Conversational Marketing in the Age of Social Media
Whether you use Facebook for personal reasons or as a business tool, you have probably noticed a lot of changes on the site since last Thursday, when founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled them. (NOTES and WARNING: This is 1 hour and 40 minutes long. Fast forward to minute 7.5 if you want to avoid the stand up comedian pretending to be Zuckerberg).
There has been an uproar from some users, but there always is. Change is hard for some, but it is inevitable, especially if Facebook wants to remain in the top spot as a social networking destination.
User complaints abound.
“Too cluttered and overwhelming”
“Stop trying to keep up with/be like Twitter and Google+”
“Don’t try to tell me what I like”
“I liked it the way it was, stop changing.”
Facebook tells us that the changes to personal pages are so you don’t miss recent news that is important to you and that you may have missed since you last logged in as well as flexibility to hide news you don’t want to see using filters.
THE IMPACT ON YOUR BRAND
So, What does that mean for your brand on Facebook?
SUBSCRIBE is like FOLLOWING on Twitter: Individuals can now follow other individuals (Facebook says “subscribe”) so any public content on a personal Facebook can be in your news feed. This means that your CEO or other thought leaders within your company can share their ideas (blog posts, links to articles) with their subscribers. Getting subscribers is like getting followers on Twitter- the more of your friends that follow someone, the more of their friends might. Building a following on Facebook can reach a more mainstream audience in a more consumer/personal forum.
FILTERS make it easier for users to qualify the content they receive, making it easier to unsubscribe (while still being a friend), moving their content to more visible or hiding it all together. This means that organizations must be ever more conscious what they are posting to their subscribers so they don’t lose them. Use a litmus of 1) is it helpful? 2) is it informative? or is it 3) sales? If you or your thought leaders provide subscribers with helpful industry information, you will gain more. If you sell to them, you will lose your audience.
More updates are coming in a few weeks including:
While many of the new changes are making your experience more custom and allow users to hide what they don’t want to see, we know that these updates are motivated by the compelling functionality that Twitter and Google+ provide. While they currently have smaller audiences, they had the luxury of learning from Facebook before they launched their networks. Google has launched a fully open Google+, which provides flexibility and simplicity and, having learned what Facebook did not offer, at least initially, it offers much, much more. Read this for the details. Therefore, many things have been bolted on to the Facebook experience that weren’t even a glimmer in Mr. Zuckerberg’s eye when he created the original Harvard-centric tool.
At Weber Media Partners, we love info graphics. This one is so interesting we are going to post it even thought it is enormous. Thank you to Focus.com for putting this together.
While social networking began as a consumer activity, it has become a crucial component of most business marketing strategies as it allows companies to reach highly targeted audiences with custom messaging to build brand awareness and establish a relationship with the customer who now expect companies to be reachable and accountable.
Businesses are now regularly using tools such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn for hiring, customer support, product development, brand recognition, and, of course, client acquisition and retention. Social media has another benefit: the cost of acquiring customers is significantly lower than placing ads, and creates a lasting relationship.
The benefits of a quality social media marketing program include:
Listen first, Act second
Buyers look to objective internet sources to compare business products and services including existing customers who are more than willing to share their experience with these products. Companies can’t control the chatter, but they can learn what customers want.
Brands such as Comcast have made major strides in customer service by listening on Twitter. When their brand is mentioned, they know. When someone has a problem, they help them within minutes. They follow the first rule of social media: listen first, act second. Maintaining a regular monitoring program helps to understand customer sentiment and how it changes as you implement online programs.
Measuring the success of a social media campaign is possible only if you define your targets in advance. Whether they include increased traffic, website conversions or leads, you must have clear targets for successful campaigns, at short-term and long-term time intervals. A few examples of what success might look like include:
Some great resources to compliment this blog post:
Social Commerce, Social Media Today, November 2, 2010
Content for People, Not Robots, Impressions Through Media, September 18, 2010