Facebook marketing: An afterthought or a strategic push?

Digital media experts highlight elements like a clear brief, suggested posts & conversations for FB mktg. Are Indian brands are getting it right?

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Published: Jun 11, 2013 7:57 PM  | 4 min read
Facebook marketing: An afterthought or a strategic push?

When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004, the sole purpose was to bring together likeminded individuals in a closed personal network in the virtual world. Little did Zuckerberg know that brands would use Facebook to create extensive impressions and promotional activities never seen before in the World Wide Web.

But are Indian marketers getting their Facebook marketing strategies right? exchange4media decodes the various marketing elements of the social networking site to understand if Indian brands are giving their communication strategies a push in the right direction in the world of likes.

Does Facebook marketing brief exist?
A promotional idea comes into existence only when it has a strong base, and this base comes into the picture only when agencies are given a clear brief. However, many Indian marketers are still a confused lot while formulating a brief for their digital media partners.

Agreeing with this, Prashanth Challapalli, Business Head, Jack in the Box remarked that he is yet to see a Facebook marketing brief. He believes that most of the time, there are no written briefs. This is something that has to be addressed as a priority. “Facebook, and indeed the online space, has been an afterthought for most brands so far, but that is rapidly changing since clients are now looking at business impact beyond engagement alone. This will make it a more serious and considered medium for brands and hence, the focus on written briefs against which the work presented will be measured will increase,” Challapalli remarked.

On the other hand, Anil K Nair, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, Digital Law & Kenneth observed, “The brief that brands give today are mostly about adding fans to either the brand page or a particular campaign page, but the real deal is if one can work towards building a long-term community around the brand while doing short-term campaigns.”

Are suggested posts working right for brands?
Many digital experts believe that suggested posts by Facebook have worked well for brands. In fact, some believe that they have benefited brands better that stamp advertisements of Facebook. This is mainly because of Facebook’s ability to micro target, due to which the advertisements end up being quite relevant to the target group, besides increasing the chance of getting more clicks.

“I think if the message and medium is right, promoted posts and advertisements through direct messaging will work. However, if the message is extremely brand-oriented, or if a print ad is simply adopted on the Facebook medium, it may not do well. The message needs to be content-intensive. At the core of it all, consumers are on social media to consume content. So, as long as the brand’s promoted posts and ads tap into what the consumer is consuming, direct messaging will work,” remarked Harshil Karia, Co-founder & Online Strategist, FoxyMoron.

Commenting on this, Challapalli said, “On the brands that we are working on, promoted posts are actually more successful than plain vanilla stamp ads. We are seeing far more virality of the post, plus increase in the fan base when we do promoted posts. This is not to say that stamp ads are not working. Our belief is that stamp advertisements work best when you actually have something interesting to say rather than just asking people to like your page.”

How are Facebook conversations working for brands?
With new media communication channels bringing the world closer, the very meaning of ‘a conversation’ has changed. Conversations happen over posts, tweets and videos. Brands have also changed their marketing approach with this new media style of conversations.

A major point that brands need to keep in mind on Facebook is the tonality of the conversations. “The tenor and tempo have to be friendly, witty, conversational and value adding. It cannot be preachy, talking down to the consumer or seen as a brand plug in any way. Also, all consumers expect from brands is freshness, some humour and chutzpah. Consumers also like brands that make an effort to consistently add value to their lives,” believes Nair.

Brands today are willing to listen and are ready to be responsive. With the creation of big online communities, brands cannot afford to remain silent or merely react to their fan base. Facebook conversations have helped brands to not only know what consumers what from them, but also helped understand their consumers’ behaviour in the virtual space.

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