Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Does Facebook Work?

The headline screams, “Two Out of Three Marketers Doubt Facebook Ad Effectiveness.”
According to a blog by Eric Sass in MediaPoint, “Marketers think Facebook is an important platform, but they also doubt the effectiveness of the efforts on the world’s largest social network.” Sass quotes from a survey by Social Media Examiner.
The report says 87% of marketers believe their top priority is figuring out how to measure ROI (Return on Investment) for social media, yet 97% of these marketing pros said that participating in social media marketing is important for their business.
We are back to the quote from John Wannamaker, the famous department store magnate from the early 20th century. Wannamaker famously said, “Half of my advertising doesn’t work, I just don’t know which half.”
Only this is worse! 97% are participating in social media because they say it’s important, but 87% are trying to figure out how to measure its value.
Confused yet? Me too.
If you are a marketer in the commercial world, that means you are attempting to sell a product or service. If your paradigm is advertising as it has been practiced for the last 80+ years, you pay for advertising, which brings in sales. Then you quantify the sales revenue against the advertising expenditure. Pretty simple.
But Facebook, and by extension all other social media, is not advertising media in the traditional sense. So attempting to quantify a new thing against old metrics is probably a fool’s errand.
The dynamics of social media are not particularly fertile soil for traditional marketing, yet that’s what most marketers tend to do. I am scrolling through my Facebook updates from friends and family and suddenly there is Blackberry. I don’t remember friending Blackberry. I don’t know anyone at Blackberry, and it certainly seems out of place between pictures of my friends’ children’s weddings or outings. Yet, there it is.
Blackberry isn’t the only one. But worse, I don’t know that I have ever actually read one of these ads on Facebook. Just the wrong context to think about a cellphone or any other product…unless… it is related to something one of my friends just mentioned. Then the ad better be the next thing I look at . . . and even then, it might not get much attention from me if it’s too obviously sales-y. Why? Because it’s obvious I am being sold.
Have you noticed the shift in our thinking as we have been empowered by the Internet? Information Good… Selling Bad.
This leads me back to your nonprofit organization getting noticed on Facebook. First of all, charities aren’t selling anything, but they are sharing their mission. Still, placing a post on Facebook??? Out of context still looks like selling.
But…having social friends and family talk about your organization or your mission or upcoming event…that’s different. It is in context and the messengers are your passionate advocates.
I’ve said this many times: I don’t know how commercial marketers can make social media work in an ROI for them. I’m not saying it never will, I just don’t see it the way it is practiced today.
But for nonprofit organizations using passionate supporters to carry the message…hello?? This is one dynamic vehicle to spread your message and reputation, but are you set up to do that with your passionate supporters? And who are your passionate supporters? Does this idea even work within the context of how you think about marketing and fundraising today in your organization? I’m guessing probably not. The Internet and social media are new things. The old rules of advertising don’t apply to this new thing.
You probably need a new strategy built for this new media and new online world.
Join us.
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