A snapshot profile of today’s Facebook as a marketing platform

Facebook's High-Wire Balancing Act Continues

Note to marketers who have been investing in Facebook: Fasten your safety belts.

Once again, Mark Zuckerberg is changing the algorithm that determines what users will see in their newsfeed.

Give Facebook credit. They announced some time ago the intent to make social media social again, and the change in algorithm is intended to give more visibility to status updates from friends and family. Positive social engagement should increase as a result.

The ancillary benefit for users is that their newsfeed will not feel bogged down by commercial content. But once again, marketers have to take a hard look at their Facebook spend.

The question: Should brands write off Facebook as a marketing vehicle?

Diosclosure: We make no money off media investments that clients make in Facebook. So our views below are relatively unbiased.

And our view on this is no, marketers shouldn’t abandon Facebook as a means of building brand awareness or community involvement.

Rationale: Mark Zuckerberg is walking a tightrope, balancing a publicly traded company’s need to hit quarterly numbers (which comes from ad revenue), and the largest social media platform’s need to remain committed to being essentially social, not commercial.

We think that Facebook’s decisions will pay off in the long run, and marketers should be reassured by the fact that Facebook literally cannot afford to push out brands altogether. So at least in the short term, there will still be opportunity for brands to market through Facebook.
In the midterm, we continue to watch the multi-year trend of sliding Facebook usership among key demographics.

Advice: Target and Moderate

Our position on Facebook is that while there are excellent targeted opportunities on the platform, our clients should not overinvest in a marketing tactic that fluctuates in reach (and therefore value) and which lacks policy transparency.

If you want to talk further about Facebook or targeted marketing over a beverage, please contact us, and stop by for a beverage.

5 healthy marketing practices



Healthcare: It’s the largest single business sector in the US – and the world

Yet most of the players in the field have never really had to communicate with consumers through traditional marketing channels (except for Big Pharma). Hospitals and insurers are leading the charge but we can expect many more players on the field soon. Here are a handful of what we think are key guidelines for entering the space of healthcare marketing.

1. Health care is about being local
National brands like Humana, Aetna, and United Healthcare may have girth, but they still need to forge trust and build loyalty with customers. Any healthcare entity entering the marketplace should know that healthcare consumers need the reassurance of feeling that the brand they engage with has a steady, local presence. That means site content that’s sensitive to geography and demographics. It means advertising through geo-targeted networks. Hey, it could even mean sponsoring a Little League team.

2. Playing the numbers game
As the consumer marketplace for healthcare evolves, insurers, hospitals, and group practices will be marketing their performance with statistics. It’s not clear what federal agency (if any) will regulate this area, so marketers should stay strictly open and transparent about what they claim and how they substantiate it. Truth and transparency – especially in medical marketing – is a value consumers can build trust upon. It’s also the easiest thing to remember.

3. Build on your core
One thing we believe strongly is this: The NPS – or Net Promoter Score, which is based on the question “Would you recommend (X) to a freind?”- will be critical. Many resort and service clients use this as the gold standard of consumer loyalty, and it will likely be relevant in healthcare. The endorsement of a friend regarding a doctor, a hospital, a pharmaceutical, or a surgical procedure will carry significant weight. This is why marketers should not lose focus on their existing base of consumers.

4. Social Healthcare Marketing: 5 must-haves
We are all bracing for how healthcare marketing, fully unleashed, will operate in social media. Clients who believe the space is a viable platform for 2-way consumer communications need 5 things:

1. A policy in place that clearly defines rules of engagement – so everyone is on the same page.
2. An internal team structure for managing workload – allocate hours/week and designate decision makers.
3. A content strategy – rooted in reality (things of interest, news, advice, and what you can realistically source or author).
4. A content calendar – forecasting 12 months of enagement.
5. Pepto Bismol – for those difficult days.

Be prepared for low engagement at first, and cling to this cliché: What’s worthwhile is often difficult.

5. Sometimes it hurts
Before the Surpreme Court ruled on Obamacare, Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare committed to adhere to key provisions of the law, regardless of how the ruling turned out. It’s a good example of 2 things: Strong loyalty-building among consumers, and creating a powerful differentiator in the marketplace. We recognize those policies are business decisions. But they appear to be good marketing decisions too. Transparency and sacrifice come with a cost.

As always, we’re ready to discuss it over a healthy beverage!

How to honor 9.11 in social media – or not

There are clients whose patriotic sensibilities tell them they should acknowledge 9.11 in their social media channels.

What could possibly go wrong, right?

Plenty.  Just ask Tumbledown Trails Golf Course.

Here are the Top 3 Reasons you should think twice before automatically putting “9.11” on your content calendar.

  1. Dialogue, not monologue. Consumers are all too aware that businesses use social networks and branded content as part of a marketing platform.  And that’s fine; consumers want to be sold to. But marketing through social media is supposed to be a dialogue between brand and consumer. A post that reads: “We at ABC Corporation remember and honor those lost on 9.11.01” is bound to be confused with a transmit-only, tone-deaf marketing ploy, however sincere it may be.
  2. It’s been done. Even though Twitter, Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist on 9.11.01, they have been used extensively by everyone from firefighters and other 1st responders to politicians and pundits to all the friends and families of everyone lost on that day. Chiming in with 9.11 sentiments may simply disappear or, worse, sound like “Me Too.”
  3. Respect. Many organizations lost employees and colleagues and friends on 9.11 and many of them want to pay respect through remembrance in social media. And this may be social media at its best: A platform for meaningful, relevant, dignified communication among those with a common bond. But for many more of us, it may be better to refrain from publishing our thoughts and sentiments, and show our respect in the more traditional forms of money or material support of a 9.11 non profit – or a quiet moment of silence.

Just a few thoughts from drinkcaffeine.

For more strategic discussions or information about any of our services, please contact drinkcaffeine:

website: drinkcaffeine.com
phone: 203 468 6396
email: info@drinkcaffeine.com
address: 897 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443