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Marketers (Still) Taking Facebook Seriously–With Good Reason

It’s always great when the mainstream media realizes (again) that something is big—like social media marketing or Facebook. The Wall Street Journal posted an article Friday on the popularity of social media marketing on Facebook. Okay, so really they were reporting about the Social Data Summit in New York Thursday.

At the summit, Facebook’s social graph was the brass ring—everybody wanted a way to tap into the friend data and relationships in Facebook, but most users aren’t happy with sharing that information. Beacon, Facebook’s efforts to leverage friendship data and connections for people (and selected advertisers), will officially come to an end once a court approves a class-action settlement.

It’s little wonder Facebook friends are so highly prized to marketers—according research firm Nielsen Claritas, Facebook’s audince is a far more affluent demographic these days than that of the former social media king, MySpace:

According to the research, the top third of lifestyle segments relative to affluence (aka the “richest” users) are 25% more likely to use Facebook than those in the lower third. The bottom third segments related to affluence (aka the “poorest”) are 37% more likely to use MySpace. Also of note, Facebook users are more likely to use LinkedIn, a site for professional business networking, and again, another factor which points towards the differences in demographics between the two social networks.

So if Beacon is out, what can marketers do to leverage social connections without freaking people out?

Well, you could ask. That’s what Red Robin is doing. They’ve found that simply having fans isn’t enough—those fans have to be active. (Admit it: how often do you go digging through what all your friends are fans of and viewing those pages?) So when customers check out, the restaurant includes an online survey address on the receipt (with incentives for taking the survey, of course—cash prizes).

As part of the survey, they are asked to recommend Red Robin to a friend via their Facebook profile. (This makes it sound like RR is asking people to go to individuals’ profiles to post on their wall, but the rest of AdAge’s coverage sounds more like the people surveyed can just post on their own wall.)

What do you think? Are you trying your hand at Facebook marketing? Will Red Robin’s campaign be effective, or will that still be considered an invasion of privacy by some?

  • http://www.empathica.com Lauren

    I work with Empathica, the company behind the GoRecommend tool, and I just wanted to help clarify how it works. Customers who had a great experience are asked if they would like to make a recommendation on Facebook. The GoRecommend application automatically posts that recommendation to the recommender’s Facebook page, thus exposing the positive comments to all of their Facebook friends. The customer who gave the recommendation can also opt to easily send a brief e-mail message to select friends (sometimes with a coupon to that establishment also included). You can read more about it at http://www.empathica.com/gorecommend.html