Posts Tagged ‘Social Network’

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.

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?