Facebook: The Brand Experience Channel?

A long time friend and I were talking today about his recent privacy score of .09 on Facebook.

Because he is a well known author and speaker within his industry he is a celebrity of sorts and as such he lives his life publicly both offline and online – particularly within his Facebook account.

Hence his .09 privacy score.

As both a celebrity and brand he expects less privacy than most and was only somewhat concerned about his .09.

I on the other hand have a 10.0 Facebook privacy score – which also coincidentally confirms I am not a celebrity – so he and I occupy opposite ends of the privacy continuum.

He also knows I think Facebook is a waste my attention and keystrokes.

Today he surprised me with his “case” for marketing on Facebook.

My friend stages seminars across the U.S. and Costa Rica and sells his products online.

He has lots of Facebook “friends” and uses Facebook primarily as a channel for staying connected to his customers.

He then floored me when he said he has gotten new business as a result of the time he has spent connecting with customers i.e., “marketing” on Facebook.

No way!

Yes way – he insiststed!

I asked how.

He cited two examples –

1). Three previous prospects contacted through other media channels converted into buyers after “friending” him and his then friending them back.

2). Fourteen new seminar attendees became buyers as a result of being friends of his existing friends (customers / buyers).

Are you kidding me?

While he didn’t have hard data supporting his claims, he was personally convinced the sales resulted in the manner he outlined.

His case then for using Facebook as a channel for maintaining relationships with customers began to sound pretty compelling.

I was somewhat taken back.

How could Facebook actually produce new customers?

After further investigation and discussion, I concluded Facebook Fan pages or Facebook sites set up to cultivate and maintain business relationships on behalf of personalities and brands like my friend who provide valuable noteworthy experiences can produce new buyers because Facebook users who are satisfied with a particular brand who in turn post about the good times they had with the product or service can capture, communicate and convey the consumer’s unique experience and perception of the brand.

This type of experience and perspective is generally considered more trustworthy than that of the brand’s marketing and advertising messaging which tells consumers what they should think experiences with the brand will be like.

Isn’t the implicit message of a trusted friend more valuable than almost any brand’s explicit message?

In my friend’s case, he provides an experience his buyers often want to share with their friends -and they do en masse- which in turn results in positive word of mouth being generated and spread to friends of their friends and their network of friends.

Voila!

Thus the friend’s message becomes an implicit endorsement which can then travel freely across the social network as far as the network decides is appropriate.

Although I am still not convinced Facebook’s power as a direct response channel will ever rival Google’s, I can now see how Facebook’s potential as a “brand experience channel’ may find traction with marketers provided they don’t abuse their friends and fan’s trust in the process.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: