Social Media: Fans, Friends and Cascading Media

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Facebook is a party. It is not a trip to the mall. Facebook is a doorway to family and friends. We bring our pictures and all kinds of information about us to the party. We share. We play games there, connect to old friends and make new ones. We review our past and we plan our futures on Facebook. It’s fun. According to a recent ExactTarget study, 30% call it their “guilty pleasure” It has become an alternate life, a place to kill time, an escape. It is a place of serendipitous discoveries where we discover things we were not even looking for. It has been called the “default social community” and most of the community says that marketers are not welcome. Period. Yet…here’s the rub, the ultimate tease, according to a Nielson study in 2009, 90% of the Facebook community trusts product recommendations from Friends. We are not allowed in, but, but, if we can get there, then Oh Boy, Look Out. We are on a rocket ship to marketing nirvana.

So, focusing again on ME. When ME goes to Email, Google and LinkedIn, ME takes their wallets. That’s the trip to the mall. ME is going to shop. ME is looking for deals. If ME met and Liked You at the Facebook party, ME might look you up if you gave ME a deal. 58% of Fans expect this according to ExactTarget. Remember, just because ME Liked you at the party, it doesn’t mean you have permission to call ME. If you start constantly calling (marketing to) ME without permission, then ME will drop you. 44% will Unlike you if you post too frequently. The question remains: How do we get ME, that we met at the Facebook party, to Like our company and visit us at the mall and shop with us?

First, be entertaining when you are at the party and every time you call. Remember it’s a party. ME is there for fun. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not ME it’s you. A recent report, “The Power of Like” a collaboration between comScore and Facebook, talks about how social marketing works. It states that accumulating Fans is only the first step. The next step is accumulating Friends of Fans and thus amplifying the marketing message. They talk about Fan Reach, Engagement and Amplification. Once the brand has been seen on Facebook, presumably for this discussion from “paid media” (an ad), it then attempts to Reach its Fans via the News Feed and their Brand Pages. If it is “entertaining” enough, Fans become Engaged and they talk to their Friends about the brand. This is “earned media” and thus we have Amplification. Yes, it’s all about gossip. One Fan talks about the brand to a Friend and that Friend talks to another Friend etc. etc. So, although an initial brand Engagement rate might be just 1%, it is Amplified to a factor of 10 or more. It cascades.

That’s the theory with some supporting data. The author, Andrew Lipsman was reported in Time Business on August 7, 2012 as stating that there was still not enough data and that the process will play itself out over the next couple of years. Right now, it appears that the stock market has decided not to wait. It’s hard to sell products at a party when people only attend for fun.

Of course, the next step in cascading Fans and Friends of Fans into customers is to seek permission for one to one marketing via ME’s favourite digital marketing channel – Email. You, know, the shopping channel. One more step in cascading media.

Next week: We Interrupt Your Life To Bring You This… Just In From Twitter One Minute Ago!


Social Media: The Twilight Zone of Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Check out the introduction to this old TV series, The Twilight Zone. So what do you think? Does this represent marketing’s journey into the world of Social Media? Using the key of imagination unlocking the door to another dimension, one of sound, sight and mind into a land of shadow and substance of things and ideas. Crossing over into The Twilight Zone. Well, If your answer is yes, there are many marketers and financial analysts that would agree with you. The highway behind us is littered with the bodies of those who have tried and failed, but the good news is that some have succeeded. Let’s see why. “The key of imagination unlocking the door to another dimension” or we might say, “Two guys in their parent’s garage fiddling with the internet”.

I like the first version better, but the second speaks to the reality of social media. The other reality is that these social media vehicles rise and fall with amazing speed. Think Digg, Friendster, MySpace and Napster as some of the names from the past. Today we are witnessing the following companies drop in value from their initial public offerings: Zynga down 81%,Groupon down 77%, Facebook down 45%. On July 2, 2012 Microsoft took a $6.1 billion dollar write-off of aQuantive, the online advertising company it purchased in 2007. It has never made money for Microsoft. On the flip side we have Google up 80% and LinkedIn up 130%. Here we are with the “shadow and substance of things and ideas”.

Some good news facts are: Syncapse Social Trac Report states that 28% of fans are loyal users and that
the average fan is 41% more likely to recommend the company. 48% of people aged 18 – 34 check their Facebook when they wake up. The Hubspot March 2012 report on the State of Inbound Marketing states that 65% of companies have acquired B2B customers through LinkedIn and 77% of companies have acquired B2C customers through Facebook. In a 2012 social media study comScore reports that Fans and Friends of Fans spend about 2x as much on average in Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

Who will survive and who will not? Why do some make money and stay in existence while others lose money and eventually disappear and why should you care? The answer to both questions is: ADVERTISING. Some sites do this well and some do not. People on some sites accept advertising and people on some sites do not. You want to be on a site that implements advertising well and that people accept the advertising. In other words, ME accepts YOU.

Reflecting back on our many discussions about ME and you will recall that ME has a firm grip on the channel changer. ME controls the conversation and they are not giving that up. If the relationship falls apart, it’s not ME it’s you.

Here’s a tidbit for you: the July 7, 2012 issue of the Economist magazine quoted a representative of Moonbeam Development (yes, you read that right – two guys in a garage again) that used the company Leadbolt to PUSH ads into people’s mobile notification bars without their consent. They received death threats. How’s that for a tight grip on the control of the conversation for you? That is a world of crazy. So how do you win in this environment? One word: PERMISSION.

As pointed out in our discussion about Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires PERMISSION. It also requires respect, empathy and relevance. Content is king. As Lyris pointed out in their November 2011 report, email and social media are the only two permission based channels. You don’t just barge in with your offer. They are not the “interruption based advertising” of TV and radio. The psychology of this seems not to have hit home with the advertising crowd. In their pursuit of the social media gold rush they see lots of targets (i.e. potential customers) gathering on a site and they deploy the old “push” style advertising that they are used to, the “spray and pray” method of marketing. Successful marketing in the social media world is achieved today through content and cascading media.

Next week: Social Media…Fans, Friends and Cascading Media