facebook – does it measure up for brand building?

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.

(image: flickr)

14 thoughts on “facebook – does it measure up for brand building?

  1. I’ve long warned clients about focusing too much on Facebook and the risks of digital sharecropping. That said, I find myself finally warmkng uo to Facebook again due to the engaging fan page audience we’ve developed at Social Prize. We’ve had fans recommend our platform without even being asked to do so. I’d say that engagement can often be as powerful as incentives when you’re consistent with it. Sadly, not only does Timeline limit visibility but now Facebook is limiting fan pages by forcing ads and promotions to reach your already-established audience. This definitely changes the game quite a bit…

    • Thanks for weighing in Yomar, I agree and say it all the time, you got to be there! However, consider your venture wisely and make the best of what is usually a tight budget with SMB’s. Considering that Facebook made their gateway free and original was focused on personal engagement, I have no qualms with the hurdles they are imposing. That is simply business!

  2. It will be interesting to see how accepting people will be about changes as facebook tries to find avenues to create revenue that wil make it attractive to investors. Business professionals are already feeling unhappy with the changes that are limiting their access to an established follower fanbase. It will be interesting to see how more change people will tolerate.

    • Thank you Terree for your thoughts. I agree I do hear the same concern but must state again, the access to FB’s fan base is “free,” what business who is complaining would have that as model as their strategy?

  3. Our clients are a very narrow niche (national associations) and Facebook is a much broader channel. That makes it a bit tough to come up with a compelling strategy. We’re still wrestling with it.

  4. I enjoyed the read, Randy. I do not (for my own company) see FB as a way to make money or even get big clients. Rather, Facebook lets me ‘showcase’ my engagement skills and lets me show off my social media knowledge. It’s just another (fun!) platform to drive traffic to my website where I showcase more of my work, my clients and make my sale. IF Facebook were to disappear tomorrow, I’d still have a job… For my clients ROI is very important, but Facebook ROI is hard to measure. I always include Facebook in the overall strategy and ROI measuring. Facebook is not a strategy on its own, does that make sense?

    • Certainly it makes sense and captures what the article states Dorien. Like the linked post, you got to be there, it helps but do not look at the traditional ROI model! The impressions count!!!

  5. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about,
    why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your
    blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

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