CMO Facebook

With the exponential growth of social media, especially Facebook, marketing executives have been challenged. Social media brings with it a whole new set of rules when it comes to measuring objectives, and Facebook marketers in particular are faced with:

  • Consumers who use Facebook want relevant experiences, less promotion and more interaction from brands
  • Facebook’s News Feed optimization algorithm makes it difficult to be seen in the newsfeed
  • The platform frequently changes the way content is viewed

Given the shifting nature of both the platform and its users, how can CMOs alleviate Facebook anxiety?

1. Get Into the Heads of Your Buyers

One of the first things executives can do to be more successful on Facebook is to switch their thinking from the campaign to the relationship—which means getting to know your customers better.  Ted Rubin, Chief Social Media Officer for Collective Bias and co-author of the new book Return on Relationship, gives us some insight on approaching Facebook from your customer’s perspective:

“Most executives view Facebook (and all social for that matter) as media—but they don’t know how to interact with consumers there in a meaningful way. They want to buy CPMs or Likes—but don’t know what to do with them afterward.

Executives also make the mistake of assuming that the social audience has the same pain and passion points as their face-to-face or store audience. Not true.

In order to get anywhere  with Facebook, you must connect emotionally to the people who are there and find out what they’re looking for. CMOs are used to ads and campaigns, so that’s the place they gravitate, but even Facebook ads are only media buys. Ads are good for building initial likes, but they really are targeted to demographics just like any other ad.

Your mission is to go beyond that initial like and really get people excited about your brand, engage with you, buy from you, become a social advocate and sell for you. To do that you need to get into the heads of your social buyers.

So assign that as a singular goal to appropriate personnel on your team. Make it their mission to follow or friend your followers (not only on Facebook, but elsewhere online) and listen to their conversations. Their sole mission should be to pay attention to your online consumers. Find out what they like to talk about, the other brands they like, what their problems are--what makes them tick. That’s not a one-and-done task either… it’s ongoing.”

2. Listen and Learn

As Ted suggests, paying attention will allow you to better connect to your audience’s needs and wants, which helps you create the kind of relevant content that gets likes, shares and comments. It’s that kind of relevancy that helps increase Facebook Edgerank and improve your company’s visibility. Paying attention doesn’t mean you can just leave this task up to your team, however. Many executives don’t spend time on Facebook themselves, but they should. Removing yourself from the technology makes it more difficult for you to be on the same page with your team and for your brand to maintain flexibility. So dive into those Facebook conversations and study the way people interact with each other. 

Social networking invites horizontal collaboration and co-creation opportunities for marketing teams that executives should embrace. For instance, a good way to take advantage of the collaborative nature of Facebook is to create a private group for your team that facilitates cooperation, conversation and creativity at all levels.

3. Employees as Brand Advocates

Your employees can be some of your company’s greatest social assets if you give them the tools and knowledge to do so. Create a company policy for using social platforms that empowers your employees to act as advocates. Let them know what’s acceptable and how they should react to both positive and negative posts. The socially-literate executive is in a better position to help his or her team reap the rewards of good interaction on Facebook as well as ward off PR disasters.

4. Remember, it’s a Conversation… Plan Accordingly!

One of the biggest challenges we hear about Facebook is platform changes. There’s definitely a learning curve, but many executives make the mistake of viewing Facebook as their “social presence” and get upset when the platform makes a big shift in its timeline or News Feed. Don’t get caught up in the look and feel--think of it as a conversation facilitator instead. You don’t own the conversation or the platform, but once you understand what your Facebook audience is seeking in the way of helpful content and interaction with your company, you’ll get better at connecting and building relationships with them no matter what changes come down the pike.  Monitor the conversations surrounding your brand, analyze social data and plan content that attracts customers and invites more conversation.

If you’re feeling anxiety about how to use Facebook effectively, get relief by re-thinking your social objectives.  Approaching the platform from your customers’ viewpoint rather than from a media broadcast perspective helps you connect emotionally to your audience. Actively listening to them helps you collaborate with your team to develop a plan for giving them what they want. Getting over fear with careful planning and incorporation of a company-wide social policy can make powerful advocates of your employees. In short, shifting your attitude around Facebook will help you influence followers not only in real time, but also in the right place and at the right time for capturing their attention. Once you get it right, the result can be brand advocacy at scale.

 Check out the free Facebook ebook below to learn more about how to succeed on the platform. This post originally appeared on the Marketing Cloud blog.

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