Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why Facebook's growth models the need for interactive marketing

Considering recent statistics that show Facebook continues to grow, I have to wonder, "Why? How do they do it? And how can I apply Facebook's success to my own marketing and public relations strategies?"

After all, no one ever says "MySpace me." MySpace has gained popularity with bands and other groups, but the major social network remains Facebook. Perhaps this is because Facebook never stays the same. While many have complained about the many changes in layout, the new layouts give users something new to get excited about. I only recently saw the movie The Social Network. In the movie, Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) mentions that his site will always be changing.

Change. The world is constantly changing, and we need to change with it, especially in our marketing and public relations strategies. But one more important lesson for marketers comes out of Facebook: the importance of interaction.

In the movie, The Social Network, Zuckerberg also says Facebook provides people with the opportunity to connect online, to learn about each other through status and relationship updates.

Such interaction has its downsides. An old professor of mine recently stopped using Facebook because he believed it negatively affected relationships by keeping people from interacting in person. His choice should come as a warning to marketers. Without genuine interaction, Facebook negatively impacts some of its users. It's up to you, as the representative of your company, to show that your company does genuinely care. The accusation that Facebook facilities fake relationships and keeps people away from real, personal relationships should make us work even harder to prevent that very thing from happening.

How do you increase interactions with customers and keep those interactions genuine?


  1. Bloomberg Business week has an article on "Creating Web Addicts...." There's a business niche called "gamification" for "game mechanics" who add interactive content to web sites. Some types of content:

    - Games and drawings (appeals to sense of fun)
    - Countdown timers for special offers (appeals to sense of urgency)
    - Special deals for users who return at specified times (appeals to deal-seekers)
    - Colorful emblems (e.g., badges) for users who perform certain tasks (e.g., visiting the site 30 times) (appeals to sense of accomplishment)
    - Awarding points for activities and then ranking the users (appeals to desire for social status)
    - Progress bars that remind users to complete tasks (e.g., filling in your profile) (appeals to fear of leaving things unfinished)

    Customer loyalty programs online generally involve only the cost of setting up the program, whereas real-world loyalty programs usually cost for set-up plus the cost of freebies given to customers (e.g., every tenth cup of coffee free).

  2. Sorry, I lost the date in the editing. The "Bloomberg Businessweek" article is in the January 24 - 30, 2011 issue. The pages are not numbered.