By: Steve Goldner, Senior Director of Social Media
So, you are tired of reading about Facebook this past week. From the controversy with GM pulling its $10M Facebook ad program to the Facebook IPO. And then the surprise wedding of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to his longtime girlfriend one day after the IPO. And in all this coverage, no one put the real Facebook issue on the table.
Everyone is asking if Facebook ads provide a winning ROI. Frankly, that is the wrong question.
Facebook should not be your social media program. It should be part of your social media program, but social media is bigger. And for that matter, social media is only a part of marketing (and other important business functions as well like customer support). To look at every slice of a marketing program and see if there is an ROI does not make sense. I’ll explain why shortly.
Before I explain the ROI issue, let me first rewind the tape from last week’s events. I was asked to provide comments and answer some questions for a number of publications. As is always the case, my comments were taken out of context. I was asked about GM publicizing that it was pulling its Facebook ads and my thoughts on that. Here was my complete response …
“WSJ reports that General Motors plans to stop advertising on Facebook as GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick said the auto maker ‘is definitely reassessing our advertising on Facebook, although the content is effective and important.’
“The news could not come at a worse time for Facebook, but states some strong commentary on both Facebook and GM.
“First GM … this is the same company that went before Congress looking for hand-outs to save their fledging company. Was Ford in front of Congress? No. Is it a coincidence that Ford has an extremely productive social media program that is fully integrated into other marketing programs? No. What Ford does, that is absent from GMs social media effort, is that they have a strategy, plan, execution, and metrics that integrate ALL owned, earned, and PAID media endeavors. They do not have an isolated Facebook paid media program. Furthermore, I question if Ewanick understands that, on average, only 16% of brand postings on Facebook reach their ‘like’s’ newsfeed as revealed at the fMC on 2/29/11. He should look at Facebook’s reach generator (paid offering from Facebook) with regards to “content (being) effective and important.” The fact is that GM does not know how to integrate social media into a winning business strategy. The issue is not Facebook ads.
“As for Facebook … this news is very detrimental for Facebook right before their IPO. It paints a picture that a struggling company cannot rely on Facebook to help turn them around, but the same could be said about any pure-play marketing advertisement program. The reality is that Facebook advertisement, by itself, is not a great use of precious marketing dollars. Facebook has done a poor job positioning and describing how their platform drives quantifiable business results. Facebook is not the equivalent of having a social media strategy and it is time for Facebook to communicate how they are PART of a winning solution and stop making ill-advised marketers believe they are THE social media solution.” (more…)