How Facebook’s Open Strategy Shifts The Roadmap for Corporate Marketing and Support

Bold Strategy Bolsters Users, Developers, and Brands
In a recent meeting at Facebook HQ, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Facebook is opening its doors to share roadmaps, data, and it’s experience.  This strategy shifts attention towards Facebook.com as a sole destination, and towards a distributed network to the open web.  Looking deeper, these impacts should shape your corporate web strategy as you re-allocate resources for application development, prepare for Social CRM, and prepare your corporate webpages to become “Facebook Fan Page” enabled.

To Combat Google’s Stealth Social Network, Facebook Goes Open
Facebook’s recent moves to In an open discussion, they revealed that they’re attempting to take great strides in the spirit of openness –yet beyond the ‘feel good’ move, this prepares Facebook for a more distributed approach, that will help them further colonize the open web.  With the growth of the Facebook population blooming to 300 million, they’ve already demonstrated critical mass. Yet Facebook’s biggest threat isn’t other social networks like MySpace, or Bebo, their biggest threat is Google’s stealth social network, which seeks to envelope Facebook like an octopus. In order to countermove Google’s zen-like play, they’re taking a similar open approach, here’s what you should know:


How Facebook’s Open Strategy Shifts The Roadmap for Corporate Marketing
Although they announced several improvements (like a cleaner UI),  let’s focus on three strategic initiatives and what they mean to brands:

Revealing Roadmap Strengthens All Relationships
From allowing non-students to join the community, launching the newsfeed to the ill-fated Beacon, Facebook’s spirit of innovation has often gotten ahead of its users.  In a response to help both users and developers better understand Facebook’s future vision, they have now shared their 6 month roadmap in public for all to see.  This helps developers properly allocate resources and prepare product timelines, as well as give users and brands forewarning for upcoming changes.  This move not only helps with planning, but signals a relationship of trust, and indicates this is more about ‘us’ than just Facebook.

Sharing of Email Addresses Fuels Social CRM
Facebook plans to allow users to share their email address with developers and brands at the control of the consumer.   Currently, corporate marketing and support systems are unable to easily identify which customers are talking about brands in the public web –there is no unique identifier.   Because email is a unique, universal identifier, (a primary key) brands who are investing in social CRM can better identify users. The promise to identify prospects vs customers, provide faster and customized support customers, or even provide contextual information will be at hand.

Fan Pages Everywhere Connects Corporate Sites and Social Networks
Facebook will soon allow website owners to allow any of their webpages to now embed Facebook Fan features.  This “Open Graph API” allows any product page could have Fan features that allow users to subscribe by becoming fans, and receive information on their Facebook newsfeeds that could be seen by their friends.   This competitive move to Google’s SideWiki, extends the Facebook experience beyond the social network to corporate websites –making every webpage social.


Recommendations: Update your 2010 Planning:
Web strategists who have an active customer base in Facebook, should shift resources and planning for 2010 based on Facebook’s roadmap, in order to align with these significant changes, they should:

  • Evolve Your Web Strategy Roadmap Brands and developers should analyze the changes coming to the Facebook platform, and start to allocate resources.  Although the roadmap provides general dates (month or quarter) around feature releases, developers should engage in dialog within the developer community or with Facebook themselves.  In particular, the sharing of email addresses is planned for Nov 2009, and owners of the your Social CRM program should start planning immediately.  Secondly, with the Facebook Fan page features coming in early 2010,  web strategists should identify appropriate products to test, begin iterative design, and ensure legacy CMS systems are able to include these client side scripts.
  • Integrate Social Marketing with Existing Email Marketing If you’ve earned the trust of your customers, and they’ve shared their email address with your brand, you can now match their address with your existing customer databases and fuel your Social CRM initiatives.  Secondly, if customers have opt-in you can now provide useful emails to your customers, or adding additional rows in your existing email marketing programs.  Above all, be sure that you’re transparent with customers how you plan to use their email addressees, and always make it opt-in.
  • Boost Your Social CRM Strategy With Customer Data.  Social CRM is a company’s response to the fleeting customer who self-supports each other in public social networks.  In order to provide your customer with a holistic experience, you’ll need to map customer profiles in existing CRM databases to those in the public web.  Start a discussion immediately with your CRM team to prepare for this influx of data, while initially the data will be just emails, the information in their profile could help to build a richer customer model that aids marketing, development, and support.
  • Prepare Steady Cadence of Community Focused Content. Now that every webpage can become a Facebook Fan page, your raving customers will want to get more information about your products –and tell their friends.   You’ll need to create, and fulfill, an editorial agenda that fuels this ongoing dialog.  Forget about advertising as we know it, instead create an editorial agenda encourages dialog such as contests, incentives that can be shared with their friends.
  • http://www.facebook.com/PatrickBoegel Patrick Boegel

    Create run down and excellent tips.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1007326287 Nallai Wickreman

    @Jeremiah Excellent post. Companies need to have Facebook page as one of the landing page for their marketing campaigns. Customers will have more control over the brand(From Altimeter Blog) and they can post in fan pages. Facebook connect will be integrated in landing pages and it will lead to more social conversions

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Nallai

    That’s right, FB will be a connector that spurs word of mouth. It won’t just be limited to Facebook, expect Twitter, Google, and MSN to join the game. It gets *really* interesting when landing pages show customized content based on your social profile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1007326287 Nallai Wickreman

    @Jeremiah, Interesting shift is change of power from brands to customers. When i search for a product , their fan page will show up, which has posts from their customers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gpach1 Gius Paccieco G

    Very important, now social media included in strategy. The enterprises look a new target in the place. PR having the supervision of this, because the message is a important support of the campaign, the objective is generation of reputation.

  • http://www.davidmeiselman.com David Meiselman

    Jeremiah

    Do you think that the Open Graph API will compete with services like Disqus to become the comments system of record vis-a-vis content and blogposts? Seems to me this would be a perfect example of combining conversations about content with the distributed social graph. Right now those things are often separated (and duplicated if you link to a piece of content from facebook and then have a comment stream under your link in the friend news stream…).

  • http://www.friendfeed.com/brainb Tobin Truog

    Jeremiah,

    Good thoughts. I see a challenge in how to communicate this moving from the “silo” set up many companies have now: “we have our website, we have our direct mail, we have our email campaign…”

    We’ve been talking about the various disparate parts to add to that – Facebook, Twitter, etc…

    Now it’s moving more 3-D! I love it…but I am also concerned about clearly communicating this to my customers & potential customers.

    Good stuff to think about.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/peterdutoit Peter Toit

    Great post! I like the perspective you have on the Open Graph API being a move to counter Google’s SideWiki.

  • Bush Robinson

    “Its”, not “it’s”. Proper grammar, please!

  • http://www.t-mobile.com ChrisH

    Let me first acknowledge another significant post, and huge information. Excellent thought leadership, and greatly appreciated.

    There are some interesting things to consider with your recommendations for adapting strategy, and many hold true regardless of industry or vertical. Wher eI see a bit of a differentiation is with companies that have product realization strategies AND are bit-pipe providers to either home or mobile (and there are several significant players there) – essentially all of the Baby Bell offshoots and high-speed wireless providers.

    Social CRM is about monetizing customer analytics through proactive and reactive adaptation (income generation and cost or risk avoidance).

    Bit pipe providers have a unique opporutnity to intercept that data flow at the point of origin IF they can find compelling ways to keep people engaged at their own web properties first.

    Given that FB and Google development efforts are quickly allow the inclusion of their social elements off-property, the evolutionary trick is that the first companies that figure out how to keep people engaged while providing data access and social core features will be uniquely positioned to capture significant growth opportunities.

    I believe you have outlined a very viable strategy for the other 90%, but this one core segment requires retention rather than pushing its customers to some other property where that company captures deep Customer Analytics and 360 degree view of the customer at the bit pipe providers expense.

    I am sure there are potential Partnering strategies, but I haven’t thought through it enough yet to suggest one. Would make a great follow-up post though!

    Thanks for all that you do, Jeremiah!

    ChrisH

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  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    David Meiselman

    Not just Disqus but also JSkit, Livebar, and other ‘quick embed’ conversational features. It’ll be key for those vendors to quickly integrate with existing social graphs from FB, Google, and Twitter.

    Bush Robinson, thanks, I corrected it, that’s a common mistake I make –which spell/grammar check often doesn’t catch.

  • Jacob Martin

    For a few months we have been playing around on Facebook, but have not found a way to monetize. It is nice to see them making advancements in the advertising platforms. I am hoping we can find a way to make Facebook work for us.

  • http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/ John Troyer

    This is significant. VMware is in a good situation already in that we have a substantial (million member) hosted community and a very active Twitter community – but if Facebook can successfully enable the discussion along the breadth of its membership, it’s going to dwarf other channels.

  • http://mymediasecrets.com Robert Phillips

    Important and much needed strategy to be implemented by Facebook in order to cope up with growing competition from various social media sites and other competitors. I think these days every business is having their own facebook fan page; which will be helpful to market their products and services by social media marketing. I like this idea to market in the internet. Even I have fan page for my business. Anyway thank you for sharing this information.

  • http://www.donaghmcsweeney.com/ Donagh Mc Sweeney

    Thanks for the helpful insight Jeremiah.

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  • SolarHeat24

    Wow….I thought google was coming out with a social network called ‘Wave’. I guess not or did they change the name of it to ‘stealth’?

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see if they can keep up with facebook when they come out….I will be keeping an eye out. I’m about to go and do some research on the matter.

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    Interesting point of view and well written article. I know a lot more about this topic now thanks to your post.

  • http://www.thebrainchildgroup.com/blog/2010/01/corporate-seo-consulting-sem-training/ SEO

    Excellent article!

    In the past few years it seems as if corporations have flocked to Facebook and Twitter. I'm curious to see what the future has in store for us.

    -Aaron

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