Facebook has become the behemoth in the room. It’s total world domination is just beginning, it seems, so the sooner we all jump on this band wagon the better. Does your company have a Facebook presence? I imagine that yes, you do. We all do. Does it have a custom landing page? Are you using Facebook Places? Have you launched a new brand on Facebook? What can Facebook do for YOU and your brand?! Do a quick check and think about incorporating some of these ideas into your marketing plan for 2011. ’Tis the time for planning new budgets!
1. Facebook Exclusives
Risk-taker brands and agencies are adapting their product release cycles and marketing campaigns to account for the opportunity that Facebook’s platform promises.
Big brand names including Ford and Nike are going so far as to release on Facebook first. In Nike’s case, the athletic wear company opted to debut its three-minute World Cup advertisement on their Facebook Page before they released it anywhere else. The ad then went on to break viral records.
You also probably recall Ford’s ambitious 2011 Ford Explorer Reveal. The car maker decided to forgo the auto show and reveal its new car on the web, with Facebook as the centerpiece of the company’s online reveal strategy.
The campaign proved to be more successful than anticipated. On reveal day, Ford produced the number one trending topic on Twitter in the U.S.; the Explorer was the number two most searched for term on Google; Ford’s YouTube reveal video garnered 11,000 views; more than 50,000 Ford Explorer Facebook “Likes” flooded in; and, perhaps best of all, 25,000 potential car buyers built and priced new Explorers on the company’s website.
Other brands including Vitamin Water and Papa John’s have handed over new product creation to Facebook fans.
Vitamin Water cooked up the “flavor creator lab” and invited Facebook users to dream up a new flavor and label design for the company’s next flavor release. Sarah, a Facebook member from Illinois, won the $5,000 grand prize for her help in bringing Vitamin Water Connect to life.
Papa John’s used Facebook to host the Papa’s Specialty Pizza Challenge. Pizza fans were encouraged to mastermind the chain’s next great specialty pizza recipe using an application custom built for the purpose. Of the more than 12,000 entries, three Facebook finalists were chosen — Blair Dial, Barbara Hyman and Kendra Chapman — and their pizza creations were featured as a part of Papa John’s menu during the month of August.
VEVO is exploring its own Facebook-exclusive opportunities, as well. The service recently launched an original web series, dubbed “ASK:REPLY,” designed to connect Facebook fans to big name artists. VEVO uses its Facebook Page to ask fans what they want to know about a top notch artist. Fans respond, and VEVO posts the artist’s video response.
“One of VEVO’s core strengths is our access to many of the world’s top artists. We’re able to let fans share in that access and peek behind the curtain with concepts like ASK:REPLY. Fans seem to get a huge kick out of watching their favorite artists call out their names and directly answer their questions. Plus, the fans come up with much better interview questions than we do,” says VEVO General Manager, Fred Santarpia.
2. Facebook Places Experimentation
The Facebook Places location product is just weeks old, but because Facebook’s checkin features integrate so tightly with the entire Facebook experience, Facebook Places is a business opportunity in the making.
One early adopter is the Westfield Valley Fair mall. The business is offering a checkin special to its Facebook members who promote their shopping behaviors through Facebook Places. The special in question offers a coupon — powered by Fan Appz — for 15% off at Betsey Johnson in exchange for a checkin. The special may resemble the variety we’ve seen on Foursquare, but it’s still an ingenious effort to turn Facebook fans into offline buyers.
Social marketing software provider Context Optional is exploring how they can serve burgeoning brand interest in Facebook’s location offering.
“Marketers have been struggling with making global brands local. Brands that have been early to the game with Foursquare, Loopt and other location-based services are now realizing that Facebook — with its population of 500 million plus — offers an invaluable marketing opportunity in the form of Places,” explains Context Optional CEO Kevin Barenblat.
To meet demand, the social CRM company released the Facebook Places Check-in Leaderboard application (as seen in action on their Facebook Page). The application is designed to help brands create their own personalized ranking system for their Facebook Place Pages. Once installed, guests who check in will have the chance to claim ownership — a feature obviously inspired by Foursquare’s mayor system. With Context Optional’s leaderboard solution, a brand can then reward top fans, based on checkins, with special deals and offers.
3. Facebook Commerce
Facebook’s brand-friendly Pages are proving to be more than just wall-centric places for fan and brand comments and photos. Businesses of all sizes are finding that they can make their page double as a store front, and in so doing sell their products and goods to window-wall-shopping Facebook users.
Huge corporate entities like Disney and Delta are in the business of selling on Facebook. Disney, for instance, built the Disney Tickets Together Facebook application so that fans could pre-order ticketsto Toy Story 3without leaving the social network.
Even more traditional businesses are anxious to hook customers and get them to book through Facebook. Delta Air Lines released the Delta Ticket Window Facebook application in August to do just that — sell plane flights to patrons without ever forcing them to leave Facebook.
The big guys aren’t the only businesses capitalizing on Facebook’s sales-friendly platform. Small businesses are enlisting the likes of Wildfire and Payvment to help them create and manage their own Facebook store fronts and deal centers.
With so many sales opportunities out there, some brands are finding that Facebook is fast becoming a shopper’s paradise and the new mall of America (and the world).
4. Facebook Support Centers
Social media has long been touted as a vehicle for brands to provide better customer service. The challenge is that so many customers are social media savvy, which means complaints and requests can get lost in the fray.
Once, a brand’s Facebook Page was a less trafficked place for a customer to get one-on-one service. Today, customers are lucky if their comment is ever seen. The customer still has the expectation of personalized service on Facebook, which makes it the brand’s responsibility to find a customer service solution that scales.
In recent months, Get Satisfaction and Parature have stepped in to help businesses tackle this new challenge. Both companies are reporting rapid adoption for their inside-Facebook customer service platforms.
Get Satisfaction’s Social Engagement Hub, built by Involver, extends the functionality of its popular customer support service to Facebook and offers full-featured support that integrates with the client’s existing dashboard.
“Get Satisfaction has 122 clients using the Facebook integration, reaching an aggregate of hundreds of thousands of users and fans,” reports a spokesperson for the company.
Parature is a bit newer to the space, but the Parature for Facebook customer service application is already getting traction from brands hoping to channel Facebook for direct customer engagement. Recently, the company announced that 25 clients have signed on since launch to purchase Parature for Facebook. A company representative details that some of those brand names include H&M, Konami and Rosetta Stone.
5. Facebook Giving
Even for-profit businesses have an interest in the greater good, and one of the bigger trends is for them to solicit fan action on Facebook to ensure their charitable causes get greater exposure. The social goodtrend obviouslyextends beyond Facebook and to social media sites in general, but Facebook Pages and “Like” buttons are doing their part to inspire collective action.
Last year, Target launched the “Bullseye Games” Facebook application and let fans choose where the discount retailer should spend its weekly $3 million charitable contributions.
More recently, Kohl’s started the Kohl’s Cares Facebook initiative to give away $10 million to 20 schools; nearly 2 million Facebookers voted for their schools. Chase also gravitated towards Facebook to distribute $5 million to charities through the Chase Community Giving campaign.
In furtherance of the donation by action concept, Yahoo enlisted Facebook for a massive charitable undertaking designed to raise funds for Stand Up To Cancer earlier this month. Yahoo pledged $1 for every “Like” to theirOMG! Facebook Page. In just nine days, Yahoo surpassed their goal, attracting more than 112,000 “Likes” and committing $100,000 to help fight cancer.