Digital Insights

Part II: Is Your Brand Cyber-Citizenship in Good Standing?


Published: November 29, 2011

The temptation for brands to exploit the treasure trove of data being mined by Facebook about the social network’s hundreds of millions of members is strong.  But brand marketers can succeed with their goals of reaching prospects and customers through the social network without trampling the privacy rights of Internet users.

Facebook Page Least Invasive

A Facebook Page is the least invasive method of interacting with consumers via the social media giant.

The page allows a brand to directly communicate with fans — those who “like” you, post news and events, generate dialogue and drive traffic to your website.  No personally identifiable information (PII) is exchanged. This is a “privacy-safe” choice.

Good cyber-citizenship on your part requires that your Facebook Page have a stated comment policy (usually in the “info” section or a custom tab) written in user-friendly terms. (NOTE: This should not be written by lawyers or communicated in legalese.)

Frictionless Sharing

One of the most controversial aspects of Facebook’s September 2011 re-design announcements was the introduction of an archive of user consumption habits called “frictionless sharing.” That’s Facebook’s term for when something you are reading, listening to or watching is automatically shared to your Facebook Timeline.  The Timeline is an update that rearranges users’ profile pages into a timeline of their lives on Facebook and — if they fill in more details — even before they got on the social networking service.

Up until now, sharing on the social Web has largely been a manual process. You click a Facebook “Like” button, you click the “Check In” button in Foursquare, you click a button to “Re-Tweet” something.  With Facebook’s frictionless sharing, once you approve a media partner app, all of your activity in that app is automatically shared to Facebook.  No need to click any buttons.

In the old days, users had to click “Share” or were asked if they wanted to post something to their walls. With the new “frictionless sharing,” users don’t need to do anything. Simply enable an app (e.g., Hulu, Netflix), and a record of the media you’ve consumed is added to your
profile and pushed to your friends via the new ticker.  Brands might like this because it automates the process of propagating brand information across the Web, but users may not want the world to know their occasional guilty pleasures.  The solution: Setting privacy controls.

Facebook for Websites

Web surfers don’t need to be on a brand’s Facebook fan page to “like” the brand.  Facebook for Websites gives a company the ability to connect its website to the Facebook experience. Facebook users can “like” your brand from your website through a social plug-in or log onto your website using Facebook credentials.

The login (or Facebook Authentication) gives your site access to users’ basic information—name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends and any other information they share with everyone. To receive additional information, such as email, you will have to request additional permission from the user through Facebook.

Again, to be a good cyber-citizen, only request and retain the user data that you really need, and clearly communicate to the user, at the point of collection, about how the data will be used and what the value exchange will be. If you collect user data through Facebook, also post your notice of collection along with your comment policy on Facebook and on your own website.

Share and Share Alike

Following all the recent developments with Facebook, the most important question that brand marketers can be asking is:

“How can I encourage users to share with their friends what they’re doing with my brand?”

The most important Facebook news for companies is the fact that users can now do much more than simply “like” something.

Now they can read a book, listen to a song, watch a movie and more.

In the process, Facebook learns and records exactly what books were read, what songs were listened to. This allows for more data mining and more precise insight into exactly what brand customers will react to most.

These actions will help brands interact with their customers on a deeper level, allowing them to target more niche markets.

This type of information is of course a marketer’s dream, so these actions should somehow be incorporated into Facebook’s page analytics for the purposes of improved targeting.

Because Facebook wants users to be more social and share more experiences, the brand marketer’s goal is not to see how many likes and comments they can get on a post but instead to encourage users to share information and experiences with their friends.

In Facebook World, friends’ posts are more important than company posts, so the emphasis should be less on when a brand name will show up in a person’s news feed and more on how to get fans to post for the brand.

Part I: Are Facebook Changes & Privacy Concerns Impacting Your Brand?

Contact Digital Eye Media for information on how to Create and Manage your Social Media Marketing Campaigns: P: (714) 556-0576;