Facebook stock is being hammered. Wall Street and even Facebook itself, doesn’t understand the value of the business. It’s not an ad platform- it’s a social site, a private party. When advertisers stop thinking they have the right to interject themselves in everything, they may start having some real success. The key for businesses on Facebook is to be invited to the party. The secret to that is better market research- and that’s where Facebook is the holy grail of consumer data. We know who your friends are, where they are, what they are doing- all from the aimless chatter.
Facebook needs to monetize data, not users.
Reading in the New York Times:
For its stock price to go up, Facebook has to convince Wall Street analysts and investors that the personal data its 955 million users share about themselves can be better used to make money. Despite the fact that Facebook has information about a user’s friends, habits and photos, advertisers are not convinced that Facebook ads are more effective than online ads appearing elsewhere.
So far, its revenue comes largely from advertising and from proceeds of virtual games that people pay to play on the Facebook platform. On both counts, Facebook has struggled, as the company reported slower sales in its earnings report in late July. Its users are increasingly logging in to their accounts on mobile devices, where Facebook has only recently — and cautiously — started selling advertisements.
via Facebook Shares Hit New Low as a Lockup Period Ends - NYTimes.com.
Facebook has to be careful about intruding with ads in the limited screen environment. With customers facing data caps on mobile devices, the only way advertising will be welcome is if those advertisers subsidize their data plans, or offer real services or additional value in return for their interruption. If you need a case study of an internet behemoth failing because they refused to respect their users and community, just study the fall of AOL.
While advertisers still believe they should have the right to engage for supporting “free content” they have to realize that now, more than ever, you can only earn that right by offering a premium service in return. Look what the iPod did to CD sales, or what online music services have now done to the iTunes store. Is it becoming clear?
Facebook is social media- stop trying to turn it into commercial media.
America has changed a lot since “Honest Abe” ran for president. There were no Madison Avenue types involved in politics in his day, no spin doctors, no data mining, psychograpics, demographics, Facebook graphs or Google Zeitgeist- a politician had to be convincing, charismatic, trustworthy and most of all honest.
There was a lot of door knocking, face-to-face time, speeches on town squares and debates- true debates. The candidate didn’t know his numbers- he knew people. His word (and yes his- there weren’t female politicians in Abe’s day) was his bond.
As advertising as we know it today was in its infancy, one agency, which grew to be the largest in the US- McCann, introduced its tagline in 1912- “Truth well told” which is still in use today. When it comes to great advertising, the most powerful tool at a copywriters disposal is still the same- find the one unique, universal truth about your client- and hoist it as high as you can. If there is one thing that consumers are on to these days its when they are being lied to in advertising (unfortunately- they haven’t figured out how to do it in politics yet).
Yet, a few days ago, I was a speaker at a social media conference- and looked around the room as I watched the back channel twitter stream fill with those buzzword bingo winners that spew out at an amazing rate of about 1 every 3 minutes. These “Big Ideas” get condensed down to 140 characters or less and copiously get sent into the twitterverse to have a half-life of about half a day (yes, Twitter is very temporary- as the service has grown, the length of time your tweet remains in their system has shortened exponentially- see this post of ours “Note taking at tech conferences is passé”) and include such nuggets as “EC=MC” which translates to Every Company is a Media Company- which all sounds great and wonderful, except that “EC≠MC” in my experience- which is Every Consumer is not a Media Consumer.
How do I arrive at that? I’ve run for office, something few people in advertising do- but lots of politicians are becoming more media savvy than us advertising folks- and here’s why:
We have reams of research and data telling us exactly what consumers are like, but it’s easy to get caught up in myths of popular culture — the focus-group-of-one trap — and assume just about everyone owns an iPad, tweets from their phone and times shifts TV.
Because everybody needs a reality check sometimes, we decided to take a decidedly non-scientific look at some Madison Avenue myths.
via Mad Ave’s Myopia When It Comes to Main Street - Advertising Age - News.
And yes- I tweeted a link out on this story as yet another social media experts (the biggest lie of all- as this has become so big, so fast that no one can truly wrap their head around the whole thing) tell us more about how our strategy should include at least Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Foursquare, Linkedin, Slideshare, blogging, and whatever else is trending that week. No less than 5 speakers used both the new Gap logo gaffe (it was in the last 3 weeks) and the Old Spice “Hello Ladies, I am the man your man could smell like” which ended with the hopelessly odd- “I’m on a horse” line.
Yes, you can now be a cowboy that smells good- the flipside of the classic Marlboro campaign I guess, yet- if you read about this amazingly “successful viral campaign” you find one set of stats saying sales are up 107% and others saying that the sales bump was caused by deep discounting via coupons.
Yet, despite all it’s success at viral exposure- as I walked through WalMart (where real Americans do shop- as we “on Madison Avenue” hate to admit) there was a video screen mounted vertically with the man on the horse running an endless stream of “Hello Ladies, I’m on a horse”- driving home the message at the last inch of the sale.
And all those people in marketing and advertising, who have an iPad, smart phone, eat organic, sip latte from Starbucks, has friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter- haven’t actually met mainstream America- up close and personal- like a politician knocking on doors, shaking hands and kissing babies. As an ad man who has, let me share this insight (and remember, I was only knocking on doors of those most likely to vote, because I’d be stupid to knock on every door)- there is a digital divide in this country- where people don’t have computers, don’t use them at work, don’t even have an e-mail address. Our country still is embarrassingly strong in illiteracy (even though we have “no child left behind” we’ve forgotten about all the functionally illiterate people we’ve produced over the last 60 years- the US is 27th out of 205).
Those “consumers” that we know so much about- don’t have health care coverage- so all those direct to consumer drug ads may fall on deaf (and illiterate) ears, they can’t jump online to get a custom video from Mustafa-they don’t time shift shows on their DVR, or order Blu-ray quality video from your streaming server.
What they do have is an increasingly smaller wallet (the economic gap in the United States has grown at an alarming rate thanks to our slick media spinning political types) and a tighter grip on their cash. They may be fooled once, but they won’t be back to buy your body wash twice if they don’t end up with the same magnetic personality of “The man your man could smell like.”
Unfortunately for marketers they don’t enjoy the same return purchase habits that politicians do- once selected, an incumbent product doesn’t almost automatically get re-selected again and again. There has to be something more in the equation to buy- like “truth told well.” That’s why this ad agency, with its worn shoe leather leader, has the insight to get buyers to buy more than once with your marketing budget. We know our mission statement has one extra word- “Create Lust • Evoke Trust” than McCann’s and that our promise to “Make you more money than you pay us” seem to come from the less is more school when compared to the mega-global agencies, but we still believe that “the consumer isn’t stupid, she’s your mother” (attributed to David Ogilvy) and that in all this social media mess of buzzwords and “new media” things haven’t changed much since Honest Abe.
Advertising has always about telling your message. Maybe that’s why John Wanamaker famously said “I know half my budget is wasted, I just don’t know which half”- and he was almost half right. Instead of telling your story- listen to what customers say about your brand and make new stories. Take this story about a hotel guest who tweeted about his stay at a hotel- and their follow up and it’s results (read the whole post to get the whole story):
So a tweet, a few emails, and all of a sudden I have a hotel in Boston that feels very much mine. Why would I stay somewhere else when I know the people, and feel like theyre genuinely happy when I come back again?
Its not about the discount - Id happily pay their going rate to stay there, just for the experience. But it is about the personal connections Ive made with people, the feeling of being a valued customer, and the sense that Im dealing with a business that really cares about the people that support it.
via Why Its Not About the Tools Again | Altitude Branding | Brand Elevation through Social Media.
There is a another old adage: People do business with people they know. Establishing connections, building a network, are part of building those business relationships. Twitter is just one more tool in the social media toolbox. How many tools is your brand using?
David Meerman Scott is becoming one of the social media Illuminati, with his books, talks, blog and tweets. The cool thing about all this social media stuff- is a lot of it is good old business common sense repackaged in a 2.0 format.
His post, which I’ve excerpted most of here- is one of those common sense things that corporate America needs to relearn. No matter how many amazing, expensive, beautifully shot car commercials we see- we still have to complete a transaction at the local level- with a, that’s right- car salesman. Note to GM- this is part of the reason Saturn started out so strong- you cut out the worst part of buying a car- but I digress, read what David says:
People want to do business with people. We’re human, and we crave interaction with people who know us. When you build content especially for your buyer personas, you build a relationship with people before you’ve even met them.
How about the opposite case? Have you recently visited a company Web site or blog and said, “Wow These guys understand me” Didn’t it make you feel different from how those boring old sites you usually see do?
When online content seems created by some nameless, faceless corporate entity, it doesn’t entice us. And we’re just not interested in doing business with that company. A corporate-brochure site will never start a World Wide Rave.
We all want to do business with other humans. We want to know there’s a breathing person behind the Web site or blog that we’re reading. And we want to know that those humans on the other side understand and want to help us. A great site or blog or YouTube video, created especially for us, drives us to action. We want to do business with people who understand our problems.
There’s no secret to building great online information. Start by understanding your buyer personas, not by hyping your products and services.
Web Ink Now: People want to do business with people.
The reason social media driven sites work so well, as opposed to brochure sites is that there is a chance to have a conversation. People want to be heard, and the reason they are on your site is they are looking for answers for their problems. They probably came to your site because Google put you there as “the expert” on their search- it’s your job to prove them right.
In my recent search for a printer, the company that I eventually ended up doing business with seemed like the expert in the area of large format color printers. Their site was extensive, but what got me to call, was watching a youtube video explaining and comparing two printers. The people weren’t professional actors- they were the sales team. The production wasn’t slick, it was probably flip. When I called, the people on the phone seemed to care about me getting the best possible printer at the best possible price. It wasn’t about them- it was about solving my printing problems.
A lot can be said about advertising, design, strategy, marketing- but in the end, people do business with people they know. We tell this to our clients. We remind them constantly that if they aren’t in the evoked set of possible suppliers (either in Google or in top of mind) they don’t exist. What can you do to increase your perception of expertise and accessibility to your clients?
Think about it. If you want to talk about it, feel free to call me, 937.228.4433. We’re here to solve your social media and marketing problems by helping you know more people to do business with.
Everyday we see ads that try to sell us on a products FAB (Features, Advantages and Benefits). Maybe what we should be concentrating on is telling people what other people prefer? In fact, a UCLA professor did a study and dramatically changed the outcomes by a changing the message to be “inclusive” more than “exclusive.”
Noah Goldstein has a Ph.D. in social psychology. He teaches at the prestigious Anderson School of Management at UCLA and tosses around esoteric terms like “injunctive norm.” But today he’s talking hotel towels.
Noah Goldstein: There are these signs in hotels that ask people to reuse their towels to help save the environment.
That’s the standard environmental appeal. The Ph.D.s thought they could do better.
Goldstein: A second one that we created specifically informed guests that the majority of others did reuse their towels sometime during their stay.
The result of that message? Twenty-six percent more recycling. And when Goldstein and his colleagues tweaked the sign further to say the majority of guests in that particular room had re-used their dirty towels, recycling improved 33 percent. Goldstein says it’s an adaptive, herd-like response.
Marketplace: Peer pressure pushes people to go green.
Even though “average” means a majority of people, 95% of people will tell you they are above average- and when people are given a choice between trusting professional reviewer or someone they don’t know who they think is just like them- we’re seeing a movement to trusting the “untrained joe.”
Social media, which connects people in even more random ways than was previously possible is driving this change in consumer behavior.
So next time you are looking at ad copy, think about the power of the herd so you can be heard.