Facebook: New challenges for marketers

A collection of perspectives from icrossing september 2010

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. HEARST GROUP 2 2 . 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.

We hope it is useful . At the recent F8 Facebook developer conference earlier this year the company announced significant innovations on several fronts. HEARST GROUP 3 . While Google is becoming a known quantity.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. as well as approaches for developing successful brand profiles. 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. icrossing © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. Facebook is still evolving at a rapid rate. and search a maturing marketing discipline. 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. adding new potential opportunities but also complexity to marketers’ task of developing effective strategies for Facebook. social media.and do let us know what you think e Antony Mayfield svp.

Google’s evolution has recently leaned toward social. Eli Goodman of ComScore said that Facebook “not only has the potential to become a viable search engine. Facebook made the content a facet of the individual and the individuals surrounding them.Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing facebook vs.exemplified by Google . The blaze of innovations from Facebook at the F8 conference earlier this year.pages on the web.of a service that organises the web. creating connected brands. Google’s genius was to move away from the mental model of information being indexed like so many library books and use hyperlinks to see the relationships between documents . especially Open Graph > . Increasingly. From the Vince update > onward. they are intertwined and also competing. alternatives ploughing their own course and destined never to meet. Recently. Whereas Google made content something that was defined by the document and the documents surrounding it. Sitting alongside its page index is Facebook’s ‘people index’. The pages Facebook can direct people to may be smaller in number but it could nonetheless end up being more influential. For now though. an academic project of dazzling brilliance that was then applied commercially with equal intelligence. helps us makes sense of it. We see search and social both as the twin lenses through which we can see and make sense of the web and as two interdependent facets of the medium. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. the potential for Facebook to usurp Google is theoretical. Google was the product of a mathematical/engineering mind. begin to make the social network look like a tangible challenger to Google’s monopoly on sense-making on the web. Facebook was the product of thinking about the social life of Harvard students. read: social.” Google and Facebook are not two parallel systems. however we are seeing Facebook as a platform that may challenge the established search engine paradigm . 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. and for personal. 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. HEARST GROUP 4 . Google has been working hard to make search results more personal. but in fact it has a chance to help redefine the way we think of search. taking into account the importance of people’s social graphs. in deciding what pages will be most relevant to them on a particular subject. navigate it and get what we want. their networks of friends. We like to explain the difference between Facebook and Google as a tale of two university start-ups that both set out to define the web in different ways. a desire to make their network more efficient that was executed with simplicity and elegance.

Web use is changing all of the time for all demographics.Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing continued . p Stay close to users: 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. 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. need to ensure that both areas are represented and adequately resourced. p Search and social literacy throughout the in-house and agency teams: While experts are a necessity for operating effectively in paid and natural search as well as social media. While the battle plays out though. marketing plans. cross-discipline knowledge sharing and innovation is essential. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. and especially longer term strategies.. p Visibility is about more than search engine rankings: “Search visibility” has been a useful and measurable idea for brands for some time.. marketers’ responses to Facebook’s rise should include: p Dispute “either/or” strategies: While search or social may be a priority. HEARST GROUP 5 .

giving users more granular control over sharing their data. While the privacy concerns may have sparked a media frenzy and led to some proponents of the open web leaving Facebook. a brand may pull in and out of relevant social spaces when networking habits shift or evolve. This is a slightly ironic twist. This approach enables a brand to firstly. What is important to keep in mind is that the growing user base for Facebook continues to be the 35+ year old age group. this backlash has been aided somewhat by Facebook itself. important to keep in mind that Facebook has not changed its Terms of Service (ToS). iCrossing believes in value of developing a federated content and community management strategy that may be deployed across one or multiple social spaces.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 bit of backlash in the media around their privacy policies and the subsequent exodus of users leaving the network in search of safer pastures. With this approach. We believe spaces should fulfill differentiated goals. but what this approach does advocate is the development of a universal set of tools. it is important to keep in mind that. However. It is. have adopted. Rather than taking a site-specific approach to social media. mostly “moms” and other mainstream target consumers. investment is largely made in developing social currency . which addressed the issue with evasive. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. whereby a social strategy lives and dies by a single network or service. integrated social media strategy. content creation capabilities and management protocol which lay the foundation for a cohesive. shortly after the initial media firestorm. this approach does not advocate a “one size fits all” approach to developing social spaces . particularly those active in social spaces like Facebook. So what does all of this mean for brands and those who participate in Facebook? Is everyone really leaving Facebook? Should brands continue to invest in Facebook? Firstly. secondly understand how each branded social space performs within a brand’s greater digital ecosystem and finally iterate and optimis e efficiently. the majority of users will continue to use the service as their primary social network. Likes for the video) which proper community management generates. which still give Facebook significant control over what it can do with user data. Through this approach.we know that different spaces serve different functions and are often managed under the auspices of disparate teams of stakeholders. those leaving Facebook have tended to be either early adopters or much younger users who prefer social gaming networks to Facebook. HEARST GROUP 6 .namely content (such as a brand video) and the “metacontent” (comments. deploy new social spaces effectively. Unlike early adopters who can be fickle about their social network of choice. the average Facebook user is not leaving Facebook any time soon. Facebook released another version of its privacy settings to help remedy the situation. Unfortunately. however. and who get involved in the techno-cultural politics of social networking platform wars. predictable corporate-speak. To be clear. A brand’s continued investment in Facebook should be predicated on solid research. strategy and experience planning. given the “era of Facebook” and the new transparency and openness ethos that brands. generally speaking.

brands need to be careful in this new and constantly changing environment.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. For example. They have no Wall where users can post comments and content is added automatically when users update their own Wall with a relevant keyword. An altruistic goal for sure but one that has caused some consternation for brands. brand-owned pages relating to their passions. A potential upside to this over-abundance of content is that. Currently these pages are completely controlled by Facebook. active brand participation in the space is a necessity © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. as with all social media. And because there is very little meta data associated with these posts. The best remedy for this issue is an engaging authorized b rand Fan Page through which you can contribute to your brand messaging. Who’s really interested in seeing hundreds of thousands of posts around coffee? More likely. Vigilant monitoring of key terms and conversations is recommended and. there are now over 500 results for Coca-Cola pages in Facebook’s search. it’s a new coupon offer from Starbucks that is the desired result. Community pages have also created an avalanche of redundant and confusing content. HEARST GROUP 7 . As always. Brands cannot add or edit any content either. because many of these pages contain irrelevant and meaningless information. it may mean a brand’s name or products can appear in a negative context. users may shun Community Pages in favour of the more targeted.

All brands. 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. should learn from their mishaps. Some brands may even question whether they should have a Facebook page at all given the risks. you need to prepare for the worst. 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. Without such preparation you are simply navigating the social media tightrope without a net. however. are finding that their low-cost social media tool can turn into their worst PR nightmare. It is a bit unfair to single out Nestle. HEARST GROUP 8 . 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. Nestle is a typical recent Facebook casualty. Think about it. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. however. 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. Many companies. You provide some interesting content and people who enjoy your product or services will signal their loyalty by joining your page.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. They just happen to be the most recent Facebook casualty. The most important question is whether you have the resources and strategy to manage it correctly.

These carry with them an implied endorsement and are key to increasing your visibility on Facebook.Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing earning your way to attention: Abandoning the “if you build it. creating a social media landing page. Facebook users are not there to actively search for brands or products and they need a compelling reason to leave the site. allowing your brand to appear in their friends’ news feeds. and may seem antithetical to the common notion that Facebook is a “free” platform to build on. both in terms of sheer numbers and time spent on the site. Too often companies think that if they just create the right content it will spread like wildfire. What else is there? Well. create a display campaign. or maybe you need to run a small test to prove the value of Facebook to upper management. relevant content for your Facebook page. How should you support your Facebook page? There are obvious options – Facebook ads (the simplest of which are relatively inexpensive). Leverage your current internal communications and encourage employees to Like the page and add it to their email signatures. they will come” mindset By Anne Steinhaus Yes. HEARST GROUP 9 . This might sound expensive. They’ve been wooed by agencies and vendors promising to make “viral” content that will instantly garner millions of views. it would be a shame for it to go unnoticed. why not start with your employees – they can be a great way to seed your page with fans. But remember: Facebook is not a search engine. if you would like to see any traffic to your Facebook fan page. Maybe you want to dip your toe in the water. This is all predicated on a solid content and community management strategy. put up signage in your retail locations… in other words. impressions – those updates that are created when users interact with your page. But if you’ve gone through the trouble of creating useful. So. Use blogger outreach to build awareness. unique. But look at it this way: shouldn’t you be willing to invest at least a little bit in a site that has an audience as big as Google’s? Over time (once you’ve reached a critical mass) you can rely more on organic. of course it makes sense for your brand to have a presence on Facebook. And yes. Of course. in reality there are few brands that have the recognition and reputation to pull this off. send emails to your most loyal customers and incentivize them to spread the word. the Facebook audience is huge. or earned. think of this as you would any other marketing initiative. you don’t want to drive users to a bad experience. putting a Facebook logo in the global footer of your dot com site. you’d better be thinking of ways to drive that traffic yourself… at least at the onset. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD.

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. All of this before we even begin to take into account developments from third party developers and service providers in Facebook’s ecosystem. Although.its ability to produce new technology solutions at a rapid rate is the key to its success so far. community management and analytics in addition to strategic expertise. Due to its complexity. large parts of it seem to shift beneath our feet. Just as we come to terms with the social web. content.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. it is not just the growth rate of the service which is dizzying to witness. including the Open Graph protocol. HEARST GROUP 10 . social media generalists may not be enough to be successful in Facebook. and clients should insist on specialist support in technical development. opening up its public data for searches and adopting a new authentication standard. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. 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. The innovations which are coming out of the company also seem to arrive at breakneck pace. As Facebook celebrates the milestone of 500 million users. We are becoming familiar with the idea of Facebook as an innovation engine .

Facebook has developed their own ecommerce app. In doing so. called Payvment. clothes and movie tickets right there? The only ones who might protest this new arrangement would likely be competitors. but I don’t think there’ll be much of a fight. where people felt comfortable sharing their most intimate information. The app is free and takes roughly five minutes to set up. Not one to miss an opportunity. And that trust for “sharing” will lay the groundwork for trust for “buying”. Given that people spend over seven hours a month on Facebook and they are already Fans of many Fortune 500 companies. enabling companies like Farmville to generate projected revenues of $450 million this year. In addition. Facebook is quietly making an assault on a much bigger battleground: ecommerce. eBay and PayPal. that has already been rolled out to over 20. they gained the trust of their users and built a loyal and committed fan base of 500. HEARST GROUP 11 . why wouldn’t they just buy books.000 independent retailers and will be available to the major players soon.000.000 people who play games on Facebook are already very comfortable paying real dollars to buy virtual goods.000.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 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. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. The Facebook forces have already set the benchmark. The 100. it was conceived as a friend-to-friend system. When Facebook launched over six years ago. such as Amazon.000 people.

Social media is an essential keystone in a connected brand’s strategy. By first focusing on listening to the consumer conversation. the focus shifts away from any one social space. and developing trust that is meaningful and lasting. We have entered a new world where content scarcity has given way to content overload.whether it takes place in Facebook. Social media has fundamentally dislodged the traditional communications and marketing equilibrium. Compelling content and objectives-based community management are the true ingredients for social media success-. While Facebook is indeed an essential piece to the puzzle. Ideally. Connectedness is a way of thinking about how successful brands do marketing. Twitter alone is not a social media strategy. media spend.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. it demands a new marketing imperative: Connectedness. Twitter. not targets.” nearly all of your digital touch points will impact or be impacted by your social media presence. not shouting. HEARST GROUP 12 . understanding consumer needs and expectations through deep analysis and crafting an overarching engagement strategy which focuses on compelling content and objectives-based community management. your investment in social media means investing in objectivesoriented social spaces. PR campaigns. It’s about focusing on audiences. Because “the web is social. and customer service efforts. working in concert with a brand’s dot com. There is a tendency for brands to focus solely on developing a Facebook strategy. engaging in dialogue. Creating a multi-touchpoint ecosystem for engagement is key to success. fixed channels of communication have dissolved into fluid and complex networks of information exchange and once-captive audiences have now become active participants. Facebook alone is not a social media strategy. not just Facebook. it is not the be all and end all of your engagement strategy within social media. This shift requires a new course of action for brands. your dot com or some other new social platform that may emerge. The key is to focus on the larger picture: engagement can happen anywhere. © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD.

one of the world’s largest diversified media companies. which employs 600 staff in 12 offices around the globe. Toyota. including the number one-ranked agency for both paid and natural search in Forrester Research’s 2009 Wave report of US search marketing agencies. iCrossing UK is part of iCrossing. digital marketing agencies. one of the world’s largest.co.icrossing. Virgin.co. including 100 staff based at UK offices in London and Brighton. iCrossing is a unit of Hearst Corporation. OMMA’s Search Agency of the Year.uk > © COPYRIGHT 2010 ICROSSING LTD. We design and build search and social media strategies for some of the world’s biggest brands. For more information please visit www. HEARST GROUP 13 .Facebook: A collection of perspectives from icrossing About icrossing iCrossing UK is a digital marketing agency that specialises in search and social media. iCrossing has won numerous accolades. including The Coca-Cola Company.uk > or contact us at results@icrossing. Bank of America. 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. and TK MAXX.

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