Facebook’s Sandberg: Brands Can Be Social Too

27 06 2010

This is a great talk by Sheryl Sandberg at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 event, Facebook’s COO and a powerful speaker and salesperson. “If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today.” She continues that only 11% of teenagers are using email; increasingly, they’re texting and using social networks to communicate with each other. Of course you already know this which is why you’re reading this post to begin with.

What makes Facebook such a critical marketing tool is a combination it’s user base, its scale/reach, and the experiences it enables between those users and brands:

  • User Base: Make no mistake Facebook’s users are its most powerful asset.  Despite all the recent hullabaloo and bad press regarding privacy issues, I have no doubts that Facebook absolutely wants to provide the best, most reliable and trust-worthy user experience for their users.  By continuing to provide a platform where users can securely connect and share with other parties (friends, brands, groups etc.), Facebook will be in a dominant position to win marketing budgets as well as content-sharing/publishing deals.
  • Scale/Reach: Facebook is massive; I won’t go into much of the stats, but two of my favorites are 1.) two-thirds (70%) of Facebook’s members lived outside the U.S., 2.) more than 100 million users access the site via mobile devices.  When you combine these with their impressive time-spent stats, you may begin to see why so many believe Facebook has the potential to have more impact than Google or Microsoft.
  • Experiences: Beyond the user to user interactions that occur, brands are every day finding new methods and approaches to engaging users in an effective fashion.  I believe it’s still early days for these experiences and Facebook is prodding along (as are 3rd party application developers) on how to give brands and users more interactive and engaging experiences via the platform.

For nearly all the campaigns we work on, Facebook development is a core element of the strategy for all of the above reasons. I share with clients that Facebook enables you so much flexibility both in the size of the brand using it, as well as how they choose to interact. Small brands (like a restaurant establishment) without even a website can launch a FB fan page as their primary web presence to share basic materials like brochures, images and promotions. Large brands can tie their FB experiences to content databases and through integrated applications and tabs, can do a more effective job of sharing the content they have with the users looking for it.





Video Update: 21 June, 2010

24 06 2010





Social Media ROI: Muhammad Saleem Interview

28 12 2009

Straight forward and common sense interview with Muhameed Saleem regarding ROI in social media. Read the rest of this entry »





Leveraging Social Networking Beyond Marketing

17 12 2009

Work smarter not harder. Leverage social media to enhance your employee’s productivity as well as your customer service/feedback loops. Easier said than done however buying into the idea is the first step.





eMarketer – How Engaging is Online Video?

7 12 2009

Many marketers want to get into video but there still seems to be a wide chasm between high-end, pricier work and the amateur, shaky free work. Simple video editing goes a long way and I’ve recently been working quite a bit with Windows Movie Editor which is ideal for a starter as it allows you to add effects to clips, import a soundtrack, basically 99% of anything that an amateur videographer like myself would be interested. I ain’t no Quenten just yet….

But video is important – hugely so in fact. In October, Eyeblaster released a report comparing dwell time on ads with and without video:

The implications are more far-reaching however than simple ad effectiveness. It’s what you already know – if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a good video may be worth a thousand pictures. And one point to stress here is that “good” can be defined on several levels. Surely quality is one, but I still see a massive gap between what audiences are willing to watch and what businesses are comfortable providing.

Often times, hesitation on a company’s part to include video for fears that it won’t be acceptable quality, result in them working with a “professional” shop that helps them create a high-quality video but ultimately one that falls flat on connecting with the viewer. I guess what I’m saying is the video being of watchable quality is one thing, but the video speaking to a core issue (example: why you should work with me, how am I) is an entirely separate one that may or may not be correlated to how professional the video production actually is.

Here’s a good example of a simple video that addresses a core business inquiry – in this case, what’s involved in forming a company in Hong Kong.





Toyota’s Yaris Social Media Campaign Off to Rocky Start

10 11 2009

I found this video originally from Laurel Papworth’s article where she lambastes Toyota for taking a shot-gun approach to social media marketing in the Australia market. They’ve given five agencies $15k AUD each to see what they can do with social in a “winner-take-all” contest.

Papworth correctly calls them on trying to take a strategy that would work with traditional advertising firms and platforms and make it work with social media. The mistake in this is that the online medium is far less unforgiving than print, radio, TV or even basic banner ads. If Toyota’s agencies don’t tread lightly (which in this case means treading with sincerity, humility and appropriate tone), they stand to do more damage than good to their online brand, largely due to the backlash that appears to have already begun by the people they know doubt had the intention of influencing.

I believe that the intensity of Papworth’s criticism stem from a correct assumption that Toyota underestimates the unique challenge of creating a successful social media brand as well how big a role strategy plays. And because of the fact that she and other bloggers certainly do appreciate these challenges because they’ve done it for themselves – they’ve done the social media equivalent of pounding on doors to build/maintain their following and brand. Toyota’s shotgun approach unavoidably comes off as a bad simplification of the strategy, responsibility and work that goes into the process. I would imagine that the agencies are a bit more ahead of the game than their client; they likely realize the challenges, but they don’t have a much of a choice (it’s Toyota after all) but to try and put their best foot forward and fake it until they make it.
toyota-yaris-2009

The irony in all of the stir that’s been created is that none of it would likely have occurred if Toyota had, instead of awarding $75k across 5 agencies, simply awarded a single agency with a $25k test budget. I would argue that as far as actual results are concerned, they would likely have achieved the same relative level of impact but it would be significantly easier to digest the results and also determine appropriate next steps/investment. I do feel badly for the poor Toyota soul that was involved in pitching this. He or she no doubt had sincere intentions of wanting to lead the brand into this space in the “right” way, and may now be forced to answer questions about some of the unintended buzz that has already been created.

Follow Laurel Papworth on Twitter.





Pete Blackshaw: Defending Against Negative Blogs

3 11 2009

Nielsen executive, book author and Ad Age columnist Pete Blackshaw is astounded by the number of brand managers who still have no coherent strategy for dealing with negative blog posts. For brands that may look to defend themselves when bloggers get their hands on something potentially damaging, the most important question that Blackshaw believes you should be asking yourself is “what are we doing to empower the influencers to get your side of the story out”?

In fact, this is a recycling of the old adage that I still hold dear to my heart, “content is king”. Thus, if you don’t have content on your site that addresses some of the negative claims about your brand circulating the web, don’t expect bloggers to be creating it for you. Do your homework, find out what it is about your brand they’re negatively buzzing about, and determine the validity of the buzz. The tricky part is dealing with situations where the negative buzz is valid and you don’t have a plan in place to correct the issue; at that point it’s a more serious product/marketing issue that needs to be brought to senior leadership for review.