Creating an identity is also intrinsic to social media itself. We define who we are to the outside world by our profile, photos and circle of friends. The brands we endorse online also help to define us in the digital space and offline.
Facebook provides a unique environment that is more powerful than traditional marketing, where users' actions are not done in a vacuum and their circle of friends are exposed to endorsements, comments, participation, etc. ... all of which create tremendous consumer engagement while generating substantial organic and viral impressions and buzz.
Looking at a sample of fashion brands on Facebook, it is easy to see the vast opportunity that awaits brands of all types. The Gap has over 324,000 fans while its sister company, Old Navy, has over 217,000. We also see Levis with over 220,000 and American Eagle with over 440,000 fans, while Converse is leading with over 1.4 million fans.
Marketers need to consider this new marketing channel as a legitimate messaging opportunity, leveraging the fact that their "fans" have opted in to hear from the brands they love and associate with.
If approached strategically, social media should be anchored to meet goals and answer business objectives, from driving acquisition, to incenting trial, to redeeming offers, to building loyalty and awareness and, ultimately, market share. Marketers need to treat social media as a true marketing medium with traditional thinking of segmentation and dayparting. They also need tools to know what is resonating with their existing fan base and what is driving viral growth most.
As an example, if a brand has 1 million fans and chooses to message that fan base two times a day, 365 days a year, that's a staggering 750 million possible engagements or 60 million per month.
A random sampling of our Facebook partners shows that 23% of users are within the 13-17 age range -- that is, nearly a quarter of the total audience we reach cross category is teenaged! Most brands will tell you that reaching youth is paramount for them as they represent the maturing spenders. Building brand affinity with this demo is key.
We like to say it is not about one-off campaigns because you think teens "get" social media more; it is about having a dedicated presence combined with messaging discipline which can all be tied to a brand's marketing calendar.