What Would Zuckerberg Do?
April 5, 2011
Sometimes it's hard to immediately see the value of social networking as an incredible tool to conversationally drive consumers to the main brand. It's also very tough to get past the reality that it typically takes time to build a community on a platform, especially one that we haven't grown up with.
So you'll often hear questions like "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 do we even do with Facebook?
A good starting point is to ask yourself this: What is your most valuable asset?
There's a great part in the movie "The Social Network" when Mark Zuckerberg says thumbs down to putting ads right away on "The Facebook." The great part is not that he said "No," but WHY he said it.
Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg's friend who is listed today as co-founder of Facebook, 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, we don't know what it will be ... we know that it's cool. That is a priceless asset I'm not giving up."
What if we in radio took that same approach to using Facebook? That's because a station's "Like/Fan" page is something that is also a priceless asset.
All the other digital avenues (the stream, blogs, podcasts, e-mail marketing campaigns, digital display ads) aren't just sellable, most have a higher threshold of consumer tolerance for ads.
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?
The primary purpose behind Facebook is to talk, to engage, and to build relationships. If we start using it as a promotional device - talking at them and not with them - we're interfering and perhaps jeopardizing a priceless asset.
Up until the digital era, radio relationships were limited to the request lines and seeing the audience at station events. We were the broadcasters and they were the listeners.
But with Facebook and other tools, we have the ability to have a conversation -- a true two-way relationship that other media brands cannot have.
With Facebook, we can tap into our target's turf - their own personal space online. Let's work on stirring up a conversation, while giving them a deeper connection to our stations and personalities.
In the next Merge, I'll come armed with some examples of stations doing a great job of engaging its listeners and creating deeper relationships.
Remember Zuckerberg's words: "We don't know what it will be."
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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