Facebook leads in segmentation

Facebook and Twitter and the next phase in social media marketing

In traditional direct marketing, the most effective campaign is targeted and measurable.

There is no reason why the same should not apply with social media marketing.

There has been much discussion recently about whether the amount of money being pumped into social media by brands is wasteful, given the lack of a decent measure of return on investment, compared to tried-and-tested routes.

Facebook has allowed brands like Starbucks to create online customer bases of 14m users through plugins such as ’Like’ buttons and fan pages, an achievement that seems out of reach by ’old’ methods such as datacapturing email addresses.

Speaking at a London seminar about Facebook and Twitter’s advertising capabilities, Trevor Johnson, Facebook’s head of strategy and planning, says the Like button offers brands “a low touch engaging way” for them to communicate with its audience.

Johnson adds that an element of Facebook plug ins such as ’Like’ feature on more than 1m external sites.

Amanda Levy, director of sales at Twitter showed off ’new’ Twitter, which is being rolled out over the next few months and allows for more content like as videos and images on a user’s homepage.

These will appear on the right side of the page, meaning users can stay on Twitter, rather be taken off the page through Tweeted links.

The platform is also promoting its new ad products such as Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends. Early signs are positive. Disney’s first foray into Promoted Trends, which sees a brand become the 11th ’top trend’ in Twitter’s top ten of trending topics, saw a 13% increase in ’engagement’ from its promoted Tweet.

Twitter’s new Dashboard analytics tool also offers brands a tracking tool for its tweets, and enables marketeers to assess its reach with retweets of messages being tracked.

While all these developments are very positive, it doesn’t move away from the fact that without effective targeting, mass market messages could be lost on some customers.

Facebook, or rather partners working with Facebook’s application programming interface (API), which allows interaction between Facebook and other software, certainly have this in mind.

Reggie Bradford, CEO of social media management company Vitrue, says its page management software is the next stage in allowing segmentation and targeting on Facebook.

“It is one thing to have a million fans who like your brand, but you need to be able to take it to the next level and have a deeper conversation and start segmenting that audience and targeting people that like specific elements of your brand or content.”

“It [Facebook] is a marketers’ dream. But it’s not about having the most fans. Engagement and a proper page strategy is the important thing.”

Bradford cited one major fast food chain with 1.5m Facebook fans who had a very successful ’page strategy’. It released a money off voucher on Facebook which 180,000 users downloaded, which resulted in 40,000 people spending an average of $38 in store and a total of $1 million in extra revenue. The brand says it was the most successful promotion they had ever run.

Facebook pages also have the capablilties to be country specific, showing different content to different users, whether on their home page or through different country Tabs. Speaking at the seminar, Levy, says the company was in the ’early days of geo-targeting’.

In terms of transactional capabilities, Facebook also wins hands down. Twitter is developing its proposition, but again, Levy confirmed this was very much in the future.

Christian Taylor, CEO, of Facebook e-commerce firm Payvment – which helps nearly 200 brands a day use Facebook as a revenue stream – says: “What Facebook really does well is engagement – whether it’s talking to friends or tending their farms. Therefore it’s an ideal platform for e-commerce.”

There’s no doubt that the ’new’ version of Twitter, which will be rolled out over the next few months, will provide brands with more opportunities to engage on mass media global scale.

But without capabilities at present to target brand messages, the platform remains the best tool for global brands to communicate to the masses, rather than to specific groups. And with 210m monthly unique users, it’s certainly an effective one.

If you want to get your brand talked about all over the world, then Twitter seems the best way to go. But if you want to talk to your customers with targeted messages which lead to sales, at least for now, Facebook is where it’s at.

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