Facebook’s Two-Way Conversations

Discussion
May 21, 2012

While Facebook certainly found its share of critics on its way to its whopping $104 billion valuation in its IPO last week, Fred Leach, who heads up the social network’s Partner Measurement Group, vows that brands shouldn’t doubt its marketing reach.

"We have lots of evidence that shows that people really want brands in their lives and they use brands to describe themselves," Mr. Leach told Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research’s blog. "So, we see people connecting to lots and lots of pages on Facebook every single day. It’s about 100 million people connecting to a page on a given day."

Mr. Leach, who will be speaking along with Mr. Rubinson at the IIR Audience Measurement Event in Chicago May 21-23, also noted that with 2.5 million branded websites integrating with Facebook, "users are really connecting with lots of different things and they really want a rich social world. Brands are part of that rich social world. That suggests that, over time, marketers are getting more and more sophisticated at leveraging all the ways in which they can connect their marketing efforts and goals to their Facebook presence."

Regarding brands, he noted that that marketers, initially looking to build their "like" counts, are looking at fresh ways to engage and influence their fan base. Where standard consumer outreaches used to be one-to-many conversations, brands are having conversations via social media "with people who really like them" and learning from those conversations.

Mr. Leach elaborated, "So, they are doing things differently based on those conversations and taking marketing in a different direction or creating a new product based on input from fans. So, we are really seeing — whereas it used to be that it was just about counting likes and getting people connected – marketers are really evolving into having more of that two-way dialogue with their customers."

He did note, however, that which messages work better varies by brand.

"There are a couple of things that definitely work," said Mr. Leach. "One is really nice, rich photos – to have the ability to display beautiful photos on Facebook. We see that users generally like cool photography or great images from brands. And they like videos, as well. The other thing is back to what I mentioned earlier about brands finding their voice and talking not just about themselves, but about topics in which they have credibility. We see that posts that are centered around things that a brand is credible on get more people to share them. They tend to have more of that viral reach."

Discussion Questions: Are you more or less optimistic today about the potential of retailers and brands to connect with consumers through Facebook than in the past? Why?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

19 Comments on "Facebook’s Two-Way Conversations"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Building “likes” does not generate sales. In fact, research has shown that most consumers who “like” a brand of Facebook do not return to that brand’s page.

Retailers and brands need to turn their pages into hubs of consumer interaction and promotion. Part of the interaction can be dialogue with consumers, answering questions, providing information and creating a forum for peer-to-peer discussion. Promotions and value-added offers bring consumers back to brand pages.

Pictures and videos may catch the eye initially, but they need to be supplemented with marketing and promotional tactics to keep consumers coming back.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

The use of social media to bring about awareness and interest in product and services has brought about some interesting results. Such as General Motors deciding to part from Facebook while Ford Motors claims success and perhaps expansion in the same arena. This seems similar to a fisherman blaming the bait or even worse the fish for the failure to produce results. In the IT vocabulary this is often called a “cockpit error.”

It is very important that the companies having difficulties introducing themselves to the world through present and future IT devices and media find out how to succeed. Failure will force the cost of goods sold through the roof simply by the weight and reach of using yesterday’s sales and marketing tools.

HINT: There are a lot of highly educated, well practiced and recent graduates that know how to use today’s marketing media to talk to just about everyone. They can be found knocking at most of your doors looking for an opportunity.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
9 years 11 months ago

It seems like I answered this question in the first subject. There is a growing sales impact in the social media world. Today’s college graduates — and many dropouts too — know how to influence customers conversations across a range of platforms in real time. Those conversations on Facebook and other digital mediums are direct connections with consumers and they project the change-up needed within retailing and brands to strengthen the bench and drive more wins to the top line.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
9 years 11 months ago
I’ve never doubted the power of Facebook to connect brands and consumers. The problem is that the market looks for a direct and immediate correlation between consumer interactions in the social space and sales — a standard not even television is held to. The marketing profession is coming from an era where a few commercials in prime time bought you a massive audience. That doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no media fire hose to hit consumers with anymore. Apart from the odd viral brand uprising, we are back to a point where brands have to earn respect and loyalty through a slow and steady building of credibility and trust – a terrifying prospect for old-school marketers, who still want to buy consumer attention without deserving it. I’ve said it for years… Facebook cannot turn an average brand into something remarkable. It can’t make a washed up brand cool again. If your brand sucks off-line, it will only suck louder on Facebook. Something GM might want to consider. The bottom line is, if your brand is awesome,… Read more »
Paula Rosenblum
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Well, the question always comes back to “How do you measure success of the connection?” If you’re going to measure it on conversion rates, it will fail. People don’t need to buy on Facebook, it’s just as easy to open another window and buy on the “regular” web site.

But Facebook certainly does give brands the opportunity to CONNECT with consumers, start to understand their preferences better, and adjust strategies in a feedback loop.

I have no idea what Facbook’s valuation “should” be, and I know its mobile strategy needs work, but overall, retailers can get to know shoppers on the site, and that’s a plus.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

I really don’t know how this value can be measured. Sure, people refer people to favorites. But that doesn’t translate to measurable business.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
9 years 11 months ago

Well, brands and retailers have to go where the people are, and clearly they are all on Facebook. The real question is, how do you get them to pay attention to you without it feeling like you’re intruding into their lives? I don’t think brands have truly figured that out yet — but I am confident that someone will.

Roger Saunders
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Social Media is here to stay for a good, long run. There will likely be a number of different networks that will continue to spring up to capture the eyeballs, and thus influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Traditional, digital, and added “new” media forms will both evolve and morph toward success, if they are focused on the consumer. If they do, retailers and brands will have to have social media in a well-run integrated media plan.

Ben Ball
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

I do not doubt the influence of social media on marketing in general and brands in specific. But I think Facebook in particular runs the risk of becoming the digital equivalent of network TV. That’s got to be bad when you live in a world with literally millions of “cable channels.”

Anyone remember when you used to use AOL for your browser?

Anyone still use it?

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
9 years 11 months ago
The whole “Facebook Phenomena” confuses the heck out of me. The Facebook advocates envision it becoming “Internet 3.0.” Instead of using your browser to search the Internet, you will simply log on to your Facebook account to be automatically connected with your friends, the brands you buy, the organizations you belong to (schools, clubs, etc.) and news clippings that have been selected for you. But Facebook is a little like an iceberg. The flashy user interface is the little piece that sticks above the water. Below the water there is a huge infrastructure that is tracking your every move from the time you log in until you log out. We’ve heard that Google has saved all the searches that have been requested since they started but the thought that Facebook is following all our activity seems more intrusive. It wasn’t until this year that Google began connecting search activity with all their other identity data. Now both Facebook and Google are getting to the point where they can target individuals. I am sure people would… Read more »
Lee Kent
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

A consumer is willing to ‘Like’ any brand that will pop up a coupon or promotion occasionally. It does not mean they are loyal and certainly does not mean they will be buying off of Facebook. Retailers need to find out what their customers want from them; how their customers want to see and hear them and then give it right back. Cake! 🙂

Doug Garnett
Guest
Doug Garnett
9 years 11 months ago

The data I read and the experiences I hear contradict this idea. After serious thought, I’ve concluded Facebook reaches a very small (less than 10%?) portion of any retailer’s or manufacturer audience.

It’s important to leverage this audience if you can. It’s also important to allocate no more resources than the niche deserves. This means watching out for the black hole that social can become — absorbing ever bigger portion of resources needed to reach the far larger portion of your audience.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

More or less? Neither: zero then, zero now. Or to be more precise, I think to the corporate world, a Facebook page will become the equivalent of having a phone number 30 years ago, something that everyone has, but by its ubiquity it has no differentiating value.

Kai Clarke
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

“Lies, damn lies and statistics…” was the quote from Mark Twain which rapidly comes to mind. Marketing is difficult enough with many of the proven measurement tools already in-place, without having to determine (and place) value upon an unproven media like social networking. The “who” and “how much” is difficult to determine (at best) let alone draw a firm conclusion from to match a cause and affect relationship to marketing spend. In all, I continue to be less optimistic about the true impact of social networking on product marketing and placement.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Social media will prevail for years to come. Whether it’s Facebook or some other channel that emerges, remains to be seen. Remember, only a few years ago MySpace had more subscribers than the 10th largest country has population.

GM didn’t cut their advertising on FB for no reason, though.

Mark Burr
Guest
9 years 11 months ago
Along with many, I don’t know that I am sure what to think. It is really hard to put a value on something that can’t be measured. Nevertheless, many did on the IPO of Facebook last week. Apparently, that is truly yesterday’s news as it is sinking in value today by nearly 15%. In the same week as the IPO, GM walked away from FB claiming it had no value in selling more cars. Also, they walked away from Super Bowl advertising for the coming season. Ford announced they had good results with FB. Really? What are or where are the numbers? Or, is it really that GM is cutting as a result of declining sales and attempts it needs to make to get out from under Government loans and their “Government Motors” image. They are currently experiencing sales declines in the Cadillac brand that was expected to be a strong point. Overall, their sales are around 1978 levels. Their FB decision may be altogether about something else and not about social media. Clearly, so… Read more »
Phil Rubin
Guest
Phil Rubin
9 years 11 months ago
While many people are worn out from the media-frenzied Facebook IPO, and some even wearing out from Facebook itself, there’s still reason for optimism in terms of Facebook’s potential for connecting brands and customers. Whether its stock is worth $36 a share is another discussion, but consider these three views: 1. Consumers are on Facebook. The data are overwhelming in terms of the role of Facebook in consumer’s online “lives.” The question is which (not just whether) consumers want to interact with brands and the degree to which they will engage in Facebook as a platform for brand relationships. With 900 million consumers, if you focus on the right ones for your brand, there is plenty of opportunity here in terms of sheer number of customers. 2. Brands’ strategy on Facebook. This is a function of how well marketers are developing and pursuing not just social but also fully integrated CRM strategies, as part of their overall marketing and business strategy. This again is a question of selectivity, as some brands (too few in our… Read more »
Eliott Olson
Guest
Eliott Olson
9 years 11 months ago

If I want to communicate with one company I use email or go to their web site not Facebook which is more like using a party line. As for hearing from somebody on Facebook there seems to be about 5% of my “friends” who want to tell the world what they are doing @ numerous times during the day. This gets annoying and time consuming, If I unfriend them I have problems so I just ignore Facebook most of the time and only get bothered by Facebook’s email telling me that I am missing announcements. The more fiends I get the more of a time waste Facebook becomes and the more I think of dropping out.

When one has a marketing program on Facebook whether it is institutional or direct response oriented one should note the cost of maintaining and monitoring a public site that may not have a large following.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
9 years 11 months ago

The potential for retailers and brands to connect with consumers through FB will continue to improve. FB has 900 million members and growing every day. Manufacturers can now purchase software that tracks social media chatter and truly target market their customers. As business intelligence continues to get smarter, companies will be able to save money on advertising by pin-pointing people to target and narrowing in on issues that need immediate attention.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Are you more or less optimistic about the potential for brands to reach consumers through Facebook than you were a year ago?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...