Imagine you had a party that got reported around the world. A party that never took place at all.
So here’s what the fictional party looked like.
“A birthday party invitation posted on the popular social websites Facebook and Bebo attracted some 400 guests and gatecrashers.
The birthday girl, British 16-year-old Jodie Hudson, and her mother Amanda learned too late the disaster the online invitation would cause to their luxurious Marbella vacation villa. The villa suffered ruined walls, destroyed carpets, and broken banisters, doors and furniture.
And apparently they threw a TV into the swimming pool.”
As I said: The party never happened.
But month after months parties such as this do happen.
If you were to trundle down to downtown Auckland you'll find hordes of party-goers. They turn up. They drink. They dance. They socialise. And more importantly they don't destroy furniture or throw TVs into the harbour.
And the primary source of attraction isn't an email newsletter. Or posters plastered all around town. Or someone making a call to invite you to the party.
Amazing as it may sound to your ears, it all happens on Facebook.
But surely Facebook is for a younger demographic, you argue.
And again, you'd be a lot off the mark.
Because savvy marketers across the planet are using Facebook to gain supporters and customers. And contrary to what you may believe, the demographics of Facebook has changed rapidly.
Suddenly, it's your customer that's on Facebook: And he/she is no teen.
But how do we know this to be true?
There's proof, of course, but let's see why Facebook seems to work better than email or other media. The biggest reason why Facebook works is because it's a lot like how you get business offline. If you look at about 80% of your business, you'll notice one striking fact. That the chunk of your business comes to you via word-of-mouth.
And that's how Facebook works.
You post your Facebook profile.
And people find you.
God knows how they find you, but they do.
And the reason why they find you is because your customer is doing all the hard work. Because it's so easy to put up a page on Facebook, most people do. The next thing they do is populate the page with things they like. And some of the things they like are things that you sell.
So let's look at the examples:
1) Gail Martin: Author of Science-Fiction books.
2) An Auckland DJ who wanted to prevent bars from closing at 3am.
3) Barack Obama who wants voters to show up–and vote for him.
4) SpyBar that has theme-events that attract party-goers.
5) The All Blacks that gets support for the Tri-Nations Trophy.
6) Auckland Salsa Freaks for people of all ages to learn a new dance move.
So let's expand on three of these many examples
Example 1: SpyBar
In the past, SpyBar used to use email newsletters to generate traffic to their events. Despite sustained efforts, their email list grew slowly. This is because it required party-goers to get to SpyBar's website and then register.
Traditional methods such as printing posters, and sending out physical invites were costly and time-consuming.
Facebook has none of these constraints.
The party-goers were already visiting Facebook on a regular basis. And were just one click away from landing on the SpyBar Facebook page. What's even more interesting, is that in almost every case, it was the party-goers themselves, that introduced their friends to the SpyBar Facebook page.
Whenever Spybar has an event, all they have to do is post their event (and posters) on Facebook. And send a notification to all their Facebook friends.
Immediately there's a response. Party-goers have an RSVP mechanism that enables SpyBar to then gauge the numbers of likely attendees.
Example 2: Gail Martin: Pre-selling Science Fiction Books
Most publishers do diddly squat for their writers. In most cases, publishers will promote the super-star authors, and leave the rest of the authors to do their own marketing. Gail Martin uses Facebook by getting onto Science-fiction sites and driving visitors from there to her Facebook site.
This enables her to build a ‘database of friends.' And when a new book is about to be released, she can not only create a buzz around the new book, but can also use Facebook friends to promote her book to their friends.
Because a large number of her books sell in the gift-giving period running up to Christmas, she can then manage a campaign that not only gets her speaking engagements, and book-signings, but also push up the sales of her book at just the right time.
And a lot of this activity is simply done by the ‘friends'. All Gail has to do is send out one notification. Then friends take over, telling friends. And the ball starts rolling.
Example 3: An Auckland DJ who's against bars closing at 3am
On 10 July 2008, Auckland Police decided to submit a plan – which would dramatically alter Auckland's nightlife – to the city council with a plea for the 24-hour licensing policy to be brought into line with other districts.
Immediately an Auckland DJ, decided to put together a group on Facebook. This group would be dormant unless the plan went forward. The Auckland city council shot down the plan, but well over 1000 people had already signed in to the Facebook page, ready to protest should they be deprived of their vodka and martinis at 3am.
Facebook as you can see, is a group-building activity
Most pages were initially set up just to meet others online. But that situation has morphed into something bigger.
If you're selling ice-cream as Movenpick does, you can start up an Ice-Cream Lovers Event.
If you're selling bread, as Baker's Delight does, you can start up a group that adores Cheesymites.
If you're selling real estate, you can literally do open-homes for specific houses online, separating each group based on the type of house they prefer.
But there's always the question: How do you get started?
There are three core ways to get started.
Method 1: If you've got a online list
Method 2: If you've got a offline list or retail establishment.
Method 3: If you don't have a list of any kind. Or no store.
If you’ve got an online list, email them and ask them to join be your Facebook Friends. And yes, send a reminder or two as well.
That will build up your Facebook list quickly. With an offline list, you can do the same. And make sure that you entice customers with some goodies, so that they can go online and register.
But what if you don’t have a store or any online list for that matter? Well, you simply find other lists. Gail Martin gets traffic from other sci-fi sites. The Auckland Dj simply tapped into various bars lists on Facebook. Yup, it’s indeed possible to visit other sites and simply invite friends over.
Yes, Facebook is just another way of marketing. But what makes it entirely different from other methods is the instant word-of-mouth appeal.
That alone should make you investigate.
About the Author: Sean D’Souza is founder of Psychotactics and author of The Brain Audit.
Next Step: Want to learn more about branding? Find the entire branding series in text, audio with cartoons!
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