Social Media Evolution Beyond Broadcasting

“In this day and age, I can’t imagine a company not using Facebook for marketing,” says a Facebook software engineer as we wait for our flight in the Dominican Republic airport. From one bias to another, a Facebook software engineer to a Facebook Preferred Marketing developer, the statement is surprisingly not so outlandish among the world’s marketers. It seems we live in a world of marketing where digital and social are the most accessible, yet powerful tools for every sized business. Even in Dominican Republic, a developing country, social media is used among businesses to market and offer promotions (the topic that initiated our conversation). With more marketing presence emerging through digital means, how do you navigate through the grey matter and join the chatter?

Just because social marketing is accessible does not mean it is one dimensional. Yes, you are in high competition for a mass audience surrounded by lots of noise, but broadcasting is not your only tool. Here is how we suggest navigating Facebook as a business for marketing:

1. Market Research

How else would you get to know your customer? For companies with no budget for formal market research, Facebook can be a great tool for getting to know your  prospective customers for the initial creation of a target market. Who is following the brand? What are there interests? Do they rationally relate to the product service or offering? If not, you may be starting off with the wrong messaging. If they do, get to know them better and find out specific needs through direct conversation.

For BNOTIONS, Facebook gives us a good idea of our community. We can see who are interacting with the brand and how they relate to our client list. Are we interacting with our target segment? In Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm (the technology marketing bible), he walks us through the marketing cycle from early adopter, to visionary, to mainstream markets, to the last majority in the high tech world. It is important to keep a pulse on which segment you have the eyes and ears of as this will clearly direct your marketing efforts. Facebook can give you a nice peek at individuals in your market to see which segment you are currently interacting with. For us, we interact on Facebook with the early adopters who often lead us to visionaries (or the decision makers in large companies for technology adoption). Although, most visionaries have a right-hand man…which most often happens to be an early adopter. Word-of-mouth has to start somewhere and it is better if it is reinforced, so you want to make sure you have the attention of the early adopters before you start planning for the visionaries. Facebook is a great place to confirm this segment for strategic marketing.

2. Feedback and Iteration

Once you have developed a core target market and established your segment that will define your influencers and decision makers, you want to make sure you are listening. Facebook is a free beta testing tool! No need for focus groups, ask your Facebook network. Ask questions and opinions about your industry. Follow up on comments and messages. Facebook is a crowdsourcing tool with a mass network. People are very open to expressing opinions and ideas on Facebook, so do not be afraid to tap into that.

3. CRM

Personally, I think of Facebook as my personal roladex. All my friends in one place and easy to get a hold of. As a business, there are multiple ways you can turn Facebook into a CRM of influencers and prospects.

At BNOTIONS, we build a lot of Facebook apps that help develop specific ‘lists’ for clients. For example, if you are doing a specific promotion for a coupon through a Facebook app, the list of people who interacted for the coupon have shown obvious ‘intent’ or interest. Back to our market research, it gives you an idea if your market is accurate to your prediction, but more importantly, a very clear view of potential customers; who they are and what they like. By creating an app, you can segment your Facebook audience down through specific actions such as downloading coupons, reviewing products, or interacting in other specific ways. We recently did a campaign through Ogilvy and Mather for Scrubbing Bubbles through a Facebook app where users could download a coupon to try the product, review and share with friends. After the campaign, we were able to look at the users of the app and notice qualities, demographics, and other market information.

4. The Hype Machine

This is the obvious one. Facebook is an amazing broadcast tool. But make sure not to get stuck on the obvious, as we have come to expect more than information from brands; but rather a relationship.

Also, don’t discount Facebook as an amazing traffic referral tool. If you are interacting correctly, you will likely find Facebook in your top 5 sources for referral traffic (the first step in the lead conversation cycle!). Facebook is a great tool for driving traffic to your website that has already interacted with a ‘touch point’ (meaning will likely know your brand before hitting your landing page). We can’t guarantee this will improve your bounce rate, although in many cases this first interaction can certainly guarantee more targeted traffic (along with SEO and SEM).

Here at BNOTIONS, we’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on many Facebook applications on both mobile and desktop over the years. We value our social knowledge and take pride in helping brands connect with their core audience by developing apps that not only promote engagement but clearly define what make them special. We’ve worked on some amazing Facebook projects such as Scotiabank’s “the Richness Project” and Samsung Canada’s “Pursue your Passions“.

Jenna Hannon | Director of Marketing | @JennaHannon

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