ClickZ and Business Week both offer stories today on how to leverage Facebook— without their upcoming targeted advertising.
Facebook for B2B
Tessa Wegert, writing at ClickZ, offers her plan for B2B networking and marketing on Facebook. Among the opportunities and benefits that she sees are:
- Brand evangelism (even if you have to do it yourself)
- Personal branding
- Establishing yourself as a thought leader
- Creating a Facebook group as yet another touchpoint for your brand
- And, possibly in the future, advertising targeted to workplace networks and business sectors.
To date, Facebook has been predominantly a personal social network, but that hasn’t stopped businesses and their proactive marketing and sales teams from adapting its existing features to suit their networking and promotional needs. As their own networks of business contacts grow friend by friend, so too does the site’s B2B community as a whole, and the opportunity for interactive marketers to target it.
Facebook for profit
Business Week’s feature by Maha Atal discusses how to turn Facebook’s platform to your profit. Some of his advice when looking to develop a Facebook application is especially relevant to all Web 2.0 efforts:
- A “free-and-easy attitude is all part of the territory, and other, more serious-minded ventures need to not only understand this attitude but be willing to live with it.”
- “Despite its exploding demographic, this is still a forum for the young: 56.4% of users are under 35, according to ComScore. Applications need to be appropriate and relevant to that audience.”
- “Kevin Rablois, vice-president for strategy at San Francisco-based Slide, the largest developer of Facebook applications, says there are two ways for a business application to grow: through exploiting its social side or by providing users with a means for self-expression.”
- “According to [Facebook Senior Platform Manager Dave Morin], too many companies still see applications as marketing rather than as new business. . . . [C]ompanies should be trying to make the application into a self-sustaining business that generates revenue through the service it provides on Facebook.”
- “[M]ost users expect Facebook to be entertaining and, well, free, so getting them to pay for an application directly is unlikely.”
- “Facebook . . . users expect applications to augment their social experience with little effort and at no cost”
- “Ultimately, the most successful applications are those whose business model, brand identity, and natural users match the culture and demographic on the network.”
Atal also examines the most popular “business” applications and their strategies, exposing flaws and weaknesses to make sure that you can avoid the same mistakes when creating your application.