Sunday, June 5, 2011

5 deadly content flaws on Facebook

Dubai, June 2011:Before I decided to write this post I had a discussion with a colleague of mine who shared with me an interesting dialogue that took place between a brand and a fan. Obviously we’re talking about facebook and a brand’s fan page. We will not dig into the objectives of using facebook by brands and why they go there in the first place. This post discusses what content these brands use on facebook and whether it will get them to their objective (that’s if they’ve set any) and what results will come out of it.

The brand I’ve randomly selected is a hair care product that has an international reputation and has been in the market for decades. When I read through the fan page, it reminds me of the Mexican soaps that invaded the Middle East in the early 90’s and continue until today. The scenario comes as if two Arabic Language teachers are having a dialogue in Damascus or Sanaa. What are the flaws of such a scenario?
1.       The content is not tailor-made to suit the taste of a social media FAN in general and that of facebook in particular; it was rather a copy of press ad content.

2.       Indistinguishable feed: The statements of different fans were all in formal Arabic and give the impression that they were tailored by the same person (fan) although they represent different fans. This shows fabrication of content and will drive real fans away from the page.
In principle, social media doesn’t have a place for the formalities similar to that in mainstream advertising. The advertiser has to be extra careful of misinterpretations and is solely focused on generating sales or what leads to it.  Hence, only few ads make it to the mind and heart of a consumer and those are called the “creative or out of the box” ones. To me, social media is a reflection of one’s social standards and practices and these rarely come in strict standards and protocols. Hence, I can’t understand how any one on social media expects to engage with the audience by being so uptight and formal.
As for the visual side,
3.       The BIG flaw is to insert your press ad on your facebook fan page and expect to engage your fans. A simple definition of social media says that it’s all about entertainment and stresses on the fact that it’s FREE entertainment. If you think that saving a few cents by not developing your social media customized visuals will help you save the day, well you’re wrong. Many have realized the importance of social media required content and are not only developing visuals but also application and gadgets that help engagement. Here comes my repeated advise to companies who wish to go on Social Media (don’t if you’re not ready, and ready doesn’t mean a facebook and twitter account…)
And then there’s the SMART way to engage fans..
4.       Offering a free product or service for members to register, follow, or accept your friend invitation. This is a simple one, have you asked yourself why you went on social media or how did you first hear about it? In both cases you’ll get the same answer, it’s the infotaining experience and never the free gift. HOW the heck will I receive a gift from some company based in Timbuktu when I’m living in Dubai? Can someone tell these companies that internet is global. Presence on social media is dependent on your entertaining content that offers information for free and not a free product that I might not need or even care for.
Followed by “Look at me I’m so sexy”

5.       Self praise or Exaggerated nonsense. On another page, I could read the following “ we offer the best bla bla in the market and we only care about providing our customers with the best after-sales bla bla”. People, when you’re on social media, you praise your customers, they praise you. It’s never the opposite. Your brand fan page should become a REVIEWS page or recommendations page signed and filled by those who tried and experienced your product/service. This should all happen in an infotaining way.

I hope I wasn’t too flexible describing the flaws of companies FRESH to social media. If you have experienced more flaws, please don’t hesitate to add them as a comment on my blog

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