Monetizing Social Media
April 30, 2010 | Amanda Hinkle
If your company is not using Facebook as part of its marketing strategy, or you don’t have a social media plan in place, listen up. Last week, Facebook unveiled advances in its developer toolkit that gives your website visitors a simple way to connect the content on your site with their network of friends – all without leaving your website. You can then use those connections to provide more personalized, relevant content across your site and your users' Facebook profile.
So what are the new developer tools? The Open Graph protocol lets developers turn a website’s pages into objects that can be added to a Facebook profile. The social plugins bring Facebook’s features to a website. Let’s focus on the social plugins.
With one line of HTML code, companies can now include Facebook’s “Like” button on their web pages, which will allow users to post that affinity back to their Facebook profile. And when a user clicks “Like,” the company gets a link from the user’s profile, the ability to publish to the user’s News Feed, inclusion in Facebook search, and analytics.
Other plugins create a more engaging experience for your users without ever leaving your website. The Activity Feed shows users what their friends are doing on your site through likes and comments. The Recommendations plugin gives users personalized suggestions by highlighting content based on the top "Likes" across a site.
Some examples from the Facebook blog help put this into perspective:
- For example, if I like a pair of jeans on Levis.com, my action will be shared with my friends on Facebook, where they can comment on it. I can also see which of my friends like the jeans on Levis.com.
- In other cases, I may want to create a more lasting connection to something, such as a book, band or movie. So, if I like the movie "The Godfather" on IMDb, it will be added to my profile as an interest on my “Info” tab. Once the connection is made, “The Godfather” page can send me updates through News Feed (such as a Godfather movie event), and it will appear in search results.
- When you’re logged into Facebook and visit CNN.com, you will instantly see the articles and topics your friends are sharing, recommending and commenting on via the Activity Feed.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new tools will help fulfill the company’s vision of the “social graph,” which allows people to share the connections they make on any website with their friends on Facebook. “We are making it so all websites can work together to build a more comprehensive map of connections and create better, more social experiences for everyone,” wrote Zuckerberg on his blog.
As Facebook’s social-networking features become further integrated into other websites, the company is positioning itself as the substrate for all things social. As such, I believe we’ll begin to see companies turn to Facebook as the central repository for people's tastes and other socially identifying elements. I know, a bold statement. But it’s definitely hot right now – and by creating partnerships with sites like Microsoft's Docs.com, reviews site Yelp, and music site Pandora – Facebook is doing a good job of paving the way for other organizations to want to jump on board.
So what are you waiting for? Belly up to the bar and solidify your social marketing plan. Don’t know where to start? Experts from StrongMail can help you put a plan in place. It’s a great way to expand your reach, get users engaged with your product or services, and show that your products are validated by potential customers’ social circles. And the more people that come back to your site, the more connections that will be made. As I say to most organizations – get on the train before it leaves without you.