How to build a Facebook marketing campaign

TV ads compete for consumer attention

Advertising has historically been about interruption.  TV ads appear, for example, between segments of your favorite TV show.  The problem with the interruption advertising model is that the message is not contextual or relevant.  Users are focused on their show, so they’ve learned to dismiss any brand interruptions as annoying.

Brands are finding their voice on Facebook.  From pages, brands can invite their customers to interact with them in a more personal way, beyond classic interruption marketing.

As brands plan Facebook campaigns they have to consider how to carefully approach their audience on this new medium.   Why would a user care about what the brand has to say?  Why would that user become a fan of the brand?  Once they are fans, why would they engage in the campaign and share the brand’s content with their friends?  How do you earn their trust and encourage them to voluntarily share your message?

Here are some best practices to launching Facebook campaigns:

Be useful

The best examples of brands on Facebook include an example of the brand creating utility.     Solve a problem that your are uniquely qualified to solve.  Your Facebook app is essentially extending a new, free service to your customers.   Use Facebook as a new way to serve your customers.

Nike+

Nike+ is a great example of a brand that extended its core offering (clothing and shoes) to creating utility for the athlete community they have cultivated.   Nike+ provides training tools that help their customers’ track and share their fitness progress.     The Nike+ Facebook app solves a problem, which makes it an order of magnitude more compelling than a standard TV ad.

Mark Zuckerberg’s take on advertising (and this is not a direct quote) is that advertising on Facebook has to be as good as everything else on Facebook.    This means that advertising needs to be socially generated content that is contextual and personalized for every user.

Be relevant

Don’t bore people.   Timing is everything.    Your content cannot feel spammy, it has to be contextually relevant.   Likewise, your content needs to be relevant to your brand or it will just confuse users.

Don’t broadcast.   Stimulate

Your messages should be conversation starters.   Get people to talk about you.  Stimulate your community to join the conversation.  Likewise, highlight your super fans and make the story about them and their experience with the brand.  Their story is your story.

Keep it simple 

Many Facebook campaigns end up as complicated gimmicks.  Focus on the core idea and deliver on that idea.  Remember what Steve Jobs taught us about product design – simple is better.

Plan with a purpose 

Huggie's Hong Kong Facebook campaign

Focus on what your customers care about.   For example Huggie’s produces highly absorbent baby diapers, but they don’t necessarily need to hit their customers over the head with product specs.  They found that mothers care about baby photos so they focused on highlighting their fan’s babies, which really caught on.

Know your own voice

Your brand has a personality, let it be heard.    Small businesses have always succeeded by building personal relationships with their customers.    Don’t just post content, talk to people.

These themes apply to mass customization and product configurator design because interactive design tools inherently create deep brand experiences.   Fans want to get to know your product and what better way to let them than to let them design their own versions of your brand?

(NOTE:  This post was inspired by talks by Paul Adams – Researcher, product manager, designer at Facebook, and Mark D’Arcy, Director of Creative Solutions at Facebook.)

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