Note: The views expressed on this blog are those of mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer, past or present.
Something I have noticed, both through observation and firsthand experience, is the obsession brand marketers, as well as agencies, have with turning to Facebook to resolve their social media challenges.
Jim Carroll (Chairman, BBH London) recently weighed in on a subject he calls Wind Tunnel Marketing. The idea is that we’ve become so committed to becoming “relevant” to our customers that we’ve forgotten the importance of being different.
Oftentimes, we look to Facebook as the solution to our problems because we have all come to believe that’s where our customers are. Where I find myself at odds with marketing in Facebook isn’t so much the idea that we all think our customers might be there. That very well may be true. It’s our “drive to identify best demonstrated practice, to codify it and coach it.”
An excerpt from the Labs post really stood out to me:
Few noticed, as we learned to lean more heavily on our norms and pre-tests, that expertise and judgement were a devaluing currency.
And few noticed, at least at first, that the measures designed to raise the floor of communication output were at the same time lowering the ceiling.
I believe there’s a place for research and best practices; but there’s also a place for gut instinct and dissension. The problem with everyone measuring themselves by the same yardstick is that we end up looking and acting the same as well. I hate to break it to some, but following the common best practices aren’t the key to solving your social media woes. Having the best Facebook page within your competitive set is not the answer.
You’re preaching to the converted on your Facebook page. And I can tell you now, they aren’t fans of your page because you update it 3-5 times a week, consistently reply to users, or follow any number of other Facebook best practices. They’re fans because they have always liked your brand, and only represent a fraction of the people who do.
Turning those few fans into advocates for your brand will not come as a function of following the best practices. It will happen because you decide to do something different. Or, more appropriately, it will happen because you decide to do something worth talking about.