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So let’s get this out of the way: if you’re a Facebook user, you’re like cattle. To the website, you are not a unique individual. Instead, you’re part of a collective. You are just one of many consumers that other companies want access to in bulk.
However, is it so wrong to graze in the green pastures of social networking? Perhaps not. I’d even go as far to say that, in actuality, the Facebook-to-user system is a symbiotic relationship that strays a bit from our initial livestock analogy. The social network provides us with a means to communicate with our friends and loved ones, and we provide the social network with real, in-depth, accurate market samples that they can sell as a product.
Even still, some businesses will go beyond Facebook’s usual advertising methods in an effort to target their desired market. They use a variety of tactics, and while they are not illegal or against Facebook’s terms and agreements, they might be worth knowing about.
Open Wall Popularity
Facebook presents itself as being all about community, and for us end-users, it is. On the other hand, to businesses, it’s simply a way to put the entire target market under one roof and address it all at once. With that said, businesses are now forgoing traditional customer service routes and using their Facebook walls as their public representatives. By presenting themselves as members of the community, businesses are able to communicate more effectively with consumers.
To be honest, this isn’t a bad idea. However, this offers just one more way for consumers to get sucked into loads of advertised promises. Once they know that a company is personal, they are more inclined to trust this company. In short, it’s the modern day equivalent to the old mom and pop stores where the owner knows everyone’s name. Besides that, certain posts and comments addressing issues by the business are more likely to be shared.
Representation Through Images
Images are a serious tool for getting things done in the Facebook marketing world. In fact, you could consider them to be a bit like billboards on your news feed. However, Facebook has a few guidelines for certain images that businesses post – else, they can get in a bit of trouble. For instance, cover photos on pages can’t feature price or discount information, a call to action, or a request for users to Like and Share (which inherently is a call to action). In other areas, it’s not much of an issue. However, do you really want an advertisement on your news feed when there are already enough on your sidebar?
With that said, non-advert images play a heavy role when it comes to Facebook marketing. How many times have you seen your friends share images of athletes, humorous photos, or classic memes that they didn’t upload? Upon further inspection, you may see who the image was originally posted by, and in many cases, a watermark from a company’s logo may be added. This allows for the company to get the attention of its market and then let its presence be known without using annoying ad-like images.
A Call To Action
Whenever you look at business pages for Facebook (including MakeUseOf), you’ll see loads of “LIKE OR SHARE THIS TO…” posts. This is known as a a “call to action” seeing that it requests that users do something. Typically speaking, traditional calls to action are something along the lines of “Call for more information” or “Shoot us an email” so they can make a connection with you. In this case, the company is connecting with you and using you as a means for free advertising.
Sometimes, as with the case of the images, there may be no call to action. The company may simply share an inspiring status update or a hilarious image, knowing that for some reason some users will feel the need to like or share it. You see, Facebook has already established the call to action for them. It’s right there under every post: Share or Like.
Facebook has changed the face of business, advertising, and marketing forever while also changing how we communicate. It’s a bit peculiar though. While you and I interact using Facebook, there are tons of businesses out there doing the exact same thing, trying to be like us. They are trying to fit into the community – trying to be our friends. In fact, they might even be a bit like other Facebook stalkers.
What other methods have you seen businesses use to target consumers on Facebook? Have you seen these methods yourself?
(By the way, don’t forget to Like and Share this post on Facebook.)