged By first focusing on listening to the consumer conversation,the traditional communications and marketing equilibrium. understanding consumer needs and expectations through deep analysis and crafting an overarching engagement strategy which focuses onWe have entered a new world where content scarcity has given way to compelling content and objectives-based community management, thecontent overload, fixed channels of communication have dissolved into focus shifts away from any one social space.fluid and complex networks of information exchange and once-captiveaudiences have now become active participants. This shift requires a Compelling content and objectives-based community management arenew course of action for brands, it demands a new marketing imperative: the true ingredients for social media success-- whether it takes placeConnectedness. in Facebook, Twitter, your dot com or some other new social platform that may emerge. The key is to focus on the larger picture: engagementConnectedness is a way of thinking about how successful brands do can happen anywhere, not just Facebook. Creating a multi-touchpointmarketing. It’s about focusing on audiences, not targets; engaging in ecosystem for engagement is key to success.dialogue, not shouting; and developing trust that is meaningful andlasting.Social media is an essential keystone in a connected brand’s strategy.Facebook alone is not a social media strategy. Twitter alone is not a socialmedia strategy. Because “the web is social,” nearly all of your digitaltouch points will impact or be impacted by your social media presence.Ideally, your investment in social media means investing in objectives-oriented social spaces, working in concert with a brand’s dot com, mediaspend, PR campaigns, and customer service efforts.There is a tendency for brands to focus solely on developing a Facebookstrategy. While Facebook is indeed an essential piece to the puzzle, itis not the be all and end all of your engagement strategy within socialmedia. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 12
  13. 13. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossingAbout icrossingiCrossing UK is a digital marketing agency that specialises in search andsocial media.We design and build search and social media strategies for some of theworld’s biggest brands, including The Coca-Cola Company, Toyota,Virgin, Bank of America, and TK MAXX.iCrossing UK is part of iCrossing, one of the world’s largest, digitalmarketing agencies, which employs 600 staff in 12 offices around theglobe, including 100 staff based at UK offices in London and Brighton.iCrossing has won numerous accolades, including the number one-rankedagency for both paid and natural search in Forrester Research’s 2009Wave report of US search marketing agencies, OMMA’s Search Agencyof the Year, Best Use of Search at the Revolution Awards and a finalist forRevolution’s Agency of the Year award. We are also the only agency withtwo Forrester social-media case studies to its name.iCrossing is a unit of Hearst Corporation, one of the world’s largestdiversified media companies.For more information please visit www.icrossing.co.uk > or contact usat results@icrossing.co.uk > © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 13