What Would Zuckerberg Do?
January 24, 2012
Sometimes it's hard to immediately see the value of social networking as this incredible tool to conversationally drive consumers to the main brand. It can also be very tough to get past the reality that it typically takes time to build a community on these social platforms.
Perhaps it’s because many in radio approach this platform with the thinking, "What's the purpose of Facebook if we can't monetize it in the same way we can monetize a rating point from Arbitron?"
“What are we even doing on Facebook?”
A good starting point is to ask yourself this: What is your priceless asset?
There's a great part in the movie "The Social Network" when Mark Zuckerberg says “No” to placing ads right away on "The Facebook." The great part is not that he said "No," but WHY he said it.
Just as Facebook starts seeing some success, Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg's friend says, "It's time to monetize the (web)site."
And Zuckerberg asks, "What does that mean?"
Saverin's rationale goes like this: "It means it's time for the website to start generating revenue ... that means advertising." Or capitalizing on what they already perceive is something very successful.
But Zuckerberg immediately says "no" -- and here's why.
As he tells Saverin, "We don't even know what (Facebook) is yet, we don't know what it can be, and we don't know what it will be ... we know that it's cool. That is a priceless asset and I'm not giving that up."
What if radio stations took that same approach to using Facebook - that “Like” pages are something of a priceless asset?
Facebook offers the ability to tap into our target’s turf - their own personal space online - and through indirect conversations about our brands we get identify each radio stations true social mouthpieces to grow our reach and ratings.
Look, all of the other digital avenues (e.g.; the stream, blogs, podcasts, e-mail marketing and text databases, digital display ads, etc...) have a higher threshold of consumer tolerance for ads.
Facebook status updates do not.
So what about the idea of letting go, being patient, and not stressing out about monetizing something we don't even know what it is yet -- or what it can be?
What about being more strategic and customizing posts to meet specific goals - not just advertising, promoting or having superficial conversations?
Think about my friend Dave Savage’s analogy, “I always think about that scene in A Christmas Story where the kid wants his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring. He was so excited to get it and when he did and unscrambled his first "important message", the message was "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine". Then he said, "It's a crummy commercial" and never had anything to do with it again.”
The primary purpose behind people using Facebook is to talk and to build relationships. If we use it as a promotional device - talking at them and not with them - we're interfering and jeopardizing a priceless asset.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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