Thinking Social / Value

7

Years of thinking social archives >

Time for Brands to Get Innovational with Facebook

[Photo credit: kazimdoku.deviantart.com]

One of the biggest challenges I face at Social@Ogilvy is maintaining a simultaneous focus on innovation and operationalizing proven practices. Technically you cannot do both at the same time. It’s kind of like multitasking, which is really a myth. We “bounce” between tasks, never quite doing them at the same time. And just like multitasking, innovation and tweaking reliability cannot quite happen at the same time. Kind of like designing the car of the future even while you use it to pick up groceries everyday.

Yet there are few practices quite like applying social media to business to bring out the inner entrepreneur and Six Sigma black belt in all of us. We simply have to do both, if not simultaneously, then in quick succession. No sooner had we created a new way to audit a brand’s social presence (Social Brand Print) then we had rolled it out globally, making it more efficient and generally improving on the final product.

This is a brand leader’s dilemma in using social media. Just think about the marketers who demand new, innovative ways of using Facebook, for example, and then demand ROI in the next breath. ROI comes after innovation when you are trying to scale or make a process more reliable and efficient. Still, this is the boat we find ourselves in. And Facebook is the perfect platform for pursuing both innovation and operation.

Facebook helps us be “Innovational”

Facebook exceeded 1 billion users and 200 million of us actively post content in addition reading our friend’s updates. Forty percent of the world’s Internet users are on the platform.  It’s got scale which is certainly one of the attributes to look for when scaling and making more efficient. (Source: GlobalWebIndex)

The ad platform including the premium ads we love as sponsored stories are now handled automatically making them more efficient. Plenty of marketers like us have established a Facebook ad planning and buying “desk” staffed by social media experts who blend media knowledge with social media smarts. They sit adjacent to the community managers driving measurable engagement deeper and deeper. Pulling media back towards the content and creative teams is both innovative and operational.

Here are four ways you can fuel innovation on Facebook:

Facebook Studio Nothing sparks innovation like examples of great work with a bit of a competitive edge. If you haven’t tapped into this site to see what brands and others are doing on Facebook, then kick back and browse around for an hour. Make an appointment to come back every week and submit your own work. You might win an award.

Facebook Studio Edge – We all need to keep smart constantly about how to use the platform to achieve tangible business results. No one benefits when brands stumble around uninformed by “best practices” of how to get the most out of Facebook. I suspect that this is what happened earlier this year as a brand or two went through a phase of disenchantment with the platform. Facebook Studio Edge is a training platform that we and other experts use to get sharp and get more of our people sharp on everything from the basics to advanced practices. Training creates more innovators.

The Facebook Email Matching Program – This is one innovation that will do a ton to help grow SocialCRM to actually mean something. Followng very smart privacy protocols, marketers can now match a segmented email database with Facebook User IDs (again, with the proper “hash” between them protecting privacy). Brands are experimenting with delivering messages via Facebook ads and can now selectively recruit their customers as fans on the platform.

InsideFacebook – One of my many “feeds,” this one does a pretty good job of catching news about the platform that I might have missed in other ways. Today I caught up on a recent feature called “Collections.” It’s a promising “buy or collect within Facebook” that essentially “allows retailers to post product photos with “Want” or “Collect” buttons, as well as links to buy from their sites.” For a relatively small team, Facebook bangs out a lot of innovations and tests.

Here are four ways you can get “operational” with Facebook:

Global page management – Whether you are using Buddy Media to manage a collection of local market instances under a single Facebook page or now using a new feature testing within Facebook that allows multiple market pages to roll up to a single fanbase, each represents the effort to scale and apply Facebook community and content management more efficiently.

Page analysis tools  – The Facebook Insights API has long given page owners valuable tools and data to understand page performance. Facebook has new tools in the works for brand marketers to know more about their fans. All brands want to attract the right fans and deliver more relevant content to them. Facebook is constantly innovating to make that more powerful.

ROI Studies – Facebook has been banging out some critical effectiveness studies. These include key ROI analysis for big brand marketers. What I hate is that I cannot quote them or share them. Somewhat understandably, the brands behind these studies or cases don’t want them too widely published. But lets just say that when a  big marketer can claim a $4 return on every dollar spent, we all ought to perk up. Facebook has been very smart to spend a ton of energy proving out the efficacy of the platform. Nothing matters more to marketers who want to scale their use.

The Facebook Team – For a high profile company, the Facebook team remains a modestly sized bunch. They remain a small team at least in relation to, let’s say, Google. Still that small team is going out of their way to help brands and agencies apply lesson learned to make their use of the platform more and more effective.

Smart brands use Facebook

Smart brands are taking a long view of social media and specifically of the Facebook platform. Facebook engages over a billion people in a completely “lean forward” experience. All of the impatience of media pundits who twitch whenever an algorithm is tweaked or when one of the many many innovations Facebook floats doesn’t take off for the moon is just distraction. Brands are digging in to Facebook. It remains one of the best ways for them to innovate in one breath and scale operations in another. Its innovational and we need it now more than ever.