Meaning vs. Manipulation
May 22, 2012
The ad world was shaken up with the announcement that GM is pulling advertising dollars away from Facebook. Read the full article here.
As someone who has placed a lot of advertising on the platform over the past couple of years, I wasn't surprised at all. In fact, I recommended at the beginning of first quarter this year that my clients place the majority of online ad dollars elsewhere.
Facebook was not designed as an ad medium...Mark Zuckerberg even proclaims it in his IPO letter. A big part of the problem is that the advertising is now being forced into the feed; there are an increased number of ads being shown on the timeline, which is not very ad friendly; and the company has even went back to old tactics used in the early days of online advertising like forcing ads in places, like the sign-off window.
In my opinion, it's only a strategy to please investors, not to create a seamless solution or real engagement for anyone.
However, you can be effective in the space and I would absolutely recommend being there with the right strategy ... but the key is to not look at it as advertising in the traditional sense where you create copy, target, place, monitor and get a result.
This is not a "buy it, set it, forget it, get a result, check it off your to do list, and move on to the next campaign"-type of medium.
Your presence on Facebook has to be long-term, consistent, content-driven, and not just being on (as having a presence) but always really being there, alive and breathing, to truly connect with people and be effective. And honestly, most brands and companies are just not willing to make that type of commitment; they still want to just buy it, force the message and interrupt, lead people around with a carrot and stick, not truly add meaning or value -- and it will NEVER work that way.
The best thing would be to do nothing than try to manipulate anyone around a marketing "campaign." Because the campaign is the problem when what you have to do now in order to be successful on Facebook is build a new focus on culture and connecting.
The paradigm shift that is happening in the ad world is about offering a real purpose or passion that has meaning ... not a campaign full of manipulation to simply get a result. And with all due respect, the majority of so-called experts, agencies and companies simply don't get it -- because they are playing "follow the follower!" Just look at their pages and uncover how many "likes" they have, and really listen to what they are saying - it's typically what everyone has already said, just put in their own context.
I get so frustrated seeing posts of people in the media industry who get a ton of credibility as experts on Facebook, but they have never placed a single ad, been a community manager, really built a strategy for massive growth, and so on.
Why are you listening to them? They only believe old rules can be applied to this and whatever happens next, and that is the BIG problem.
Old ideas will always simply net incremental growth vs. NEW ideas that will build massive growth.
If you and/or your company are not building value and solutions that connect around moments that are happening million of times each day ... if everyone in the organization isn't part of a culture of knowing and sharing everything, because it matters ... if you are not real, authentic, alive, and in the moment with your audience vs. investing in just a research piece, empty speeches, following mechanics, and automated solutions that only have many beginnings and ends as targets ... you will fail.
It's a new world and Facebook will be part of it for many years to come, but if you want to be relevant and succeed -- and not have to quit as GM did -- dive in and experience it with a real focus on truly sharing your culture and connecting in a new way ... and not simply listening to someone that is only curating information from everyone else and pretending it will help you.
The truth is you want to be unique and succeed as the center of your own universe, always coming from a place of passion/purpose/being ("what is") vs. only connection ("what needs to be") -- you will simply be that which you are with little effort and it will shine 360 degrees and connect on every level vs. standing and waiting like the rest for something to happen because they are outside of their universe, with only a focus to connect in one direction and try and force it back to the center.
That's the truth -- and you get to choose what is right for you.