After last Wednesday’s whirlwind Day 2 session, the Facebook Success Summit continued yesterday with three more informative sessions that covered a lot of Facebook ground. I’ll do my best to summarize the highlights.
Because of the length of this post, I’ve included anchor links so you can access a specific session directly or read through the entire post.
- Session 1: How Big B2B Businesses Are Leveraging the Power of Facebook
- Session 2: How to Benefit from Facebook Open Graph and Social Plugins
- Session 3: Applying Method to the Madness: Picking the Right Facebook Strategy
Session 1: How Big B2B Businesses Are Leveraging the Power of Facebook
Panel Discussion: Panel – Ekaterina Walter (Intel), LaSandra Brill (Cisco) and Brian Ellefritz (SAP). Moderator: Michael Stelzner
The panel discussion included individual presentations by each of the three panelists followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A session. The panel looked at some common ideas that often surface when using Facebook for B2B marketing:
- I thought Facebook was just for B2C.
- Only LinkedIn is good for B2B.
- People don’t use Facebook for business.
Ekaterina Walter from Intel was first to present. Intel started its Facebook page in 2008, and began its efforts primarily through trial and error.
Here are some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way:
- Social media, including Facebook, is about people talking to people. Users want to engage with you as a person and not so much engage with you as a business.
- Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which stories pop up in someone’s news feed when they first log in and posts are sorted by “Top Stories” (the default). On average, only 0.02% of posts are included in a user’s news feed. Anything you can do to increase engagement increases your chances of getting into that feed.
- Don’t automate your Facebook content. It’s never worked for them. They experienced far lower levels of engagement than when they began customizing every single update. Questions and polls work very well to encourage engagement.
- Video can be your secret weapon. Videos and photos get stronger weight within Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. When using video, don’t just link to video on YouTube. Upload the video to Facebook.
- Likewise, it’s best to post without using the link box that appears when you include a link your post. Close the link box before completing your post. Link boxes don’t carry any weight in Facebook’s News Feed algorithm.
- Encourage shares and mentions. Don’t be afraid to ask for them.
- Don’t be afraid to go off topic by wishing people happy holidays, etc. Talk to people like you would your friends to boost engagement.
- Create exclusivity. Offer your fans (or “Likers”) something non-fans can’t get.
- Develop moderation guidelines in advance. This tip has been mentioned throughout the Summit. You’ll want to decide in advance which posts you’ll delete and how you’ll respond to posts that may be abusive or critical.
LaSandra Brill (Cisco) was up next. Cisco currently has 80 Facebook pages (including their Cisco Networking Academy Group) with 450,000+ total combined fans.
Cisco’s primary objectives for all of their social media efforts are facilitating conversations, listening and engaging in conversation.
They’ve learned to:
- Welcome new people as they become fans. Their community manager tries to see their presence in Facebook as hosting a party of sorts, interacting with people as they arrive and socializing with them on an ongoing basis.
- Provide custom views for fans in which the Welcome page refreshes its content once someone Likes the page.
- Sign all admin posts. It adds personality to the brand.
- Tightly integrate the Facebook Like button into their blogs so those visiting blogs on Cisco.com can go directly to the associated Facebook fan page where they are encouraged to Like the page. Using Like button integration, they were able to expand their fan base by 4,800 fans in a very short time.
Brian Ellefritz (SAP) presented last. The SAP corporate Facebook page’s original audience was not recruited: it was built organically over time. They use Facebook as a place to test new techniques, best practices, what does and doesn’t work and for sharing user-presented ideas with the rest of the company.
Their focus is on great daily execution, setting goals and monitoring and managing performance.
- Having a clear documented strategy provides a roadmap. They documented where they wanted to be with the site, what they wanted their brand presence to be, their content strategy, developed an editorial calendar to support their content strategy and established community standards.
- Just sending out metrics didn’t work for them. SAP reviews its metrics monthly for trends, issues, evaluating new tactics, etc. They discovered that the best way to make use of the information was to hold meetings to discuss what those metrics are telling them and how they should react.
- They could successfully steer posts where they wanted them. At first, many of the postings were made by recruiters looking to fill positions with people who had SAP experience. Over time, Cisco gently directed those posts to a separate Job Center tab they created. This kept the postings out of their News Feed and reduced unwanted noise.
The panel then discussed:
- The main benefits of their Facebook presence. None of the three panelists could see a direct tie-in to sales from their Facebook presence. Main benefits included expanding the top of the lead funnel, increased website and blog traffic and click-throughs, brand building and engagement.
- Who handles their Facebook communities. There was general agreement that administering Facebook was much of a shared function that included cross-functional department involvement for input and support, and those who had responsibility for administering their Facebook page typically had other social media responsibilities as well.
- Tools they use. Several tools were mentioned that helped in managing their Facebook presence, including Sprinklr, Objective Marketer and others. Cisco uses Google Alerts to track mentions and posts on its page.
- What they use for Facebook metrics. All use Facebook Insights, although some of the data may need to be worked manually in order to get it into a useful format. Cisco integrates its data with Omniture and SAP outsources its analytics requirements to an agency.
Closing Thoughts: If you could give one piece of advice on using Facebook for business, what would it be?
- Don’t be afraid to try things. Every business is individual, with different objectives. Don’t be afraid to step away from something you think is safe. Look at content spikes to see what resonates with the community.
- Think about Facebook as a medium and decide how best to use it. Facebook provides an opportunity to connect with customers at a deeper level.
- Having a Facebook strategy is key because it will help you see clearly what you’re trying to accomplish and how to best interact with your audience.
Session 2: How to Benefit from Facebook Open Graph and Social Plugins
Paul and Richard are co-authors of Facebook Marketing for Dummies and Facebook Advertising for Dummies
Paul Dunay kicked off the session and discussed benefiting from Facebook’s open graph. Facebook’s “Open Graph” (or “Social Graph”) is used to describe the ability of developers to access Facebook’s API openly in order to create Facebook-specific apps that have access to information contained in Facebook profiles and to Facebook content. This information is then used to display customized information to users. He discussed how Facebook’s Open Graph is being used now as well as how it might be used in the future.
- The future of media is just one word…contextual. The Open Graph enables crowdsourcing.
- Measuring social media is not as hard as it looks. Using Open Graph will provide rich data behind it and we will see more apps that are highly trackable.
- Watch for everything to become more social.
- Marketers will be playing catch up with social media for a while longer. Get used to being behind the eight ball. Social will become increasingly pervasive in your marketing efforts and you’ll need to keep up.
- Keep building your social capital. Personally and professionally, your social assets (followers, likers, mentions, influence, etc.) could become some of the most important assets of your life.
The session continued with Rich Krueger’s discussion of benefiting from Facebook’s social plugins.
The Internet BFB (Before Facebook) consisted of websites that didn’t communicate with each other. Then, Facebook opened up its social graph, most notably on April 21, 2010 at its F8 Developer Conference, which entirely changed things. Since then, sites have become more social than ever before.
He explained that the 3 components of Facebook’s Open Graph are:
Facebook currently offers 8 social plugins:
- Like Button
- Like Box
- Comment Box
- Login Button
- Activity Stream
- Facepile Plugin
- Recommendations Plugin
- Live Stream Plugin
Expect to see more soon.
- Any website can implement Facebook Open Graph for free. It provides a completely integrated experience between websites and Facebook and standardizes the portability of user identities, their connections and content.
- The Like button is the easiest of social actions. It’s easier than “share” because there’s just one button and no choices to make. The Like button can be applied to anything, from brands to content to products and no authorization or privacy information is required.
- Many publishers are reporting substantial increases in traffic since adding social plugins. Examples include:
- ABC News (+190%)
- Gawker (+200%)
- TypePad (+200%)
- Sporting News (+500%)
- For NBA.com, the Like button is its #2 referral source.
- Visitors are more engaged and stay longer when their real identity and real friends are driving the experience through social plugins.
- Optimize your Like button By configuring the Like button to show friends’ faces and by placing the button near engaging content (not off on its own), you can expect click-through rates to improve by three to five times.
- When a person clicks Like, it publishes a story to their friends with a link back to your site; adds the content to the user’s profile; makes the content discoverable through Facebook search, which will be more and more of a traffic driver in the future.
Session 3: Applying Method to the Madness: Picking the Right Facebook Strategy
I enjoyed Jay’s presentation at the Social Media Success Summit and was not disappointed with his presentation here, which discussed various strategies you can consider for your Facebook business presence.
He noted two common problems with companies who use Facebook:
- Doing too much
- Not doing enough
The causes for both problems are the same: not having a Facebook strategy.
- The goal isn’t to be good at Facebook…the goal is to be good at business because of Facebook. Unless you are an agency providing these services, you are not in the Facebook Fan page business and you should never lose sight of that.
- Facebook isn’t free. Your Facebook business presence will require planning time, building time, possible expenditures on third-party consultants, possible paid apps, operations time, content planning, execution time, tweaking, time for responding to Facebook changes, analysis and reporting time.
- Facebook will require more work than your website. Many experts recommend that you update your Facebook page three or more times per day for maximum effectiveness. When was the last time you updated your website three times a day?
- Key Facebook strategy questions include:
- Why are we doing this?
- Who is our audience?
- What do we want them to do?
- How will we know if it’s working?
- Five Facebook strategies for businesses:
- Create New Awareness. To create awareness, win the news feed.
- Increase Sales. Use special offers, Fan-only offers, add direct response and ecommerce options, generate sales in the real world through your Facebook presence.
- Market Research & Insight Generation. Facebook can be a relatively inexpensive living focus group because people love to share their opinions. You can also mix your research efforts with promotional efforts, just don’t bang the drum too loudly.
- Customer Service. You can build a full-service customer service platform like AT&T or just listen proactively.
- Context, Relevancy & Integration. You can use Facebook’s Open Graph API to improve the experience for your other content; you can also use Facebook for influence mining, data mining and more.
- Know why you’re on Facebook.
- Decide on a scoreboard. (Know what you’ll be measuring.)
- Focus first on Likes.
- Create more content, more oftenand make it compelling.
- Activate fans, don’t collect them. Get them involved with your research, with voting in polls, etc. Give them assignments to get them engaged.
- Never be discouraged. Facebook (and social media) are always changing. If you feel like you’re not doing all you can do now, tomorrow’s another day.
Did you attend any of these sessions of the Facebook Success Summit 2010? If so, what were your takeaways? If not, what are your thoughts on the future of Facebook and your experiences with using Facebook and other forms of social media marketing as a marketing tool?