AF EXPO: Facebook's Faul Touts Word-Of Mouth Ads

Over half of Americans find news through their friends, and six out of ten jobs in the U.S. come from friend connections. Nine out of ten people trust music recommendations from friends more than professional critics and journalists.

So said Katie Faul during the Wednesday keynote presentation at AF Expo. She made a very convincing argument about the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing, including the use of Facebook’s social ads and sponsored stories.

She cited the example of Squishable.com, which gets 15 percent of its sales from Facebook; some 29 percent of traffic to the site comes from the social network.

Another example: 1-800-Flowers.com was able to double engagement and increase fans two-fold through the use of sponsored stories.

And the Sydney Opera House achieved a 17 percentage point increase in public awareness of their campaigns, through the use of sponsored stories.

Ticketmaster documented an average of $5.30 in sales revenue per link shared on Facebook. Plus, Unicef got 107,000 new fans on its page after testing out sponsored stories.

Faul explained that word-of-mouth marketing on Facebook involves a three-step cycle. First you need to build up a page, and attract fans by purchasing like ads. Second, create great content and invoke it in dialogues with fans on your wall. Third, amplify your reach by purchasing advertisements targeted at friends of your fans, along with sponsored stories.

“Fans are just the beginning, because their friends are the ones you want to market to with organic stories in the news feed,” she said. “Keep your content simple… People are in a sit-back-and-enjoy mode” when using Facebook, so you want to tap into that.

She emphasized that good questions, timely and relevant content, along with featuring individual fans in your posts are all effective strategies for boosting engagement. And sponsored stories get twice as many people to engage with brands than any other type of Facebook ad.

Readers, what do you think about Faul’s advice?

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