How has facebook emerged as a powerful marketing tool?

By on November 9, 2011

Not a day goes by without us logging into facebook/twitter to post or to check updates of our friends. What began as an online socialisation tool, which people used from their computers, has moved to be more than just that. With the advent of smartphones, the social media power has just increased manifold. People now carry facebook or twitter in their mobiles, and content is ‘pushed’ to the device. Which means as your friend changes his/her status message, you get to know about it and comment on it. Even if you are in the middle of a train journey.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. Social media penetration has a far bigger impact on our lives. It is now a powerful tool in the hands of corporates, who use it to creatively to market their products/services. But, How is this viable?

Lets take an example of an online retail website selling apparel.  You see an attractive offer on the site which says you get x% discount if you link your facebook account to their site. Wooed by the attractive discount percentage you go ahead to link your facebook with their site, and you avail the discount. The matter is over for you, but it is far from the beginning even for the seller. Once you approve the site to access your facebook account, the real work begins. You have just authorized the site to post content on your wall on your behalf, like their page, and given away your demographic details. How is this going to help the retailer?, you might think.

Facebook also has ads which page owners or advertisers can place across the site. These are customisable to the most fine detail. The advertiser can select many demographic parameters including location, age, gender of the audience. These  ads also offer the option of choosing the target audience fans(people who like the page), non-fans, or friends of fans. Among these three options, the last one is the most powerful. By linking your account to the advertisers site, or by liking a page, you are indirectly giving access to your facebook friends list. All these friends of yours will now see ads from the retailer on their facebook page. They will also see that you like the page.

So the advertiser is not actually advertising directly. He is simply using a universally successful concept called ‘peer-pressure’. Since the friend of yours knows that you like it and the ad is in front of his/her eyes, the chances that he/she likes the page(without conversion) are more, leading to a win for the advertiser as his lead base just got bigger! If the friend happens to visit the site, he/she is more likely to be converted because of the aforesaid pressure, leading to multiple wins for the advertiser in the form of a conversion, and also expansion of lead base!

Another interesting aspect about facebook as a marketing tool, is that it targets the entire funnel, and does not wait for the lead funnel output.

With a large base of virtually unlimited, and qualified leads, feacebook is changing the way companies now target their target audience. With the expense of such ads coming low (taking cues from Google’s pioneer CPC ads), this is how facebook has emerged as one of the most powerful social media marketing tools which companies are leveraging offlate.

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About Arvind R

Arvind believes that “Marketing is a function, inherent in every human being. A post graduate in Retail Management, he has worked with retail companies like Shoppers Stop and Spar, before venturing out on his own, and now is a successful entrepreneur running a manufacturing business. Click here to know more about him.