Human, You Could Use Some Facebook Marketing Right About Now!
Last week, we learned that Facebook is introducing a new form of advertising — marketers can pay to turn what you read, listen to or watch into social ads, or Sponsored Stories, in your news feed, thereby tailoring ads specifically to your unique online behavior.
Facebook is currently testing this strategy with only a limited list of marketers. TechCrunch calls this a "win trifecta — more relevant ads for users, better conversion rates for advertisers, and more money for Facebook and its future investors."
The public may beg to differ. Since the news broke, references to Big Brother or those personalized ads in Minority Report ("John Anderton, you could use a Guinness right about now!") have already been made by Facebook users; it would be fair to say that this story inspires among many a feeling of being creeped out.
But let's not forget how Facebook has been used very effectively to humanize companies. It gives them a "face"...after all, isn't that what Facebook is all about? Using body parts as metaphors (hey, it's the middle of the week), here are some ways businesses are using the popular social media site to appear less like cyborgs in suits and more like your favorite drinking buddy John:
Companies are able to develop a voice on Facebook to connect with people. Aflac uses its mascot, the Aflac Duck, to great effect on its Facebook page, engaging users with irreverent humor. Social media can act as a Turing test to separate the androids from the humans (or aquatic birds).
Facebook's wall is also a great place to respond to customer service inquiries. Did that 3D printer you just bought get jammed while you were printing cupcakes? Bob will take care of that for you.
Businesses are now privy to all that hushed water cooler banter. Being able to monitor what Facebook users are saying enables companies to generate interesting conversations about their business and customize their content according to what people want to see.
Encouraging creative ideas is an excellent way to engage users. Lenovo, known historically for its clunky business laptops, celebrates forward-thinking design with its gallery of flashy modded hardware.
Corporations care! And they definitely want Facebook users to know. Diet Coke's page links to its Live Positively site, where users can learn about recycling, healthy lifestyles and school scholarships, and can even pitch in to save a few polar bears.
How do you feel about Facebook marketing? Does it make companies seem more human to you?
— Julia Z. Zhou
(She posts tech- and design-related stuff here)