How to Avoid Being Persona Non Grata When Marketing on Facebook

Shari had an interesting series of discussions with her Clark and WPI students this week. The topic was marketing on Facebook. While about half the students (these are Gen Y / Millennials) have “friended” a company, most had never moved on to further interaction. One student friended Skittles because she likes their kooky status updates…very much in line with the branding that comes through in most of their advertising. Several students had friended Coach — like Apple, Coach tends to have devoted customers.

The biggest challenge when marketing on a social network like Facebook is the mindset of the members. Facebook is primarily a tool for reaching out to friends and family. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a business network…you expect people to talk about their companies and products and jobs. But Facebook feels like a protected environment. There are PPC ads floating about but there isn’t a large commercial presence (yet) and, generally, it’s not looked for.

Let’s stop to consider Coach’s e-marketing track record. They have almost 4 million likes on Facebook. But their Google PPC program sends people to the home page of their web site, not a landing page. FAIL!

A search for “Gucci handbags” on Google brings up a Gucci PPC in the 4th position, but the ad is for Gucci shoes. I’m not sure I understand the logic there.

But Gucci has done something quite creative in the social marketing arena. On September 9, 2012, they launched the “Cut and Craft” campaign on Facebook. Now their 9+ million fans can design their own handbags.

When complete, they can upload a picture and the fan base will vote on favorites. This is how to engage customers and prospects! The FB posts related to this campaign show thousands of “share’s” and comments.

Why am I rambling on about luxury goods and retail marketing on a technology blog? Because there’s a lot we can learn from these companies as they experiment with social media marketing. We techies can’t keep doing the same old advertising and expect to get different results. It’s whole new world. Social media is here to stay. We need to learn how to engage prospect and customers in a way that doesn’t make us “persona non grata.”

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