Pass It On: Content, Marketing To Be Shaped By Social Media
The trick is to get users, as they publish information about themselves, to also, as Shoket put it, "publish information about our brands to their friends."
Kirkpatrick said publishers can take advantage of Facebook's viral power by "thinking about what it is about your content that makes them want to pass it along"—such as an effective image to accompany the headline. "Realize that is increasingly the way people will be reading your article on the Web, through pass-alongs," he said. "So when you publish an article on the Web, experiment with what it looks like when you pass it along on Facebook. See what that postage stamp looks like. Is there really a truly relevant postage stamp?
"You need to really be thinking about your content as a 'pass-alongable' quantity, because that's how your readers think of it."
Essential to Marketing Strategy
As for marketing, "The creative process now begins in social," Kirkpatrick said. Marketers have realized that you can design and test campaigns through this medium. "That is what is leading the smartest ad agencies as they are designing a campaign ... They are not going to think of the magazine ad first in most cases."
Marketers and their customers are even using social media campaigns to help redesign products or shape overall customer experiences, as Starbucks has done in redesigning its stores based on online feedback and engagement, Kirkpatrick noted.
The other key marketing component is Facebook's unprecedented "targetability," enabled by Facebook users' willingness to share personal information. "[Facebook does] use that very aggressively to help marketers target buckets of people," he said, noting small, local businesses as well as national brands are seeing success with such strategies.
The willingness of younger users to share every aspect of their lives is difficult for those over 30 to understand, but has profound implications for media and culture, Kirkpatrick noted. "The young are forcibly pulling the old into their world of transparency," he said. "There are plenty of communities in the world today where, if you are not on Facebook, you are not engaged in the social dialogue."