Mark Cuban was Wrong and Facebook is Right

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CMark ubanMany of us have lost our way. It took the Mark Cuban/Facebook story to help me realize it.

Here’s where I’m coming from…

Essentially, Cuban was pissed that he (or the Dallas Mavericks to be specific) would have to now pay a fee per Facebook update – to ensure all that all a brand’s community would see their post. Cuban was upset that he’d have to pay for a platform that was previously free. Now, it’s true that a brand’s updates weren’t previously being seen by a number of its “Likers”, and Cuban did follow-up with an article in the HP further explaining his position on Facebook.

But the key take-aways were that this was a grab for money to increase shareholder value, and that Facebook was decreasing in importance vs. other social sites.

I agreed. I saw this as a clear stab at driving some revenue for Facebook. It made sense. I had also had discussions with friends/contacts about Facebook’s standing in a basic social media strategy – and Facebook fatigue.

Cuban’s opinion made sense to me – it gave me the feeling that my internal Facebook criticisms and client advice that I was giving was not in isolation. I felt validated because I think that Cuban is a pretty smart and successful guy (NBA Championships and billions of dollars tend to prove this).

That lasted a while – but then I realized that I had broken my own rule. Keep social media social.

Here was a major sports brand – upset that it would have to pay (and quite a bit per post I will add) to reach its entire Facebook fan base. I had previously blogged about keeping social media social, that this was not your website – but the fans’ space, that by prioritizing brand posts over fan content was basically a bad idea. If you want to broadcast – use your website. Especially if you are the Dallas Mavericks. Keep Facebook a “fans first” environment. I realized that I had lost sight of this.

Facebook charging a fee (that all your community will see)  per post is good thing – if you struggled for clear sponsorship cost justification, that problem is now solved for you (remember of course, keep sponsored content engaging and fun). This is your fans’ space – not yours, so treat it appropriately. Facebook never should have been the core of your digital strategy – you don’t own it and you can’t control it. If you are overly concerned about your content being seen, you are missing the point of Facebook.

Take this as a reminder – as I did. Use Facebook for what it does best – a daily opportunity to connect with your fans. Talk with them, feature their content, keep Facebook a place for and about them. Be smart about what content you do feature, either sponsored or your own. Don;t forget where you came from in social media – and keep it social, will ya?

It’s Never Too Late for a Social Strategy

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If you’re like most organizations, you started your activity in social media before really having a plan.

Now you have thousands of likes, fans and followers – the kinds of numbers that merit attention and strategy. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you got here, but it’s time to plan where to go now.

Start with this…

1. List Your Assets

Make a list of all your digital assets – web site, social networks, email marketing, mobile app, etc… Also, list the high level numbers/stats that you have for each asset.

Take a good look at what you have – can you identify why are you in those spaces? What sorts of “returns” are the producing? Is there anything missing? Is there too much of something? Have you been listening – what is your market saying?

2. Determine Your Objective

Now that you have an idea of what you have, what do you want to do with them? What is the goal or objective that you want to achieve with this? As with any goal setting, be specific. You might have overarching as well as specific goals. Goals could be anything: direct revenue, increasing stats, growth of X or Y, increase in A or B… But be sure to make things measurable so you can track your progress.

3. Align Your Resources

Lastly, align your resources – both staff as well as digital assets – to accomplish those objectives. For example, if you want to launch a point of purchase initiative, consider a foursquare promotion. But also consider how you will support it – how can you use your other assets to support this? Ideally, your digital assets are continually reinforcing one another as required to achieve both short-term and overarching goals and objectives.

There’s a ton of details that need to be flushed out in these steps – though the structure is simple, how you execute, innovate and strategize is the real key element. The main take-away here is to begin to structure your efforts within a defined plan.

Execution, innovation and strategy – the real meat behind the structure is exactly what the projects I work on are all about. If you have any questions, just let me know!