Branding and marketing via social media can clearly be labeled the modern rage among businesses, large and small. However, its effectiveness in bringing in paying customers is still up in the air. Right before Facebook as a company issued its public stock this year, General Motors decided to withdraw its advertising campaign on the website’s system, noting it didn’t provide the results the company desired.
Facebook made things even more complicated when it forced its new format, the Timeline, across all accounts. In a bid to allow readers and users to see all the flowing content a Facebook user posted, Facebook created a chronological timeline system that can be easily searched by a reader. However, it also changed the dynamic of how content is fed and seen from companies on their pages.
For creative companies, the timeline format can actually work in their favor for brand equity, especially if they have a group-up story to tell. The timeline system can literally create a storybook feel for a company’s brand if done right. Additionally, the timeline can be edited, allowing far better control on what a viewer sees and shares with other Facebook members.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Those businesses that have already been working with a Facebook social media account will have far more material to manipulate and tailor into the timeline medium. This makes it easier to craft the storybook presentation for the company’s brand.
The problem, however, exists for those who want brand presence as a business objective but don’t want or need to subscribe to the timeline approach. The reasons can vary, including not enough material to work with, a brand new presence, a different marketing direction desired and more. Whichever the case, the lack of content creates an obstacle for a company trying to use Facebook as an effective awareness-building tool.
Pushing Behavior is the Key
Where brand awareness in the early days of Facebook use by companies was about presence and traditional goals of name recognition, today it’s about convincing people to virally take action and drive more attention to a Facebook post, comment, uploaded file, or interaction. That’s a tricky challenge.
People don’t automatically agree to cooperate and take action on the part of a business. They need to be motivated to do so. Sometimes this comes in the form of a discount, a freebie, a loyalty program or some other trade for the effort. Whatever the case, some kind of an incentive needs to be used to coax people into action for a brand. Facebook lends itself to this kind of action with “like” buttons and easy linking to items both in the Facebook world and external. The company’s brand challenge now is to simply motivate the linking to happen exponentially.
Mastering the Challenge
At the end of the day, the big question is whether all the Facebook effort is worthwhile, i.e. does it produce leads and potentially sales? Even if successful at convincing people to act virtually and begin creating awareness to a brand, if it doesn’t translate into revenue at some point then social media tends to be a wasted activity, at least in terms of producing a profit. If a company can afford to entertain information management for the sake of adding to the Internet world, that’s fine. However, most companies have bills to pay.