A New Way to Connect: Social Media Marketing vs. Traditional Search Marketing
About The Author:Q&A with Jeev Trika of topseos.com and Tim Kendall of Facebook
What is your name and background?
Tim Kendall, Director of Product Marketing for Monetization at Facebook.
What is your role with Facebook?
I manage our online advertising solution, Facebook Ads.
What is social media marketing (SMM)?
At the heart of it, the Internet is shifting from a place for finding information to the social hub of people’s lives. Because people on Facebook have expressly defined their interests and are using Facebook to share and discover, marketers can reach and influence people before they search and Facebook Ads can help marketers generate demand for products and services long before a person has even thought of doing a search.
How do businesses engage the consumer in SMM as compared to traditional search marketing (TSM)?
For the most part, search marketing is about demand fulfillment. A person has most likely already made up their mind about what they are looking for and the search engine helps them find the easiest or cheapest place to buy it. It’s like comparison shopping. Marketing in a more social environment can help marketers create demand by targeting people in more meaningful ways and by creating organic awareness. So when my friend on Facebook becomes a fan of a brand or makes a comment about a product, I will see that action in his News Feed and that may spark my own awareness of the product and I might take a similar action. In this sense, social media marketing can be more like a powerful word-of-mouth tool – one of the most effective tools for driving action.
There is added opportunity for the brand as well. Once someone has taken action, marketers can maintain on ongoing relationship with that person through relevant updates to their Facebook Page. This type of two-way dialogue is something online advertising has long promised but is not possible through traditional banner ads or search marketing. It is a unique offering from social sites like Facebook.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of SMM versus TSM?
There are quite a few unique advantages to marketing on a social platform like Facebook.
For one, people offer a lot of information about themselves on the social Web. Almost all (96%) of Facebook’s 200 million users offer some demographic data about themselves. They also share more than 28 million pieces of content and 18 million users update their status at least once a day. This information allows marketers to understand their audience with psychographic and demographic information and precisely target users with information that matters to them while still maintaining user privacy. For example, MRBarbershop, an upscale local barbershop in San Francisco made over twenty times their advertising investment in two months of their Facebook Ads campaign by targeting users by age, location, and education background.
Another advantage is that marketers can reach people before they search for something, and the number of people potentially interested in a marketer’s service vastly exceeds the number of people who happen to search for it. For example, the design firm Egg Haus was able to find new employees by targeting people who were interested in design, but not necessarily looking for a job.
What consumer trends are showing SMM to be more effective?
Connecting and sharing through the web has become an integral part of so many people’s lives. We’re seeing more and more people engage with friends on Facebook - from about 80 million people in June 2008 to more than 200 million today. Connecting and sharing at this scale creates meaningful opportunities for marketers to engage with their customers.
What type of business would benefit the most from SMM?
What we have seen is that all types of businesses can benefit from social media marketing. We have relationships with 73 of the top 100 U.S. advertisers and we have tens of thousands of businesses who advertise using our online system. These businesses include small, local and online businesses who can find and engage their customers on Facebook. We also have over 300,000 Facebook Pages by companies representing services, consumer packaged goods, autos, food, retail, entertainment, small businesses and more.
How is Facebook meeting the SMM needs of businesses?
People are on the social Web, so if companies and brands want to reach them, they need to be on the social Web too. More importantly, Facebook helps companies evolve the way they market to their audiences by giving them the ability to forge real social engagement with consumers that have relevant social context. We think this will be a profound improvement for the way marketers and consumers interact.
It’s important to make sure that this level of connection doesn’t come at the cost of simplicity. We make sure that the Facebook online ads system is easy to use while at the same time helping businesses quickly connect with their customers.
What is the future of SMM in regard to advances or roadblocks?
For brand marketers, I think you’ll see a tighter integration between offline and online campaigns, using sites like Facebook to engage at a deeper level with consumers. And, I think you’ll see this go both ways – campaigns starting online and incorporating offline elements as well as offline creative getting extended online. For advertisers interested in generating demand, I think we’ll see greater precision in targeting and a deeper level of campaign reporting. Anecdotally, we’ve heard that some advertisers are seeing a better cost-per-conversion on Facebook than some other online vehicles. We think with some new targeting abilities and advanced campaign reporting, we will see this trend continue.
There are also some things that need to change in the industry including how marketers and agencies buy and plan online campaigns. The creative community has a big opportunity to create some of the first truly interactive and engaging online campaigns. Marketers need to be open to new ideas in a world that is more real-time and more social than it ever has been.