“Facebook is a personalised newspaper,” said Roxanne Somboonsiri, global business manager for Facebook APAC, at HP’s Brand Innovation Summit 2015 held on 17 June 2015 at Resorts World Sentosa.
She noted that social media had greatly evolved from its humble beginnings of driving much simpler objectives such as “Likes”, “Fans” and “Sentiment”, among users. It has now grown to become a leading platform to enable marketers to move from merely fulfilling social objectives to expanding their businesses.
According to Somboonsiri, the term “social media” will slowly dissipate as the role of digital platforms takes centre stage, while steadily transforming into a more impactful way of engaging with people at scale. This, in turn, could help marketers deliver on core objectives such as in-store or online sales.
As people are increasingly shifting to mobile around the globe, technology has evolved more rapidly to cater to the way people connect with each other and share information. This is particularly true in the Asia Pacific region where smartphone adoption is rapidly increasing.
Mobile has become the main medium on which people are spending their time.
“The key takeaway here is that there is a lot of change impacting consumers, media, and ultimately, marketers right now,” she said.
“In times of such change, you have the opportunity to lead the way or the possibility of being left behind.”
Moreover, based on information that people provide to Facebook via their profile, pages they like and apps they download, it enables Facebook to provide marketers with the ability to reach exactly who you are looking for at scale.
“For example, in the past, you’d only be able to reach adults 18-49, who like sports. Now, you’re able to target John, who’s 29, single, watches NASCAR, eats at Chili’s and works 9-5. Or Sally, who’s 38, married and has three children.”
The availability of data can now provide relevant marketing to relevant people so as to not waste dollars when it comes to marketing to 74 million users on Facebook.
“We can help you reach the people that you care about: your customers and your potential customers,” she said.
Making a case for marketers to advertise on Facebook, she shared tips on how to leverage the social networking site to drive traffic on websites and encourage online orders.
“In deciding what a creative newsfeed is, marketers need to ask themselves, ‘is it on brief, is it a relevant story, does it have thumb-stopping power?’” she said.
This is especially critical in APAC where the use of mobile is exponentially increasing.
“When somebody is on the phone, marketers have to have the ability to stop and capture the audience’s attention.”
Ensure brand relevance
“Keep the ads short and sweet and ensure brand relevance at all times,” she said, emphasising the tone has to fit the brand’s personality well enough to drive brand recall.
An example, she cited, was Starbucks’ green straw used in its advertising – this, according to her, helped maintain the brand’s consistency through its various campaigns while generating brand recall.
Use the right imagery for the right time
Use imagery designed for mobile – if it looks good on mobile, it looks good on desktop as well, since having an obvious focal point drives ad recall, she shared. Brands should also be timely with their creative ads to coincide with specific events and holidays.
“Create something based on the events that are relevant and timely for the target audience. People will have a better connection with your brand when you evoke emotion.”
Content is king
“On Facebook, your content is your marketing,” she said.
To engage consumers where your story lands in their Newsfeed or on the side of the page, it is essential to capture their attention in a way that encourages participation. The key questions marketers should ask themselves are:
1. Is the language as tight as it can be and under 90 characters?
- If no, cut non-essential words. Keep sentences short. Use active voice. Include a call to action early.
- Posts with less than 250 characters see about 60% more engagement.
2. Could the story only come from your brand?
- If no, make sure it aligns to your specific values and identity. Or tweak the copy so that it sounds like something your brand or mascot would say.
- Ads where the brand is immediately identifiable perform better in terms of recall and purchase consideration.
3. Does the image or video thumbnail provide a clear visual cue for your story?
- If no, swap in a visual that users can easily connect to your message and brand.
4. Does it offer value to the user?
- If no, consider what you could post that will make your audience happy to be connected to you.
- Some ideas to adapt: An interview with the CEO/owner, a link to an article on a subject of interest to your audience, an insider discount code.
5. Is there a reason to post this story today?
- If no, find a way to tie the post to the news, current events, holidays or the season.
More importantly, storytelling is a key ingredient to marketing success on Facebook.
“We remember stories that are told versus facts. Brands have the capabilities to tell wonderful stories, but what makes consumers attract? What stories will you tell?”
Effective storytelling, she says, has the ability to deepen a consumer’s emotional connection by reminding them what they love most about the brand. Given this, a consumer is more likely to like, comment, or share a post, if it reinforces their choice to attach their identity to a particular brand, she said.
Marketing to consumers on Facebook necessitates the need to identify key emotional triggers that inspire brand attachment and loyalty.
“These triggers are core marketing assets, and they should dictate how you engage your fans on Facebook. They are the cornerstones of your page publishing and sponsored story strategy.”