Thriving On the New Facebook: Four Steps For Your Brand

Once Disparate Roles Must Come Together For a Successful Social Strategy

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Sean Corcoran
Sean Corcoran

In the wake of Facebook's fMC event, the advertising world is understandably abuzz about brand timelines. While brand timelines have tremendous potential and are quickly becoming a table stake for brand perception, the most important announcement was over shadowed.

That's the fact that most premium advertising on Facebook must now originate from the brand page (what Facebook regards as the brand's "mission control"). This is a big deal because it speaks to a larger trend that social marketing is enforcing on the marketing world: the need for seamless management of earned, owned and paid media in real time.

In this case, with Facebook we must realize that most of the time, the people who manage brand pages for big companies (such as PR, customer service or social media teams) are not the same people buying ads on Facebook (typically a media agency), who are not the people making the content. When buying some of the most important ads with the number one seller of display advertising, they must closely coordinate their work.

To succeed and, eventually, to simply survive in a world that requires real-time collaboration, you must start by taking these four steps:

Learn how to earn your way into the newsfeed. The world of communication is increasingly dominated by newsfeeds. The best and most fun proof point was the Lightspeed research a year or so back that showed that one-third of women 18–34 check their Facebook status before going to the bathroom when they wake up in the morning. Timeline or not, most people don't visit brand pages, so newsfeeds are where the real action is . This is not just traditional social networks, either, as Google is incorporating Google+ activity into their search results. And if you step back and think about it, getting your brand content into someone's newsfeed, especially their Facebook "Top News," is very impressive, because you're actually trumping much of the activity that that person's friends and family are publishing to them. That's why you need to learn how to regularly create content that people will want to interact with and share with their personal, professional and public social networks. In addition, both Facebook and Twitter now offer you paid media options with the immediacy and scale to catalyze those efforts.

Orchestrate both the drumbeat and the pulses. Content can come in many forms. Most marketing organizations and agencies are built to create big ideas that manifest in big campaigns. Despite some conventional wisdom in the digital marketing world, big ideas can still help cut through clutter and promote key drive periods. These "pulses" help increase engagement on an infrequent basis. However, it's just as important to manage the everyday "drumbeat" of conversation that keeps the community active. Orchestrating these together is the real challenge.

Manage, analyze and act on real-time data. Social analytics is hot. It started with the tidal wave of listening tools and has expanded from there. There is a science forming around social media, and the next step will be the "smart" content calendar – one that is proactive in its planning around seasons and promotional periods, but also reactive in that it is optimized based on the data available in near real time. Social data is still very much like a fire hose, so success will require both the analytics tools and the people in place to use those tools to collect, manage and analyze it.

Seamlessly integrate all the necessary skill sets. Managing all of these different functions requires skill sets that include PR, CRM, customer service, analytics, advertising, editorial and creative development. And the biggest challenge of all is getting those skills to work together in real time. You must consider new processes, new people and new partners to get this done.

Sean Corcoran is SVP, Digital and Social Media, at Mullen. He was previously Senior Analyst at Forrester Research covering interactive media and marketing. You can follow him @seancor on Twitter.
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