Tag Archive | Facebook

Native? Social? Both?

This summer, I interned at SocialToaster, a social media marketing agency that turns a company’s existing social media following into a team of organized brand ambassadors. Part of my job was to create blog posts and other marketing materials that reinforced SocialToaster’s core business concept, and I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned regarding native advertising and social media marketing.

Native Advertising: You’ve probably heard this term if you’ve kept up to date on the latest digital marketing trends. In short, native advertising is a form of communication that smoothly integrates with a user’s experience on a website or application. For instance, if you see a sponsored Facebook post that tells a story about a company’s new product, this is a native advertisement because it is part of the user’s core experience (i.e., not a banner ad). Online brand ambassador programs are also forms of native advertising: for instance, Maker’s Mark offers incentives for its ambassadors to share content about its brand.

Social Media Marketing, though, is the use of social media platforms to market a company to consumers or businesses. Examples of social media marketing are banner ads on Facebook, a company’s Twitter posts, or Instagram pictures with links directed towards purchasing or other landing pages. Social media marketing encompasses the development of marketing programs targeted at a company’s existing and intended social media audience.

Can Native and Social Intersect? Yes. For example, SocialToaster’s Super Fans (brand ambassadors) can earn prizes for posting a company’s message as a status update or sharing its content on Twitter. Native advertising can be seamlessly integrated into social media marketing because people use social media all the time. Therefore, native advertising and social media marketing are not mutually exclusive; rather, they are two effective forms of marketing that work incredibly well together.

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The Numbers: Consider some facts from a recent Gallup poll:

  • 94% of social media users do so to connect with friends and family
  • 62% of social media users do not believe social media influences their purchasing decisions
  • 29% of social media users use these platforms to keep up on product reviews and trends

That 94% is important, because it means that over 9/10 people who use social media connect with people they (hopefully) trust. Now, if you’re part of the nearly 30% who use, say, Facebook for product recommendations, what are you more likely to look to as a source: a friend’s recommendation, or a banner advertisement? If your friend is a Maker’s Mark brand ambassador and posts a picture of delicious bourbon on Facebook, you’re statistically more likely to click on this post than you are to entertain a traditional advertisement.

But do you even realize your friend’s recommendation for Maker’s Mark is an advertisement? According to the study, 62% of the time, you will not.

And that’s why native advertisements on social media work. Companies can employ people you trust to recommend their products, meaning you might not even realize when you’re being advertised to. But you might find some great products in the process!

-David

It’s a Tough Virtual Life: 5 Things You Should Know About Facebook

This summer in addition to interning with Appareline Inc, I also interned for Natty Paint, a contemporary women’s clothing line. As a Social Marketing intern, I developed content and managed social media accounts for the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. One of my primary goals was to increase brand awareness through these various social media sites. I aimed to increase the company’s Facebook “likes” by at least 60% while working at Natty Paint. However, to be honest, I struggled to reach 40%.

This being said, I’ve created a list of “5 Things You Know (but probably don’t) about Facebook”

  1. You become the SPAM you hate.
    Initially, to gain additional attention for the brand, I reached out to my social network by inviting friends to like the page, talk about it and view the website. Many of my “friends” did not respond in such a “friendly” manner to my posts. Apparently, incessantly promoting a brand on a social media page becomes more of an annoyance than a means of drumming up interest.
  2. Your social range has a threshold.
    Unfortunately, one only has so many friends. Despite possessing a well-developed social network, after about a 3-week period, I found that I had saturated my friend base. If by that 3-week period, a friend in the Natty Paint demographic hadn’t responded to my advertising, they probably were never going to.
  3. Myth: Facebook is free.
    Facebook limits how many people can view your posts. For your posts to reach more than a small percentage of your fans, you need to pay for a Facebook promotion. I did find that these promotions to be an effective way of increasing views and attracting traffic to the page. However, the expenses began to add quickly, especially for a small-startup company.
  4. Question the value of a “like.”
    What does a “like” really mean? As I mentioned earlier, I was able to increase “likes” by 40%. However, despite this and heavily promoting photo albums, website merchandise was still not selling. More people were viewing our page, interacting with content and viewing new collections, yet no one was actually making a purchase.
  5. You can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all. Don’t try tackle all social media platforms at once, instead focus on a select few. Trying to reach across too many social media platforms dilutes efforts. Instead, I recommend developing one platform with strong content. Then, work towards expanding onto other platforms after building a strong fan base. I did, however, find that supplementing Facebook promotions with email campaigns is an effective technique to involve fans and get them excited about the brand.

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful on your next Facebook marketing endeavor.

– Jenna

Facebook Reaches 1 Billion Users. Make Your Own! (No Programming Necessary)

In February 2004, months before his 20th birthday, Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from a computer in his Harvard dormitory. The social network now has 1 billion users, demonstrating the enormous reach the Internet allows sites such as Facebook to have over the world.

Photo thanks to Flickr user niallkennedy

Now, Zuckerberg is an expert computer programmer, but he’s definitely not the only person out there who can make a successful social network. In fact, you can be on your way to creating your own social network with three easy steps.

1. Find your niche. When Zuckerberg started Facebook, he created it as a student directory for Harvard University. What community do you think needs to be given a home online?

2. Find your software. As mentioned earlier, Zuckerberg knew computer programming backwards and forwards; fortunately, you don’t need to! A helpful Squidoo article about creating social networks includes a list of social networking software that require no programming experience whatsoever to use. Many of these programs have paid and free versions, though the paid versions usually have more customizable and advanced features.

3. Market your creation. A social network is useless unless people are active on it. Spread the word to your friends, run ads on Google, and use other devices at your disposal to get the word out. A comprehensive eHow article explains how to advertise a social network for free, and here are some highlights:

  • Use pre-existing social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Create a blog for your network to provide fresh content to users.
  • Invite major players in other social networks to be the first users of your new site.

Of course, this is a very simple way of looking at the social networking process. The major take-away, though, is that you can make your own Facebook (just don’t use the words “book” or “face” in the name … that’s a breeding ground for a lawsuit) without any programming experience.