Successful Facebook Marketing Requires A Community

By Justin Lafferty 

For years, social marketing was largely spurred by brands. But now, a company can’t just push a message on Facebook and expect its fans to buy into it. As social customer engagement platform Get Satisfaction points out in its newest white paper, creating a cohesive network of fans who are willing to talk to each other about the company is the next step for brands to succeed both on Facebook and other social networks.

In a recent white paper, Get Satisfaction breaks down the history of social marketing into two generations: first and second.

First-generation largely had the brand as the hub of discussion, with very little interaction between fans:

However, now that social media has become more developed and omnipresent, the cycle of communication looks more like this:

Get Satisfaction found out that while people still prefer to gather information for a purchase off a website (81 percent of consumers use a company website to research products), a lot of people use Facebook to learn about a brand’s community. According to the white paper, 58 percent of people surveyed by The Incyte Group have joined an Internet community based on a friend’s Facebook post.

For success with Facebook marketing, Get Satisfaction Vice President of Marketing Azita Martin told AllFacebook that brands need to have some kind of place where users can go to discuss the product. She noted that brands can’t always respond to every question or comment on Facebook, so that’s where trusted advocates and experienced customers come in. By facilitating that kind of community, users can engage in a discussion about that brand.

Martin talked with AllFacebook about how brands can switch from first-generation marketing to second-generation:

The first step is you need a customer community. A customer community is what enables you to drive engagement at every stage of the customer life cycle. When we designed the Get Satisfaction customer community, one of the most important missions for the company was, we are designing a solution for the consumers to get together and get resolution and answers on products and services (of a specific company). … Start a customer community so that your customers can connect to each other and be able to get resolutions to their questions and be able to describe to customers your product. I think that the fundamental difference between having a customer community and having a Facebook fan page is that resolution piece of it.

As we’ve covered before, users are much more likely to trust a message coming from a Facebook friend than a brand. Get Satisfaction also noted that Facebook posts, unless they are super-engaged, tend to have a very short life. A great discussion could take place, but only last for a few minutes.

Get Satisfaction also published an informative infographic about the types of fans who are most willing to join a community:

Readers: Where do you go to get more information or ask questions about a brand?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.