Ever experienced those times where you feel like you don’t know how to really make the most of a channel, but everything you read from the “experts” just tells you what you already know?
I’m having that experience right now, and it is driving me crazy. The problem is Facebook. And the real problem is that for me as a user, most brand pages just don’t resonate. I like them because I actually want to hear from the brand (and in some cases it’s competitive research), and then I unlike them because I’m tired of having my personal newsfeed that I use for entertainment and keeping up with my “in real life” friends cluttered with marketing messages and low quality content begging to be ‘liked’.
I’ve been thinking about some of the philosophy behind Facebook and transparency outlined in David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect to help me find the solution to using this channel better. Fundamentally, the race for fans, likes, and the lot, is not the actual answer. And there are many companies measuring all sorts of things – comments to fans, likes to fans, and other engagement ratios. All this is good and well, but I still think we’re all missing something.
The skeptic within me thinks that this can’t work for brands because it is a tool by Facebook to benefit Facebook. But there are some (a few) who swear by the channel. Today, 247wallst.com reported on some of the most successful. Most people I know admit that building fans doesn’t translate as efficiently into sales as other channels.
This was reinforced for me a couple of weeks ago at the Online Retailer Conference in Sydney. Many people were talking about f-commerce, and one exhibitor would even take a fairly high payment for setting up a page for their customers. But the nail in the coffin came when Jon Kamaluddin from Asos was asked how important Facebook was as a channel and his response was simply “I wouldn’t rush to do it”.
However, Facebook is an important part of many of our lives, like it or not. So there must be a way to take advantage of this commercially in an unobtrusive way. After all, Advertising in the digital world continues to evolve becoming ever more integrated with a user experience so that soon we’re learning about products and services we want when we want them. I know I still want to know about what new products are out there in a range of categories. I just find it really difficult to get good information about where to find them. Surely there must be a good way to use Facebook for this. Or isn’t there?
If you have a good example of Facebook being used to promote a brand, please share it in the comments.
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