Feature | How brands are looking for friends on a social eco-system

When people first logged on to Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook, apart from day to day virtual socializing little did they know that it would also be one of the easiest platforms for advertisers to directly communicate with them. Facebook Advertising is still an unexplored domain for most brands. However today most companies are realizing how effectively a platform like Facebook can be used and everyone is working towards that.

Facebook connecting over five hundred million active users across the world is a platform where advertisers can indulge in specific targeting and communicate their message across. Irrespective of boundaries, Facebook allows advertisers to do geo-targeting and can easily adapt their communication strategies depending on the target group. With personal details like age, marital status and so on readily available on social platforms, advertisers can now create customized advertisements to obtain better results.

Ashok Lalla President ' Digital, Euro RSCG said, "The main purpose of social media is to create engagement with a brand's audience via being 'social'. Advertising is really the anti-thesis of being social. However, given that is important to reach one's audience and draw them to engage with a brand, targeted advertising that is contextually relevant to the audience and where they are in social media is what can help one's social media advertising be effective."

In a scenario where engagement with your core set of audience is crucial, Facebook advertising is now going beyond the concept of number of "likes'. Brands today understand that number of "Likes' is hardly the way to measure your brands' worth on a social platform. It is significant for the users to actively participate where your brand is concerned. One of the finest examples in recent times would be the Facebook initiative of Happy Dent where they launched an interactive contest' "HAPPYDENT Sparkling Smiles' Contest. The contest was launched keeping in mind the sheer popularity of sharing photographs and the use of photos on a platform such as this. As expected it received tremendous response with Facebook users participating from all over.

Lalla further added, "It is important to balance the advertising with actual engagement on Facebook. The key is to target the communication to the audience through the various targeting options that Facebook offers advertisers, and also provide means for the audience to spread the word / share with their own friends' networks."

"Advertising on Facebook should be looked at in combination with other digital advertising (on social networks and elsewhere), and not in isolation. Efficiency is a function of the quality and relevance of the messages, and focusing on improving these can help improve results from Facebook advertising," Lalla further added.

Brands need to be more socially active and understand the core essence of their target audience. Today consumers need immediate response for their complaints and queries and brands need to achieve that. Brands must be more transparent with their dealings and connect with the consumers at an individual level. Today most brands are trying to achieve the "I-am-your-friend-who-happens-to-be-in-business' kind of model according to Kapil Nakra, Co-founder, Digital Vidya.

Kapil Nakra, Co-founder, Digital Vidya, furhter said, "Social media is good for profile targeting. Facebook is one of the cheapest and most effective ways in terms of profile targeting. The amount you are bidding when you are doing a Facebook advertising is important. The second most crucial thing is targeting, you need to target your consumer base directly. Another critical part is your Ad creatives because this will ensure that you get enough clicks. This will get your optimal results."

Nakra further cautions companies to ensure that their target audiences are on these platforms and subsequently work towards an effective communicative strategy. It only makes sense to add Facebook advertising or any other such social media advertising to the marketing strategies if it is relevant to your product and your consumers.

Measurability in these mediums is still in its nascent stages and is a factor most brands are concerned about. There are various tools that brands use today. Lalla explained, "There is no single metric to measure effectiveness, and it really depends on the objectives of the advertising. If it is simply to draw people to a fan page or a micro site, then click-throughs and traffic scores could be a metric to look at. If participation is what the objective of the communication is, then measures of success would vary accordingly."

Facebook advertising is yet to be explored to its true potential and advertisers today are trying everything under the sun to make that differentiating impact. | By Janees Antoo [janees(at)adgully.com]

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