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Facebook Regional VP Speaks in Nashville

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September 3, 2009 by Rebecca Bauer

REGIONAL VP OF SALES FOR FACEBOOK SPEAKS IN NASHVILLE

There are 250 million users on Facebook which makes it the 4th largest website in the world, and if it were a country, it would be the 4th largest country in the world.  (I checked the stats, it’s true)

This affirmed by Mike Haines, Regional Vice President of Sales for the Southeast at Facebook who spoke to almost 200 members and guests of the Nashville American Marketing Association yesterday on how businesses can utilize Facebook to fulfill their marketing objectives.

THE BENEFITS

REAL TIME – What began 5 years ago as merely a platform for college students to connect, has evolved into a global platform for not only social individuals, but for businesses as well.  Leveraging two-way engagement allows businesses to connect to customers in real time while driving brand awareness and sales.  “Every change we’ve made to the sight has created a lot of iterations, establishing identity in real time,” says Haines.

AUTHENTICITY – I love this word and wish nothing more than authenticity in people and their work.  With Facebook, there are nearly 200 unique identifying characters on their page.  Embellishments aside, members’ profiles and pictures create an authentic identity making it easy for a business to know intricately who people are and gaining sustainability in reaching their target market.

Haines does divulge, “Facebook is not our product – The social web is the product, a living breathing organism with billions of connectors around the globe.”  This “social graph of the world,” he calls it, creates connections of long-term value while driving brand awareness and sales.

Most importantly, Facebook harnesses the most trusted source of marketing – word of mouth.  When making buying decisions, 80% of people will say referral is the top motivator.  Haines calls it, “The most powerful since dawn of time and will continue to be so.”  And, as ROI has always been a challenge, with a significant shift in the number of people on Facebook, it now ‘scales’ and can provide real measures.

KEYS TO SOCIAL MARKETING

While I believe it’s still important to integrate offline and online marketing, social marketing offers its own measures and rewards.  But, as Haines points out, businesses should think strategically and avoid using old metrics to define success.  “Everybody can leverage this platform in a unique way.”

Engagement Plan – It’s Important to develop a plan with “Committment, collaboration and alignment.”

Using your own tone, voice and brand persona, will make it appropriate and work for you.  For those reluctant, Haines encourages businesses to, “Stick to a plan, learn from it and move on.”

Some Sizeable Statistics:

*People are becoming fans 4 ½ million times a day

*15 billion minutes are spent on the Facebook homepage making it the “Most engaging page in the world”, creating 40% organic impressions with action rates in 90th percentile

*This is 5 times higher than internet average

*Publishing into a stream more popular than the top TV show

*Average 20 minutes a day on Facebook

“That’s the reality of a social world, it’s all about creating connections.”   It’s a successful channel for B2C and an ever increasing opportunity for B2B while really driving the ‘intent to purchase’ will have you closer to your marketing goals than ever before.

HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MARKET

Ad Campaigns – Given authentic data, a company can build targeting clusters whether based on geographic or demographic qualities, as well as key words from a profile.  Think you can’t reach the real decision makers?  There are age 40+ executives with the name of who they work for and “Vice President” or “Director” right there in their job title.  Pay per click advertising is easy and targeted while allowing you to control your budget and schedule.

Follow – For first-hand knowledge, become a fan of the most successful Facebook marketers like Coke, Starbucks and Warner Brothers.  Papa John’s executed a promotion giving a free pizza to every fan that joined their page that resulted in 300,000 new fans in one week.  Along with discount offers posted on a regular basis, that has turned into increase in online and phone orders with profits far exceeding the cost of free pizza.  Target has been instrumental in cause-related marketing grabbing the socially conscious audience.  Ben and Jerry’s, Haines likes to say, “Doesn’t have a Chief Marketing Officer, they have a Chief Euphoria Officer.”

Action – Use the Homepage, links and profile attributes to create social action.  Haines states at any given time among connected friends, there are 1 million actions triggered.  One person averages 120 friends, multiply that by 1 million actions and your equaling millions of free traffic and impressions.  News feeds help incorporate brand and promotional based marketing and create affinity and emotional connection.

It’s up to you to create what’s next,” Haines says, “We don’t’ know what is yet to be created.”  What is most amazing to me is that Facebook has literally developed to scale a mirror image of the general population of online users – with the fastest growing categories of age 35 and over and age 50+ women.  So does this make Facebook now the perfect marketing sample? Haines says, “Jump in and get started, learn and iterate.”  Minus the ad campaigns, it’s potentially a few million free customers for you.

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Rebecca Bauer

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