The social network recently that it is eased restrictions on marketing, turning more control (and responsibility for meeting the letter of the law) over to companies and making Facebook marketing policies easier to understand. Restrictions on promoting guns, tobacco, prescription drugs and dairy are no longer as tight and marketers will be allowed to include “purchase required to participate” in sweepstakes promotions to push their products.
This adds up to additional revenue streams for the companies, offering them more leeway to turn a dime, no matter what they’re selling and it’s a hefty spend, considering prescription drug companies alone spent more than $1.03 billion on Internet ads last year. Company attorneys must keep it all legal, as the responsibility is squarely on the shoulders of advertisers.
Lifting of marketing restrictions has opened things up for marketers eager to push their brand on the social networking site, which is inching toward 700 million users. And now, Facebook is no longer monkey in the middle in terms of the enforcements of all state laws and federal regulations.
Simply put, we could soon see ads on Facebook for liquor, prescription drugs, cigarettes or guns. That could be a sticky wicket for Facebook users who don’t mind viewing company pages for information, but don’t much like looking at advertisements. For some, it’s just another ad channel, like watching prescription drug ads ad infinitum on the TV evening news.
But in the world of social media, letting companies offer prizes and experiences is a magnet for users to like products and talk brands with their friends, the very axis of social media marketing. It’s fun; it’s fruitful and will provide companies a chance to build branding and entice more consumers to sample their wares.
Here are some tried and true tips for marketers embracing the new guidelines.
Get Creative With The Fans
Follow the lead of the #1 brand on Facebook — Starbucks and Lady Gaga, who boasts 32 million followers. They’ve teamed up to sell more coffee and songs…well, the actual announcement concerns a scavenger hunt to follow Gaga’s exploits and search for clues. With their Facebook numbers, they might be on to something.
Currently, there’s a gas promotion in Hawaii, tied in with morning drive radio. Listeners who like 76 Hawaii and correctly identify a place in a photo get free gas, after showing up in person at the station. It pulls every aspect of the customer service together in cross promotion.
Corona, which already has a toe in the water, used a billboard in Times Square to display photos of some fans that liked the beer on Facebook, increasing the total company likes by 6,000 percent to around 200,000.
Facebook can and does bring business. Strategize and be creative about campaigns and promotions that can build your business exponentially. Pull from other promotions and tailor it to your needs. Who said there only ten new ideas, anyway?
Take It To The Wall
Corona (again) is holding the largest retail promotion in that brand’s history and is using Facebook as a portion of its contest. Corona’s Beach Giveaway invites fans at bars around the country to submit a picture of their “Corona Getaway Moment” to the company’s website for the op to win a great beach vacation for two. Then, some of those finalists will have their photos posted on Corona’s Facebook page, which has more than 500,000 fans.
Any brand, be it guns or roses, that initiates conversation rather than overtly selling product picks up admirers the world over, providing “boots on the ground” to further endorse a product. Pick up some fans and they start talking. They tell one friend, who tells another, and so on, and son on, and so on.
Open It Up To Comments
Facebook recently told large drug companies who had special permission not to invite comments on their company page, that their administrators could not restrict the comments section of those pages. Large pharmaceutical companies are very sensitive to open dialogue about their products, but now must put it out in the open.
Now, if anyone even mentions an adverse effect about a pill, the pharmaceuticals company has to report it to the Food and Drug Administration. Let’s just say that putting all the cards on the table about products, particularly those we ingest, is never a bad thing for us.
Readers, what do you think about these suggestions? Do you have any other ideas about how to make good use of the new guidelines?