How to best use Facebook: Social Media Club 8 March 2011

Visualizing Friendships infographic by Paul Butler

The evening began with a video, then an infographic. The speaker, Facebook evangelist Paul Borrud awarded generous prizes to reinforce the stats:

  • 62% of users log in everyday
  • Average usage is 27 visits per user per month
  • 3 billion photos are uploaded per month globally

Then a history lesson:

  • The 90s web was organised around browsing
  • The 00s was the decade of search
  • The 10s sees the web organising around people, and industries organising around people, and shopping organising around people, and news and so on

This is all familiar stuff for anyone who has been following Google versus Facebook analysis. So perhaps the pitch of the night really was spend your ad dollars here, with us, not there, with them.

The evening was a sales pitch delivered to a room of mostly marketers who already know the proposition:

  • Marketing is a mix of paid (print, TV), owned (web, store front) and earned (PR, word of mouth).
  • Facebook lets you create earned at an unprecedented rate
  • Scale marketing efforts with the social graph
  • The targeted ads are deliberately simple
  • The algorithms display those friends closest to you (e.g. with “like” endorsement pages)

Social hooks: Running Facebook campaigns

I’m pretty sure everyone has clients that its almost impossible to sell a Facebook campaign too. Everyone in the large room needed to give up their seats for those for whom the social web has passed them by so they could hear the social web mantra that Facebook is not a traditional micro-site (30% of content is created by brands; 70% of content is created by users). Some choice quotes from the evening:

“You don’t have to respond to everything”

“Listen without fear. Have big ears”

These points were illustrated with a number of case studies: Toyota’s Erica’s Surprise, Old Spice, Vitamin Water. The most interesting case studies were from Chase Bank and Nike.

Chase Bank social product design and community giving

An example of product design through social networks, Chase asked US college students what they wanted from a credit card. Students wanted something that looked exclusive (black plastic) but offered a way to leverage modest points. This resulted in “karma” points that could be pooled together and shared with friends.

Students did of course pool their points together for collective reward and to help each other out. There were also 9 million recommendations to donate to charity. The product was iterated as a result to make it even easier to be philanthropic with reward points. Chase gave 5 million dollars to 200 local charities nominated by Fans as a result.

Nike World Cup Facebook campaign

The Nike World Cup campaign demonstrated that Facebook is the new terrain for guerrilla marketing. Adidas had the official sponsor status, and Nike went to Facebook advertising simultaneously across 24 countries over 1 day and became the unofficial official sponsor or sports brand of the event as a result.

New Facebook product announcements: engagement ads

Joining the Facebook product suite of like ads, video ads, polling ads and sampling ads will be:

  • Sponsored stories – “a new product to drive word of mouth at scale”; and
  • Deals  – Facebook leveraging Places for Groupon style group purchasing with more of a  flash mob feel i.e. check in and score a deal.

There were no details as to how “Sponsored Stories” would actually function. Deals seems pretty self evident. H&M, Starbucks and The Gap have trialled it and the product will launch soon in Australia.


Paul Borrud threaded authenticity as a theme for the evening. He noted that the days of kooky email addresses are gone and that:

“Its pretty unimaginable to not put your real ID online.”

Before there was no driver to update personal information, but the web has moved from the anonymous web to the authentic web. This is all true of course, but it is also priming businesses for the chaos that is social networks and a more important message that if they want to play in the space, they can’t hope to control it. The theme of authenticity went only so far though. Of course there was no discussion of vanity status updates, or other more unpleasant social phenomena on Facebook and the audience question of why there was no Dislike button was managed rather clumsily. But this is Social Media Club, not a sociology class. So on that note I will leave you with the video that began the evening.

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