Thursday, July 10, 2008

Is Facebook Good For Your Business or a Timewaster For Your Staff?

On 30 October 2007 Digital Harbour hosted a Facebook for business seminar in the Innovation Building

Facebook the latest global social networking craze has swept the county over the past few months, becoming the social site of choice, especially when it comes to professionals in the digital industries. Does Facebook offer any value to businesses, or is it stealing employees time? Ultimately, is this a passing fad, like hula hoops and Twitter, or is it the shape of communications and communities in the future? The media recently reported that Facebook could cost employers up to $5 billion a year in productivity. There are more than 1.5 million Australian Facebook users, with reportedly more than 100 Australians joining the phenomenon each hour. Whether you are an active Facebooker, a frustrated employer watching your employees time trickle away, or a brand keen to infiltrate a new market, you are likely to have something to say and something to learn about Facebook. In this debate we aim to explore and challenge the various ideas currently being touted in blogs and mainstream media, as well as bring you an insight into the plethora of Facebook stories: brands who have worked within the Facebook walls effectively and those who have not.

Event Notes by James Portz

Speaker 1: Philip Phelan

Philip Phelan is Director of Glass, an inter-disciplinary research and communications planning consultancy, a Facebooker, and a slightly sceptical digital and mobile advocate.

Excessive Face Book (FB) is a symptom not a cause
Shift in advertising
Fosters innovation
Fosters greater interaction
One brand ambassador is better than Ten
FB may be like JUDGEMENT DAY
- Modern, Open, Transparent, Dynamic- You may not like what users say

Not everyone uses FB the same way

  • Keep in touch
  • Grab attentions
  • Distribute information
  • Shape opinion
  • Operating System
Social Operating System
  • Friendship
  • Sex & Relationship
  • Individual Creativity
  • Personal Advancement
  • Discovery & Exploration
1.5 Million Australian users per month

More mature than other social networks, more educated, white collarApplication to map network of contactsVisibility creates comfort

Tips for Marketers
  • Use the social connections
  • KISS
  • Mimic the user experience features
  • Post Organisation Events
  • Join Groups
  • Deliver a value exchange
  • Personal space
  • Sponsor or co develop application
  • Plan to involve users all the way through
Eg 1. Summer Heights High Appreciation Society
Fan Site set up by the ABC 5,000 membersViral marketing Campaign for organisation with little marketing budget.

Eg2. We want funky little pubs in Sydney
Lobby/Activist Group 6,000 membersCreative grass rootsPetitionsTimelyFundraising

Eg3. Target
Sponsored groupUni Student focusDesign/affordabilityBack to school campaign increased sales in this segment $6.1 millionFacilitated party planning & redecoration Dorm survival guide
FB wasn't the ideal place for their traditional market.Be respectful of FB environment

When it goes wrong
WalmartWas bagged because of its work place policies
McDonaldsCareers - negative feedback by former employees, company ended up switching off comments
View McDonalds FB Group
FB for business still in betamode.Business needs to embrace mess, variation and complexity
Marketing with FB is more like marketing communications than advertising

Speaker 2: Steven Johnson (Mosaic)

Stephen Johnson is Founder and Managing Director of Mosaic. Stephen is a brand and experience architect known for his conceptual and strategic abilities. He is an educator and public speaker in virtual communication and social media innovation.

It may be daunting for your company
Built on open API exposing it's closed social graph. Shield each of it's users behind a cloak of absolute privacy

Swam Intelligence

"Artificial Intelligence technique based on the
collective behaviour in decentralized self organised systems. Typically made up
of a population of simple agents i.e. FB agents interacting with one another in
their environment."

When Less becomes More

Often restricting options can have an amazingly positive effect on conversation. Enforcing structure can have a tremendously positive impact on innovation

Open Dialogue "Could be dangerous if you don't have a voice to answer back"
Are people tired of endless Choice? - Sounds counterintuitive

  • Simplify
  • Optimise
  • Partly Restrict
"Closed is the new open" Does it restrict intimacy? Stops Spam
"Users don't care is an application is closed"
"Build a closed eco system on top of it's own social graph

Success 3 million users in 3 Months
Top Friends Network Decrease the barrier to adoption to lower the barrier to spread the word about an application

Popular FB Applications

  • Circle Of Friends
  • Kiss Me
  • Fun work
  • Poke Pro
  • Friends Wheel
The FB gift store is a good way to raise revenue
FB Apps - easy load but are they any use?
Consideration Unless you are capturing some data from FB app is it worth it?

Broad Themes driving Change
1. Personalisation

2. Collaboration and Community
3. Visualisation (weighting of popular items and topics i.e. Tag Clouds
4. Ubiquity digital channels becoming more pervasive/holistic
5. Immediacy (instantaneous)
6. Digitisation of the inner circle

"Well, our first dip into Facebook was a bit of a learning curve! We set
SlatteryIT up as we have set up ourselves personally, only to be kindly reminded by clever ones that the whole spirit of facebook is about linking up "people" and not linking companies with people. So, welcome to our second try. We are now a group! Hope this works! Thank you for visiting." - Rachel Slattery

Consumer Generated Media Social Networks are reshaping the context of marketing communications towards collaborative.
Digital is enabling new behaviourRicher levels of engagementIs becoming the dominant channel for consumer fulfilment

Giving the average Joe a voice
Baby steps to getting it right
Embrace Social Network for business is a shift in authority
Touch your target audience if you don't participate your brand may become invisible
Loyalty, Commitment, Advocacy
Use FB to build loyalty with existing users

Additional Reading

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