Social media marketing in Facebook

My Facebook activity — and I suspect yours — has stepped up over the past four months, seemingly due to a tipping point of sorts being reached in the late spring as more Forty- and Fifty-Somethings in the interactive/tech space flooded the former college network looking for insights and value.

As I told the audience at last week’s WPP Strategy meeting, you can’t accurately fathom the essence of Facebook unless you are a 19-year old freshman and are using the system at its naturally intended level: a replacement of the paper facebook that was de rigeur in the freshman welcome packs when I arrived at college in the fall of 1976.

My college roommate — a professor of archeology at the University of Kansas — actually uses Facebook the way a contemporary student would, posting pictures of our 25th Reunion (which I blew off), staying in touch, sharing videos of Burning Man, and adopting and rejecting new applications at a furious clip. But the rest of my network …. with the exception of some natural networkers like Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard, and interactive marketing pundit Joseph Jaffe, the typical Facebook friend in my network seems to be using the system as a semi-rolodex replacement, or a scalp-collector the way early Linked-In fanatics collected gross contact counts as a validation of their self-importance (until Linked-In wisely capped the reported contact count at 500+)

The usual cliches about Facebook being a time sink are true, and even though I compulsively check the thing, and even listened to a Jaffe podcast through it this morning (Across the Sound), I haven’t felt the utility of it click the way other addictive online apps (Google Reader, Google News, my own blog) have hit me.

I have spent a lot of time analyzing the economic value of marketing within Facebook, requesting rate cards and looking at the efforts of competitors and top brands such as Southwest Airlines in creating sponsored groups. While I have subscribed to, and monitor relevant grassroots groups that have cropped up around our brand terms, I haven’t seen a large amount of activity nor urgency in diving in with a seven-figure investment.

One thing is perfectly clear to me as I use it — display advertising has a very very hard time vying for my attention inside of a tool that is all about news and utility tailored to me and my interests. That same display advertising, in the context of a flat media page — say a news story on — is slightly more compelling or attention getting given the linear, one way experience of an HTML web page impression. If I can’t engage with the content then the ads pop out a bit more. Put that same ad in the middle of my profile page, and it suddenly is competing for attention with everything from my iTunes utility to my Facebook inbox.

I won’t delve into MySpace as a) that rivalry is overstated in my opinion, and b) I don’t use MySpace enough to feel informed about it.

I know I embarrass my daughter to no end by being on Facebook — I was her “friend” for about a month before she “unfriendeded” me — and I don’t blame her. I’m an invader, not a native, and nothing is uncooler than inviting a parent to a party. I guess if I want to understand how to market in Facebook I need to hire her or her ilk to insure it is done properly, otherwise the brand could come off looking like an old lady in a mini-skirt.

Now, to see if there are any Facebook gadgets so I can integrate WordPress ….

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Social media marketing in Facebook”

  1. “UnFriended” by a daughter. how crass? It happened to me too. Probably for the same reasons. Silly girl didn’t realize that I knew her pass word though.


  2. The part about your daughter “unfriending” you made me laugh.

    I’ve got a friend my age who uses Facebook religiously. If I call him on his cell phone he NEVER answers or returns my call (how annoying is that?), but if I contact him through Facebook, then he gets to me within the hour.

  3. There are a couple of Facebook bits…you can add in your blog as an rss feed and it’ll add all the stuff that comes through here. Although I am not sure that’s done me any good with my blog. I suspect facebook want’s to be facebook and the blog wants to the be the blog.

    Do we really need to carry all our stuff around with us where ever we go like Gypsys? Does all content need to be unbolted from it’s platform?

  4. I take Mark’s point, but I was going to recommend adding your blog’s feed so that Facebook would import your ‘notes’. My FeedBurner stats tell me that a fair number of my Facebook friends are reading my blog posts from within Facebook – and since my blog is where I talk about things that are interesting to me, I want that info to flow through to Facebook. I don’t see a distinction between the two; if Facebook had been around 5 years ago when i started the blog, I might well have just used Facebook. (Whether that would have been wise is another matter entirely.)

    I do see a difference between LinkedIn, which is a professional networking tool, and Facebook, which feels more like a social device. Over time, there’s no doubt in my mind that that will change, but the bias in each is hard-wired, and likely to inform most future development.

    Bottom line: to the extent that your blog captures what’s relevant to you (it does, IMO) and to the extent you want your Facebook circle to know about that, I see the feed import as a big plus.

  5. That’s how I’m doing it…importing my posts as notes…

    It doesn’t handle youtube well, and it ignores the picture alignment, but otherwise, it’s a pretty decent platform.

    And Rick is probably right. Facebook very well might have been the platform of choice if we’d had it 5 years ago. It’s got rss feeds, and let’s face it, the only other thing we use in blogs is trackbacks, and they’re as dead as disco now.

  6. A seven figure marketing investment for Facebook? I’d like to see those rate cards myself! How do companies measure ROI on that $$?

    There’s still a huge value in using social networking platforms like Facebook to build communities around a brand.

    I’ve assembled a list of Facebook applications for communicators that I thought you might appreciate. There’s no WordPress integration yet, but give it another month or two!

  7. Great posts 🙂

    I instinctively ignore all display advertising. When I am using FB, I am looking to “do” stuffs. By not matching the reasons of me being there, its just not effectively gaining my attention. I just find it disruptive to my work. I am surprised their expected revenue of 150mil. I wonder how long that model will last.

    Google ads stands a higher chance of my clicks than FB ads simply because when I am Googling, my context is “find” something. FB can do better in making ads more natural. When I am searching the term “Cisco” in groups, it could display some relevant ads.

  8. Aaron — a sponsored group can run as much as $100,000 a month. There are other, less expensive options known as e-flyers, but a full-on group is a $600,000 to $1,200,000 expense not including staffing and creative.

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