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Facebook Challenges

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  • 1. Facebook: New challenges for marketers A collection of perspectives from icrossing september 2010
  • 2. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing Contents Introduction – Antony Mayfield Facebook vs Google – Is Facebook changing search or replacing search? – Dr Jason Ryan and Antony Mayfield Facebook backlash – Could users abandon Facebook en masse? – Alisa Hansen Facebook’s community pages and the impact for brands – Heather White-Laird When fans attack – Handling crises on Facebook – Dana Mellecker Earning your way to attention – Abandoning the ‘If you build it, they will come’ mindset – Anne Steinhaus Moving at Facebook speed – Coping with the pace of Facebook’s innovation is a challenge in and of itself – Antony Mayfield Ecommerce: The new benchmark for Facebook – Heather White-Laird Facebook centricty – Social Media Strategy beyond Facebook – Alisa Hansen About iCrossing © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 2 2
  • 3. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing introduction When Mark Zuckerberg recently said that Facebook would reach one billion users there were few people who doubted him. The social network has become a mainstay of people’s web experience for many and is second only to Google in its importance to online marketers. While Google is becoming a known quantity, and search a maturing marketing discipline, Facebook is still evolving at a rapid rate. At the recent F8 Facebook developer conference earlier this year the company announced significant innovations on several fronts, adding new potential opportunities but also complexity to marketers’ task of developing effective strategies for Facebook. This collection of articles from iCrossing e specialists gives our perspective on some of the things brand and media owners need to bear in mind when it comes to Facebook, as well as approaches for developing successful brand profiles. We hope it is useful - and do let us know what you think e Antony Mayfield svp, social media, icrossing © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 3
  • 4. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing facebook vs. google: is facebook changing search or replacing search? By Dr Jason Ryan and Antony Mayfield We describe iCrossing as a search and social media agency, creating Google’s evolution has recently leaned toward social, taking into account connected brands. We see search and social both as the twin lenses the importance of people’s social graphs, their networks of friends, in through 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 may challenge 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 look and 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’. The We like to explain the difference between Facebook and Google as a tale pages Facebook can direct people to may be smaller in number but it of 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 of information being indexed like so many library books and use hyperlinks For now though, the potential for Facebook to usurp Google is to 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 gave the Google algorithm the best way yet of divining relevance and what pages would be most useful to the user. Google was the product of a mathematical/engineering mind, an academic project of dazzling brilliance that was then applied commercially with equal intelligence. Facebook was the product of thinking about the social life of Harvard students, a desire to make their network more efficient that was executed with simplicity and elegance. Whereas Google made content something that was defined by the document and the documents surrounding it, Facebook made the content a facet of the individual and the individuals surrounding them. Recently, Eli Goodman of ComScore said that Facebook “not only has the potential to become a viable search engine, but in fact it has a chance to help redefine the way we think of search.” Google and Facebook are not two parallel systems, alternatives ploughing their own course and destined never to meet, they are intertwined and also competing. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 4
  • 5. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing continued ... While the battle plays out though, marketers’ responses to Facebook’s rise 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 and p 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. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing facebook backlash: could users abandon facebook en masse? By Alisa Leonard We’ve been seeing it for a while now: Facebook experiencing quite A brand’s continued investment in Facebook should be predicated on a bit of backlash in the media around their privacy policies and the solid research, strategy and experience planning. Rather than taking subsequent exodus of users leaving the network in search of safer pastures. a site-specific approach to social media, whereby a social strategy lives Unfortunately, this backlash has been aided somewhat by Facebook itself, and dies by a single network or service, iCrossing believes in value of which 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 new transparency and openness ethos that brands, particularly those active This approach enables a brand to firstly, deploy new social spaces in social spaces like Facebook, have adopted. However, shortly after the effectively, secondly understand how each branded social space performs initial media firestorm, Facebook released another version of its privacy within a brand’s greater digital ecosystem and finally iterate and optimis settings to help remedy the situation, giving users more granular control e efficiently. over sharing their data. It is, however, important to keep in mind that Facebook has not changed its Terms of Service (ToS), which still give To be clear, this approach does not advocate a “one size fits all” approach Facebook 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 teams So what does all of this mean for brands and those who participate in of stakeholders. We believe spaces should fulfill differentiated goals, but Facebook? Is everyone really leaving Facebook? Should brands continue what this approach does advocate is the development of a universal set of to 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, those leaving Facebook have tended to be either early adopters or much Through this approach, investment is largely made in developing social younger 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 community continues to be the 35+ year old age group, mostly “moms” and other management generates. With this approach, a brand may pull in and out mainstream target consumers. of relevant social spaces when networking habits shift or evolve. Unlike early adopters who can be fickle about their social network of choice, and who get involved in the techno-cultural politics of social networking platform wars, the average Facebook user is not leaving Facebook any time soon. While the privacy concerns may have sparked a media frenzy and led to some proponents of the open web leaving Facebook, the majority of users will continue to use the service as their primary social network. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 6
  • 7. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing facebook’s community pages and the impact for brands By Heather White-Laird Facebook’s goal for the recently launched six million Community Pages > is to provide users with the best collection of shared knowledge on a topic. An altruistic goal for sure but one that has caused some consternation for brands. Currently these pages are completely controlled by Facebook. They have no Wall where users can post comments and content is added automatically when users update their own Wall with a relevant keyword. Brands cannot add or edit any content either. And because there is very little meta data associated with these posts, it may mean a brand’s name or products can appear in a negative context. The best remedy for this issue is an engaging authorized b rand Fan Page through which you can contribute to your brand messaging. Community pages have also created an avalanche of redundant and confusing content. For example, there are now over 500 results for Coca-Cola pages in Facebook’s search. A potential upside to this over-abundance of content is that, because many of these pages contain irrelevant and meaningless information, users may shun Community Pages in favour of the more targeted, brand-owned pages relating to their passions. Who’s really interested in seeing hundreds of thousands of posts around coffee? More likely, it’s a new coupon offer from Starbucks that is the desired result. As always, brands need to be careful in this new and constantly changing environment. Vigilant monitoring of key terms and conversations is recommended and, as with all social media, active brand participation in the space is a necessity © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 7
  • 8. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing When fans attack: Handling crises on facebook By Dana Mellecker Brand Facebook pages seem like a no-brainer today. You provide some interesting content and people who enjoy your product or services will signal their loyalty by joining your page. Many companies, however, are finding that their low-cost social media tool can turn into their worst PR nightmare. Some brands may even question whether they should have a Facebook page at all given the risks. Nestle is a typical recent Facebook casualty. Nestle’s undoing was a poorly thought out initial response to negative comments following an aggressive Greenpeace campaign. Nestle’s first responses were more than a little snippy and went a long way to inflaming the fan base. My guess is that the person in charge of managing their Facebook page is (or was) a very bright but young staffer with little PR experience who was not give much guidance in managing the page. Think about it. Would you let the person responsible for communicating to your Facebook page fans provide comments to the Wall Street Journal on corporate policy without proper training and vetting of messages? The potential for PR backlash alone should not be reason enough for a brand to choose not to have a Facebook page. The most important question is whether you have the resources and strategy to manage it correctly. Is content approved by senior PR people? Have you established a set of “best practices” to guide your Facebook page managers? Do you have a specific Facebook plan in place in case of a crisis? Like any good PR campaign, you need to prepare for the worst. Without such preparation you are simply navigating the social media tightrope without a net. It is a bit unfair to single out Nestle. They just happen to be the most recent Facebook casualty. All brands, however, should learn from their mishaps. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 8
  • 9. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing earning your way to attention: Abandoning the “if you build it, they will come” mindset By Anne Steinhaus Yes, the Facebook audience is huge, both in terms of sheer numbers and This might sound expensive, and may seem antithetical to the common time 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 to to 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 prove engine. 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 it will spread like wildfire. They’ve been wooed by agencies and vendors Over time (once you’ve reached a critical mass) you can rely more on promising to make “viral” content that will instantly garner millions organic, or earned, impressions – those updates that are created when of views; in reality there are few brands that have the recognition and users interact with your page, allowing your brand to appear in their reputation 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’d better 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 is onset. 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 social media landing page. What else is there? Well, why not start with your employees – they can be a great way to seed your page with fans. Leverage your current internal communications and encourage employees to Like the page and add it to their email signatures. Use blogger outreach to build awareness, send emails to your most loyal customers and incentivize them to spread the word, create a display campaign, put up signage in your retail locations… in other words, think of this as you would any other marketing initiative. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 9
  • 10. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing moving at facebook speed coping with the pace of facebook’s innovation is a challenge in and of itself By Antony Mayfield The pace and scale of innovation coming out of Facebook is a challenge in itself for marketing professionals. Just as we come to terms with the social web, large parts of it seem to shift beneath our feet. As Facebook celebrates the milestone of 500 million users, it is not just the growth rate of the service which is dizzying to witness. The innovations which are coming out of the company also seem to arrive at breakneck pace. We are becoming familiar with the idea of Facebook as an innovation engine - its ability to produce new technology solutions at a rapid rate is the key to its success so far. Following April’s 2010’s F8 Conference digital marketers might have been forgiven for wanting a couple of days to think through the implications of the Like button (or “social plug-ins” alone). However this was just one of a host of potentially game-changing announcements from the company, including the Open Graph protocol, opening up its public data for searches and adopting a new authentication standard. All of this before we even begin to take into account developments from third party developers and service providers in Facebook’s ecosystem. Although, it would not be wise to equate social media marketing solely with Facebook, it’s important that attention is paid to this platform at the moment. Due to its complexity, social media generalists may not be enough to be successful in Facebook, and clients should insist on specialist support in technical development, content, community management and analytics in addition to strategic expertise. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 10
  • 11. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing ecommerce: the new benchmark for facebook By Heather White-Laird While everyone has been up in arms about the loosening of the privacy settings, Facebook is quietly making an assault on a much bigger battleground: ecommerce. When Facebook launched over six years ago, it was conceived as a friend-to-friend system, where people felt comfortable sharing their most intimate information. In doing so, they gained the trust of their users and built a loyal and committed fan base of 500,000,000 people. And that trust for “sharing” will lay the groundwork for trust for “buying”. The 100,000,000 people who play games on Facebook are already very comfortable paying real dollars to buy virtual goods, enabling companies like Farmville to generate projected revenues of $450 million this year. Not one to miss an opportunity, Facebook recently announced that Facebook Credits would be the only virtual currency allowed and game companies would have to pay them up to 30% of all revenue from these transactions. In addition, Facebook has developed their own ecommerce app, called Payvment, that has already been rolled out to over 20,000 independent retailers and will be available to the major players soon. The app is free and takes roughly five minutes to set up. Given that people spend over seven hours a month on Facebook and they are already Fans of many Fortune 500 companies, why wouldn’t they just buy books, clothes and movie tickets right there? The only ones who might protest this new arrangement would likely be competitors, such as Amazon, eBay and PayPal, but I don’t think there’ll be much of a fight. The Facebook forces have already set the benchmark. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 11
  • 12. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing A facebook page isn’t a social media strategy: social media strategy beyond facebook By Alisa Leonard We 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 on We have entered a new world where content scarcity has given way to compelling content and objectives-based community management, the content 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-captive audiences have now become active participants. This shift requires a Compelling content and objectives-based community management are new course of action for brands, it demands a new marketing imperative: the true ingredients for social media success-- whether it takes place Connectedness. in Facebook, Twitter, your dot com or some other new social platform that may emerge. The key is to focus on the larger picture: engagement Connectedness is a way of thinking about how successful brands do can happen anywhere, not just Facebook. Creating a multi-touchpoint marketing. 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 and lasting. 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 social media strategy. Because “the web is social,” nearly all of your digital touch 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, media spend, PR campaigns, and customer service efforts. There is a tendency for brands to focus solely on developing a Facebook strategy. While Facebook is indeed an essential piece to the puzzle, it is not the be all and end all of your engagement strategy within social media. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 12
  • 13. Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing About icrossing iCrossing UK is a digital marketing agency that specialises in search and social media. We design and build search and social media strategies for some of the world’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, digital marketing agencies, which employs 600 staff in 12 offices around the globe, including 100 staff based at UK offices in London and Brighton. iCrossing has won numerous accolades, including the number one-ranked agency for both paid and natural search in Forrester Research’s 2009 Wave report of US search marketing agencies, OMMA’s Search Agency of the Year, Best Use of Search at the Revolution Awards and a finalist for Revolution’s Agency of the Year award. We are also the only agency with two Forrester social-media case studies to its name. iCrossing is a unit of Hearst Corporation, one of the world’s largest diversified media companies. For more information please visit www.icrossing.co.uk > or contact us at results@icrossing.co.uk > © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD, HEARST GROUP 13