August 8, 2008

Marketing Via Facebook

Filed under: Digital Distribution, Marketing Tactics — Robert John Ed @ 1:37 pm

I’ve seen a lot of people use Facebook for marketing.  A lot of people hoping that somehow the social network will be the answer to increasing revenues, attendance, bottom line profitability.  It’s a good thing to do, certainly, but most marketers who are doing it as a grassroots effort are going to hit some very serious walls very quickly.  There are a lot of reasons to use Facebook as a marketing tool, and quite a few more why it isn’t the answer to your revenue prayers.

The number one reason for use, without a doubt, is that it doesn’t cost anything, other than time and effort.  Those of us with dwindling budgets can get a small amount of groundswell initially. The number two is that it’s viral. It allows for viewing other people easily and what they do.  Unfortunately, the site doesn’t seem to “go” viral with the groups/efforts I’ve seen.  Now, this is all under the assumption that you have a low budget.  Truthfully, I’ve never worked with a large one, there are most certainly other ways to get a bigger involvement in the site; but unfortunately click through rates for social sites, especially FB, are abysmal (old but still true).  So you had better have a strong CTA.  People aren’t ad friendly on sites like that.  I still don’t see people getting excited about the marketing on FB, big budget or not.

So marketers make fan pages, groups and any other consortium effort for people to latch on to.  Is there value here?  Barack Obama has 1,290,xxx supporters, McCain has 32,xxx!  Big discrepency, but it probably is reflective of the demographic representation.  That might sound like a great deal, but there are an estimated 80 million users.  Which puts Obama at less significantly less than 2% of the site users, and that’s during his most heavily marketed era.  Not exactly riveting numbers.  It could jump a bit in the next few months, but won’t after the election.  So what does that mean?  It means that users aren’t necessarily joining groups or efforts through the site.  Building a movement through Facebook seems pretty tough.

That’s big.  Here’s small.  Local businesses make a page.  The builder of that page usually friends their personal account and then invites their friends to their business page.  Only natural and not a bad idea.  The problem is that there’s now hook to drive actual business.  Sure there will be a promotion or two for the site but at a certain point the rubber hits the road without a lot of traction.  There are a lot of so called “New Media” marketers who truly believe it is the new age.  I don’t.  FB is a website, and unless you are running ecommerce, it would be pretty tough to get a valid ROI.  And I loves me some ROI.

What to do:  Well I’m not advocating abandoning Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Orkut, Twitter, etc.  In fact, I still think that Twitter is a really amazing tool that could be applied as CRM function of most service oriented companies and some product oriented companies.  Yet, there is a big need for refinement of social sites and marketing.  It’s not here yet, but it’s getting better.  If you look at what companies were doing on Myspace a few years ago, things are getting much better.  It’s easy to sit here and be a contrarian on these situations, but honestly, it is simply in too much a formative stage to have real answers.  Lots of questions though.

One thing I will say is that those marketers using Facebook and other sites now, one way or another, are ahead of the curve.  When the progress does escalate, they’ll have the table stakes necessary for increasing effectiveness.  Until then we are going to have to stay tongue in cheek about dumping a lot of money into these things.  We’ll see where this all goes.



  1. hey bob, not sure if you saw this before or not

    Comment by grahamandkellsey — August 12, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

  2. I can’t change my name from graham and kellsey now? jeeze, she better start writing some marketing articles!

    Comment by grahamandkellsey — August 12, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

  3. Thanks Grahambo, I’ll take a look soon.

    Comment by Robert John Ed — August 13, 2008 @ 3:29 am

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