AdAge this week reported that your “liking” a product on Facebook could trigger what is being called a “sponsored story.” This is where your smiling (or grimacing) face and positive comments appear twice: once in your friend’s news feed and again as a paid ad with the company logo listed as a “sponsored story.”
Facebook is in a position to leverage this type of content with almost 80 percent of the social networking traffic, according to social media marketing company, SocialTwist.
“Facebook is terming this a ‘word-of-mouth recommendation’ by ‘trusted friends,’ according to Vijay Pullur, CEO of SocialTwist, ‘but it’s a hard sell for users.’”
On the upside, you always did have a deep desire to become and model and a spokesperson. There’s just no remuneration. It’s not like you wanted to be paid to say nice things.
The obvious privacy issue should have you checking who your Facebook friends are. You should also be taking absolute control of how you “brand” yourself on every social media platform. Everything you say on the Net may well come back to bite – or if done right, help you.
Then there are the search engines. While your friends can see you love Dunkin Donuts turbo ice coffee, but also love Starbucks peppermint mocha latte, is this something you want searchable in Google? (Facebook would likely say, it could be searchable, depending on the privacy status).
Since the beginning of business, “word of mouth” advertising was gold. It was the type of advertising that good service could buy, but money could not.
“Earning trusted referrals from users is the Holy Grail in marketing. On Facebook, that means having these recommendations appear on users’ activity feed,” according to Pullur. “By packaging ‘sponsored stories’ as ‘trusted referrals’, Facebook is opening up sponsored stories as a higher value media buy. This will set the competitive stage for larger brands as they pour billions of dollars into trying to influence Facebook’s hundreds of millions of users.”
This begs the question will the smaller companies be able to compete, or is this too expensive? For the next few years, small companies can more than compete on a number of different social platforms, including Facebook. The key is to be authentic and to be a person AT a company, and not the company.
The stage is now being set a bit more every day for advertising targeted at you as an individual. Your likes, values, interest, opinions and attitudes (or psychographic data), is believed to be the key for the best, most effective and cost effective marketing.
While Forrester states that almost 80 percent of all Facebook users “like” a product page, Pullur warns of the potential dangers.
“… Brands may lose the authentic interaction with Facebook users and ‘community’ feel on Facebook fan pages as users think they are being used for ‘advertising.’ As a result, a drop in Facebook ‘likes’ is imminent as users may shy away from brand interactions.”
In other words, thou shalt not be creepy with your customer base. But expect to be “creeped out” just a bit in the near future.