Archive for the ‘Social Network’ Category

Facebook: The Brand Experience Channel?

May 18, 2010

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.

Marketing Budget Changes: Where’s Social Media’s ROI?

March 13, 2010

More from eMarketer about Marketing Budget allocation shifts:

…even though marketers are on board with the idea that social is key to their overall strategy, many are sick of hearing about it. In addition to being one of the most important buzzwords, social media was considered the most annoying, with nearly 30% of executives tired of it. Twitter, specifically, got on the nerves of nearly 15% of respondents, and social networking rounded out the top three trends marketers were most tired of hearing about.

Regardless, social spending will increase. A separate survey of US marketing execs by Ad-ology indicated social tactics were the most likely to increase in 2010.

Marketing Budgets

Marketing Budgets

Surely executives growing tired of hearing about social media, social networking and the Twitter brand specifically doesn’t bode well for the nascent space or the Twitter brand’s monetization potential.

How can social media reconcile itself with the fact that marketing executives’ chief concern is Marketing ROI while social media and social networking have yet been able to deliver consistent measurable ROI to marketers?

I wonder how many executives have grown tired of hearing about Google and search engine marketing results?

Naymz?

January 5, 2009

I received an invite today from the “Naymz Reputation Network”.

Naymz Reputation Management

Naymz Reputation Management

If I recall correctly, Naymz was originally a Google Adwords based people search and find service.

It looks like Naymz has now morphed into a Linkedin.com like professional networking service.

I still haven’t figured out how “professionals” cost justify the time required for creating and promoting their social network profile and footprint regardless of which networking service they have chosen.

Before I would invest any significant amount of time building a web based  “social presence”, I would first ask the social media providers how many of their social network users have produced a measurable, consistent, predictable return on their investment – whether in time, money or both – and how often have social network users replicated their results?