For Success, Facebook Marketing Requires Risk Tolerance

[It’s a perfect day here in San Diego at Graphing Social Patterns, we’re right on the waterfront, but us geeks, well we tweeted, blogged, and talked in a dark room]

Most of the presentations this morning have been very developer focused, I’m covering Graphing Social from the Web Strategists’ perspective: Web decision makers in corporate.

Rodney Rumford gave a Facebook Marketing 101 presentations and explains how businesses can use widgets to reach customers. Facebook gives you multiple ways to reach customers, and with them spending 20 minutes per day, the attention is there.

In the presentation from BJ Fogg who co-ran the Facebook class at Stanford, they developed applications, that they estimated totaled $500,000 in revenue from the students efforts in advertising. They give out a list of learnings on what made them successful, often it included being flexible, quickly iterating, not listening to individual opinions or getting approvals, just launching them, and experimentation. It was very clear to me that that behavior is the opposite of large brands, who want safety, low risk, and pre-written plans.

[Successful applications were experimental, embraced risk, and quickly iterated –everything big brands will struggle with]

Rodney gave the example of the where I’ve been map, and suggested that brand managers should consider sponsoring existing successful apps, rather than create their own. Rodney suggested that advertising rates were disappointing yet, suggested that interactive marketing and social ads gave more opportunity. First, define success, lay out metrics, use a multi-pronged approach (there are many different tools to use).

Rodney suggests that one of the key challenges is with the decision making process:

“Most of the people (at big corporations) who are making the decisions for Facebook are 45 or older, and are not immersed in Facebook”

For success, one should consider: 1) Outsourcing development to those that get it, such as an a successful widget development company, or 2) lean on someone in your own team who really understands this space. While strategy remains, social networking marketing requires a different mindset, approach, and use of tools.

Various pics from the event

Dave McClureRodney Rumford03032008070Stanford classTeresa Valdez Klein03032008062Rodney Rumford03032008076

15 Replies to “For Success, Facebook Marketing Requires Risk Tolerance”

  1. Anyone wishing to lead this effort for their company make sure and just “join in the conversation” first.

    Watch It.
    Read daily.
    Get to know how users in your demographics are using Facebook and social networks.

    Do this for weeks before deciding on your strategy. It will come to you.

  2. Dude,
    I think your statement is advisable. Sponsoring existing popular apps instead of building your own. An analogy sprouts to mind when I think of this.

    It’s like there is only so much patience and space available to install apps. Imagine your profile to be a piece of land, and each app a digital billboard. Those billboards can be replaced or removed anytime, and you’ve maxxed out with the number of billboards you want to have. Do you really want to add a billboard in for every brand you might be into? Or would you be more interested in having each billboard represent a need or some kind of benefit, and you like its setup and don’t really care which brand it is that appears on there as long as that need/want is achieved.

    That could be a case for a lot of people. Companies are looking to facebook for that long tail support, something most of them fall under. Someone may put up a nike app that displays diff shows they own or new shoes coming out, or an import car app displaying which cars they like and their information- maybe even a game. But for how many diff. brands will a person do that? When someone gets a fancy car, they don’t just wanna show it repeatedly to their circle of friends. They want strangers to see.

    So it’s worth it to distinguish between the type of brand one is. People won’t really care to add in a new app if its some kind of random brand. But if they like the experience of a current app, they won’t mind having various brands appear on that. Because then they don’t have to add / remove apps.

    I’m getting kind of lost in what I was trying to say, so I’ll continue pondering it some more. The bottom line from me right now is that companies should minimize the effort needed from people to view what they have to show and maximize the ease they can share that information with others they feel would benefit. Deceptive tactics like invitations are only going to add to the clutter and it just ends up becoming no different than ‘affiliate crap’ that Jason Calicanis so humbly chided at the affiliate summit (LOL).

  3. It’s a bit strange to learn that the people behind Facebook’s decisions are those who are not really immersed in Facebook itself. It’s not so much about the age really. You can be 45 and still be immersed in whatever project you’re attached to.

  4. This view of big brands is exactly what we’ve encountered in both trying to work with larger firms and in trying to “sell” them the idea of developing an application: the approval processes, numbers/types of people involved, and the unproven marketplace make it very difficult to not only convince a brand manager of the benefits but then to launch a successful application. In contrast, our own self-driven applications have done remarkably well.

  5. We did some outsourcing for our app, but you have to be careful… “a successful widget development company” is tough to come by. It takes a lot of research, and even then, we found that many companies were actually lying about their experience and even their portfolio items!

    Ultimately, I’ve been amazed at how many super simple applications have gotten popular. I think the way to go is more and simple versus one and complex.

  6. I think apps that provide some degree of functionality and productivity with managing and sharing media are apps that get viral attention. Too much thought I think is going into creating something that’s cool and seeing if it will catch on. That’s taking a chance of your app not catching on and getting used. I would look to see what issues or problems people have with facebook and create an app around that. Ask Bill Gates, that’s what he did with Microsoft. Found a problem people had and created a solution. Well technically he didn’t create it. That’s for another blog post 😉

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