Marketers reminded to speak when spoken to
If you’ve ever used Facebook web search [most likely it’s been an accident while you were searching for long lost friends], you’ll know you get served page results from Microsoft’s Bing. It’s no secret that this unholy, potentially Google–poaching allegiance has added another string to its bow; with recently Microsoft–acquired video chat juggernaut Skype soon to become available on Facebook to use during conversations between friends.
Marketing mag chased some thoughts from a couple of gun analysts at Forrester Research to see what this new deal means for marketers.
“This is another step for Facebook to solidify it as a central platform for communication and connection across the globe,” reckons Forrester Research’s Sean Corcoran. “Yet for marketers, this particular partnership offers little in the short term.”
Corcoran says obvious opportunities for brands to use the technology include customer service or live chats with fans, but so far, there is no word from Facebook if this will be possible.
“While the Skype partnership in itself may not have significant impact for marketers, the fact that Facebook is more open to partners building on its platform could,” explains Corcoran. “For instance, Facebook already has partnerships with Bing and EA, and many speculate a deeper Netflix integration could be on the way. These deals could lead to more opportunities for marketers to leverage Facebook's massive network through video, search, gaming, commerce, and more.”
Fellow Forrester analyst Steven Noble says there are already bigger things for marketers to be concerned about, before considering the Skype integration in to Facebook.
“I think marketers have got bigger things to worry about at the moment,” he tells Marketing mag. “It’s a nice additional feature for users, but as an impact on marketing landscape, it won’t be in the top ten issues this year.”
Noble says marketers shouldn’t look at Skype on Facebook as a new specific channel.
“Marketers need to focus on the total customer experience,” Noble explains. “At this stage in the life of marketing, we’re told it’s all about creating a brand experience for customers. Marketers are too constrained by a handful of communication channels, that there are only so many. They should be looking at how to form bridges with every part of the brand experience to deliver on their lofty promises. If an airline promises comfort, everything about that brand should be comfortable, every point of contact the customer has to experience the brand.”
Noble says marketers should keep this in mind when taking their brand to Google +, should it become a social media power; it’s just another small part of a much bigger picture.
“For people that focus on social media for a living, Google plus will become a part of their mix,” Noble says. “It’s not going to dominate expenditure.
“Google will provide support for marketers purchasing search ads and other products, and there will be targeted ads like we have seen with Facebook. But they’ll also have things we haven’t thought about. Marketers are going to wonder what Google Plus will offer in possibilities to have conversations with customers. The same principles will apply as how brands should operate in social media currently: don’t be intrusive, talk on the customer’s terms, wait your turn, don’t dominate, be polite.