Facebook an effective tool for brand promotion: Carolyn Everson

MUMBAI: Facebook has changed the way the present generation all over the globe communicates, and the world has become smaller with various social media platforms providing opportunities to draw people closer.

In this environment, Facebook can be quite an effective tool for brand promotion, especially if it is consumer interaction that one is targeting.

Facebook had a reported 845 million users all over the world as on December 2011. Having been on the scene for the past eight years, the social media website has seen a lot of changes, the latest being the Facebook Timeline. Earlier a Facebook profile only consisted of the individual’s personal information, photographs and interests etc.

Speaking at the 13th FICCI Frames in Mumbai, Facebook VP Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said, “The Facebook Timeline can be considered a digital container where one can capture a person’s or a brand’s entire life span in photos, notes and videos.” With the introduction of the timeline, Facebook now enables people and brands to have a more expressive and visual online identity.

Along with the timeline, Facebook has also adopted the opengraph technology which enables seamless sharing on multiple media. As a result the site tied up with the Washington Post in the US and introduced the Washington Post reader application. In a matter of eight weeks the application’s readership exceeded the readership of the regular print copy. In India a similar tie up has been done with CNN.

News is just one aspect of media and entertainment that Facebook has partnered. The other fields include music (Spotify and Saavn), gaming (Zynga) and films. Everson explained, “In the US a new film does not release without significant campaign or presence on Facebook. Now Facebook allows integration on large scale across media like TV, print and phones which helps accessibility.”

Decoding the success of Facebook, Everson explained that the site’s psyche is based on an anthropological study. Throughout history, people have existed in communities. These communities have varied from 130 to 140 individuals over time. Interestingly, this corresponds to the average number of friends a Facebook user has. It draws from the basic instinct of humans to co-exist in communities, have networks and seek recommendations by friends and peers.

When it comes to marketing and branding, Facebook provides an opportunity for consumer interaction and allows brands to open up a two way channel for communication and actually listen to it. As Everson explained, “Social discovery is the most powerful driver of human behaviour in the world today.” With the scope and scale that Facebook offers, it can help in driving human behaviour which is the main goal of any advertising or marketing initiative.

The world is now moving from ads to stories. Hammering is a thing of the past as the trend now is to share stories. With Facebook’s timeline feature, stories can now appear as news feeds on different platforms like smartphones which helps in targeting a specific audience. According to Everson, 800 million brands have shifted to the new timeline.

Also, the Like button which was introduced a couple of years earlier Timeline can also be used to create a buzz about brand and measure the effectiveness of campaigns online.

Concluding the session, Everson said Facebook is conscious about the content it uploads and strives to operate according to the feedback of the various communities it functions in. She said, “We would say we are one per cent along in our journey and are always open to partnerships.”

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