Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You have a page in Facebook; does that make you a “Social Brand”?

Through the past few months I had multiple opportunities to research and evaluate how brands are using major social networks (i.e. Facebook, Myspace, etc.); I’ll simply say that there is considerable opportunity to improve, which is good news for those of us that are happy and willing to provide help. 

I base my assessment and comments on a basic concept:  the “Social” in “Social Brand” implies engagement and interaction; I have frequently paraphrased Wikipedia’s definition as “Social interactions are events in which people attach meaning to a situation and respond accordingly.” 

The questions I had in mind as I was looking at the presence of these brands in the major social networks were: 

  • How are the Brands interacting with the consumers? 
  • How are the Brands encouraging interaction among the consumers? 
  • What type of “events” is the Brand creating or inviting the consumer to create? (Event defined vaguely as "something that happens") 
  • Are the Brands properly leveraging the consumer response to those events to propagate their message across the social graph of the consumer? 
  • Does it seem like the Brands adapt and “responds accordingly” to the consumer reaction and participation?

My recommendations for those Brands:

  • Presence does not suffice; engagement is required (Many Brand pages have no Brand participation at all).
  • Not only you need to enable, but even more you need to encourage, the consumer participation and interaction.  (Many Brand pages hide or disable capabilities for the consumer to participate).
  • You need to create meaningful “Events” for your audience; as well as encourage them to create their own. The consumer response to these evens needs to be carefully used to propagate your message through the consumer social graph (As a consequence of the lack of Brand participation there is no emphasis on “Event” creation) 
  • You are the host to this party; many times your responsibility is to introduce the right people to each other and set the ambiance (very Few Brands highlight and leverage the users to activate other users). 
  • Be very careful and balanced on what you choose to display and how quickly you drive people away from this page into another site where conversion can happen; while it is clear that this presence needs to carry a payload, it is also important not to disrupt the user experience / change their location too abruptly (Many Brand pages are nothing more that static springboards to other location). 

What do you think? 

Filiberto Selvas 

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