Social Media Marketing: A Practitioner Guide.

This is the fourth excerpt from the second edition of our book on “Social Media Marketing” by Philip Kotler , Svend Hollensen and me which is globally availabe via Amazon.

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The book has been ranked No 4 of the best advertising books in the world (e.g. (

4.2.1 Facebook

Facebook is an American company and online social media and social networking service based in California. The Facebook website was launched on in February, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates. Facebook, Inc. held its initial public offering (IPO) in February 2012, and reached an original peak market capitalization of $104 billion after three months on the stock market. On July 13, 2015, Facebook became the fastest company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to reach a market cap of $250 billion. As of January 2017, Facebook was the most popular social networking site in the world, based on the number of active user accounts.

In 2015 Facebook reached revenues of US$17.9 billion. Most of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising Facebook generally has a lower click-through rate (CTR) for advertisements than most major websites. The cause of Facebook’s low CTR has been attributed to especially younger users enabling ad blocking software and their ability to ignore advertising messages, as well as the site’s primary purpose being social communication rather than content viewing. Facebook is the social media giant and as such businesses cannot overlook this global communication channel. Thus, developing a business presence on Facebook is a must, but this is far from simple. First, many people view Facebook primarily for communicating with family and close friends. This means that business connections, advertisements, and intrusive messages may not always be welcome. Consequently, businesses need to carefully plan their interactions in ways that respect typical Facebook use. This is not to say all people prefer to avoid any commercial contact on Facebook at all. In fact, on any given day, millions of Likes are given to corporate pages and business content is viewed, downloaded, and commented upon.

Pages, Profiles and Groups

The fine line between business and personal use is reflected in Facebook’s organizational structure in the form of profiles, pages and groups. These structures are intended to give different levels of interaction and have been used to varying degrees by businesses and individuals.

Profiles are the basic structure in Facebook and are intended for individual use (Figure 4.2).

Another feature on Facebook is groups. Groups are meant to allow a subset of people to interact and share information. Groups are a private space that can be configured in different ways.

Groups can be private so only members can see it, know who is in it and what other members post. A secret group could be used for company employees or a set of business associates (Bulygo, 2010).

Closed groups, on the other hand, can be seen by everyone and everyone will be able to see the membership list. However, the content is only open to members.

Finally, open groups can be seen by anyone, membership is open and all content can be seen by the public. Groups are intended for use with profiles but can be used in some business settings.

Facebook pages, on the other hand, are specifically designed for business use. These do have many of the same features as a user’s profile. Users can connect with a page and become a fan of it. Pages can have public messaging walls, events, photos, and custom applications (Figure 4.3).

One of the most useful aspects of Facebook is the ability for people to ‘like’ and ‘tag’ the things you do on the site. When users like your page or something you posted on it by pressing the little thumbs-up ‘Like’ button, the fact that they like it will eventually on their Facebook profiles for their friends to see.

The same thing is true when you tag something, which is when you identify people within a post or a photo on Facebook. When you tag people, they automatically get notifications that point them to the tagged content.

However, as with other forms of web content, you should always bear in mind not to use social media platforms to overtly sell. Instead, create information that people will want to share as it adds value (Bulygo, 2010).

How to Set Up a Business Page

Business pages are valuable for many reasons, the most obvious being that more than a billion people use Facebook and it is important to meet customers where they congregate. Users become fans of a business page simply by clicking a ‘Like’ button. This creates a like between their profile and the business page if they are logged into Facebook. Each time a person presses the ‘Like’ button, the business icon will be placed onto the user’s profile page. This provides visibility for the enterprise and helps information to move through networks of friends. Smith (Smith, 2010) provides information regarding the development of a Facebook page for business use. At the beginning, it is advisable to study other Facebook pages to get a sense of what users currently expect. Facebook’s directory of pages can be a good starting point to do so (Figure 4.4).

Smith then recommends a six-step approach to building a business Facebook page. The first step is to determine the page objective. By definition, a page is a single unit of information and not an entire website. This means a primary purpose is paramount. The objective might be leveraging the brand awareness, developing a contact list, driving traffic to a corporate website, developing a sense of community, or gathering ideas for new products. The second step is to devise a design an appropriate strategy. By understanding what needs to be accomplished, decisions regarding the type of media, posts, and other material can be determined. For instance, if the objective was to develop a sense of community, then infrastructure for posting questions and polls can be given a prominent location to support develop a sense of an ongoing conversation with fans (Smith, 2010). Next, a content strategy should be determined. This means deciding whether photos, videos, posts, updates, events, and links should be used and in what kind of mix. Connections to favorite blogs can be supplied in line with custom developed material. The fourth step is to promote the new Facebook page both inside and outside of Facebook. Facebook promotion can be done using a variety of methods: Widgets can be added to Websites, Facebook ads can be placed, blog entries can be written and links back to the page incorporated. In addition, Twitter and print media can be used to drive traffic to the page. Following promotion, engagement and retention are instrumental. Organizational resources will be required to enable the page to be monitored and moderated. Additional page administrators may be required depending on how much traffic is generated. Depending on the page objectives, it may be key to have immediate responses to customer posts or questions. Other forms of engagement might include regular posts, polls, personalized messages to fans and the addition of a discussion board. Finally, the sixth step is to begin converting fans into long-term, loyal customers. Practitioners recommend to wait until the fan base is approximately 500–1,000 strong. This will enable efforts to achieve measurable results. Conversion can be tricky but it generally involves providing coupons, discounts, special events, or other incentives to give fans a call to action (Smith, 2010).

Facebook pages are the simplest, easiest way to get started marketing with Facebook. They are free, relatively easy to set up (at least in their basic forms), and very flexible. There is not much of a downside, either. Unfortunately, many companies do not use them to their full potential; or even worse, they use them badly. The following tips will help you avoid making those mistakes (Bulygo, 2010):

To be continued…Have a look into the book:

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Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Opresnik

Chief Research Officer Kotler Impact, Inc.

Chief Executive Officer Kotler Business Program

Kotler Impact Inc.