Social Media: The Old Frontier | Part 1 - Facebook

Last year when I was consulting, I was constantly asked by every client about Social Media. "We need to get better at social." "Your 8 month rebrand and communication strategy looks great but what are we going to do about Twitter?" "We should instagram that right?" These were comments that I constantly dealt with on a continual basis. 

Far too often, small brands observe what bigger brands are doing and then look at their small staff & budgets and expect the same results. Ad Age and MediaPost pepper subscribers each day with ads of the day and best social execution of the week but what seldom few understand is the fundamental difference between Social Media, Community Management and Social Engagement. 

Before I continue, let's get a couple things straight. 

1. There is no such thing as a Social Media Expert. If you see that title in someone's Linked In profile or Twitter Handle you can instantly discredit them. 

2. If properly strategized and executed, Social Media should NOT be considered a direct revenue building platform and, as a result, should not have associated ROI built into it.

3. This Girl (Below)Yes she actually messaged a page that I used to manage. 

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Facebook used to be the king of engagement and now they are the King of retargeting. Facebook isn't going away y'all. Admit that despite the fact that you may not wall post, photo upload or poke that often anymore, you still browse and Like everyone else's stuff once in a while. BUT what that means for brands is that most feel forced to fight for impressions. 

Below is a sponsored post by BONOBOS. I saw this photo at least 50 times in the span of three weeks always at the top of my news feed. At 300,000 LIKES and for that much frequency, I can pretty much assume that BONOBOS paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 - $2,000 for this one post. (now also imagine how many brands there are on Facebook doing the same thing and you'll understand why Facebook is a billion dollar company). 

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Here's the problem with this strategy: 

1st Impression: Oh cool. That's a good photo. It's 50 degrees outside though. 

2nd Impression: Oh look. There's those bathing suits again.

3rd Impression: I get it. You have bathing suits. 

4th Impression: For the love of God, why am I still seeing these bathing suits? 

Now there is DEFINITELY a "stop seeing this advertisement" feature on Facebook. Herein lies the problem: If the only click you are generating is to have someone stop getting fed an ad, then your long term strategy is flawed.

Here's why this strategy may work (for Bonobos):

1. Bonobos' brand strategy is targeted to casual customers who are fed a lifestyle that is clouded with being perceived as fashion. Bonobos is not a fashion brand. They are a retail brand that is trying to convince potential customers otherwise. At the end of the day it's chinos, polos and shirts. Because their price point is friendly, they deem it justified to have an aggressive social strategy. 

2. They are 100% online. If your brand's current revenue is more wholesale or in-store based, then social is not going put a dent in your numbers. Liking a photo does not equal an intent to purchase. However, having an immediate call to action to a direct selling point, you will increase your ability to capture sales immediately.

Here's why this strategy probably won't work: 

1. People want sales. The ability to convince a person to click off of their social feed directly to a shopping cart needs to come coupled in with a promotion. Facebook has a neat little OFFER feature that most brands don't take advantage of. It's not intrusive and it directly allows you to communicate the sale and the customer gets a nice little email sent to their inbox with the coupon code or coupon to print off. More importantly, the customer will be able to continue browsing. 

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Final Takeaways

  • Facebook should be used to just instill a small "moment of happiness" for your likers, fans and customers. Coca Cola (the largest facebook fan page) did a comprehensive study on social engagement. Their results: " buzz had no quantifiable impact on short-term sales...." BOOM. That "moment of happiness" can be a photo, video, quote, whatever, but as a brand or community manager, you need to stop putting ROI and effectiveness measured against, LIKES, SHARES and COMMENTS. Just keep your brand effectively and strategically in your LIKERS minds. 

  • If your product offering has an average price point above $300, realize a majority of your fans/likers/customers are going to be persons who strive to be able to afford your products but likely won't for a while. It's then your job to continue to "sell the brand and lifestyle". 

Any thoughts on this? There's a comments section below or you can email me at