Lest there be any doubt, Facebook is still the number one social media platform for both B2C and B2B marketers. According to the comprehensive 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report put out by Social Media Examiner, 86% of B2B and 96% of B2C marketers use Facebook as a marketing tool for their business. If Facebook is the dominant player in social marketing, I'm assuming that most of you would have an interest in learning about a killer formula for Facebook marketing success.
As my mother used to say, if you want to know something, go straight to the source. This worked well for me when I was trying to figure out Google's SEO best practices in the wake of the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes. I actually Googled "Google SEO Best Practices," and lo and behold, right atop page one of my search results (imagine that) was the "Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Google's SEO starter guide."
True to its name, it had everything I needed to clearly understand how to optimize my content for Google search. Fancy that.
It is with the same open spirit that I approached a new white paper jointly published by Facebook and comscore entitled "The Power of Like (2), How Social Marketing Works." The study has provoked a lot of controversy since its issuance last week, with some in the blogosphere citing the paper's data as proof that Facebook's ad model works, and others accusing the social network of skewing the same data to bolster its flagging stock.
I'm not interested in over-analyzing the data. The fact that the study is partially self-promotional on the part of Facebook (usually the case when a brand publishes a marketing study using its own numbers) should not surprise. What I am interested in, however, is the three step approach the study highlights as the key to Facebook marketing success.
The paper asserts that brands can maximize their Facebook marketing impact by moving beyond mere fan acquisition to delivering reach, impact, and measurable marketing ROI. Using their Facebook brand page as their social "home base," companies should focus on three objectives:
- Fan Reach-Exposure in the News Feed
- Engagement-Fans interacting with Brand Page marketing content
- Amplification- Expanding reach by promoting content to Friends of Fans through both earned and paid means
This looks a lot like a Facebook-centric version of the inbound marketing cycle.
When describing this process, Facebook outlines a well-orchestrated social marketing strategy, placing itself in the role of conductor:
"Facebook represents a unique marketing channel that enables Paid, Earned and Owned Media to be leveraged to create a virtuous cycle of brand impact. Brands use display ads and other paid media (Paid) to attract Fans to the Brand Page (Owned), which serves as a platform for marketing communications that reach Fans and Friends of Fans (Earned) in the News Feed and other sections of the website. These communications can then be supplemented through paid display campaigns, such as Sponsored Stories and Promoted Page Posts, to maximize reach and brand resonance (Paid)."
For anyone looking for clarification of Facebook's monetization strategy, there it is, in six tidy lines of print. Given that half of its engaged users access Facebook via mobile devices, tablet and mobile advertising will play an important role in this strategy; however, expect them to be integrated within it, much as various melodies are woven into an overarching orchestral score.
Most brands and marketers are happy to stay in tune with Facebook as long as the social platform can deliver tangible ROI.
Infographic courtesy of comScore