Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Social Media Connections Still King

With Facebook’s recent adaption of the Timeline page layout for brand pages, many Facebook marketers have shifted their focus to improving the look of their brand page.  While a shiny new layout is always exciting (“koodos” to Telus for the most creative use of the new layout I have seen to date), it is important not to forget that Facebook is primarily a conduit to connections.  For well over a decade, online marketing has focused on websites, to which marketers have attempted to drive traffic.  For many brands on Facebook the biggest challenge is shifting their thinking away from their Facebook page as a destination, and embracing their page as a broadcast tool.  The danger of a change to Facebook’s layout of brand pages, with Timeline being the most significant to date, is that marketers revert back to treating their Facebook page like a destination.

Initial reports on the change to page layout point to increased levels of interaction (link). Which is no surprise, given that Zuckerberg has an incredible knack for overcoming internal and external resistance to change, to ultimately produce an offering that strikes a balance between usefulness, simplicity and engagement.  The fact remains however, that the easiest way to develop a connection with a consumer at scale is through Facebook advertising, and the best way to foster that connection is through a sound publishing strategy.   At no point in a “relationship” between a brand and their fan base is a visit to a brand’s Facebook page a critical step; and even in cases where a visit to a brand page occurs, the ongoing interaction after the fact is generally going to happen in a user’s Newsfeed.