Think(ing) Like Zuck: 5 Facebook Marketing Tips

Originally posted on WCG’s blog on 1/15/2013.

When I agreed to review Ekaterina Walter’s new book, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg, I immediately tried to think of a way to make the book review special. After all, Ekaterina is not only a friend (and client) but more importantly, she’s a very smart woman who has achieved quite a bit at a young age. In addition to being a regular contributor to Mashable, Fast Company, and Huffington Post, she has also been featured in Forbes. If that wasn’t enough, she also sits on the Board of Directors for the prestigious Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).
The problem is that unless one regularly writes book reviews, they can be a little boring and probably not as informative as one would like. And while I’ve done a few in my day including Josh Bernoff’s book Empowered for AdAge, Clay Shirky’s, Cognitive Surplus and most recently, Chade-Meng Tan of Google’s, Search Inside Yourself, I still don’t have the swing of it. Fortunately for me (and you) Ekaterina not only learned some important business lessons from Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg over the last several years, she also knows how to share a few herself.
To that end, before get into a quick synopsis of Ekaterina’s book I am going to give you five of her best Facebook marketing tips. Note that these aren’t just tips that she picked up while managing her own personal page. In fact, these are tips that she’s learned from helping to manage Intel’s Facebook page which happens to have north of 16 million fans as of this writing. Here goes:
  1. Humanize your voice.
    Though you need to be mindful of the consistency of your brand voice, it doesn’t mean that it has to sound “corporate”. This is the community of people, not a platform for broadcasting the PR messages, so address your fans as they were your friends. Remember, the biggest ROI of Facebook is in humanizing your brand. So humanize your voice as well.
  2. Adjust your content strategy as you go.
    Besides being a part of the community and hoping to get discounts on your products, information is one of the most important reasons why your customers become your fans on Facebook. So add stickiness to your page through great content. Use 80/20 rule: 80% of status updates should provide value to the fan and 20% can be around your products or services.
  3. Keep your status updates short.
    Even though Facebook increased the maximum number of characters for the original post from 420 to 63,206, you shouldn’t by any means try to use all of them. A study by Buddy Media showed that posts 80 characters or less in length receive 27% higher engagement rates. Besides, if you ever want to use Sponsored Story products, only the first 90 characters of your status update will be visible in the ad.
  4. Post frequency and timing.
    Every brand is different, but normally posting once a day 5-7 times a week works rather well. By posting too much you risk alienating your fans, but not posting enough, you lose your reach. The study by comScore and Facebook found that each incremental day of publishing increases the reach among fans by approximately 2.5%. So my recommendation is to post 7 days a week.
  5. Moderation guidelines.
    Ensure that your Facebook community has clear House Rules or moderation guidelines. You should specify how you will manage your community, what to expect and which posts you will absolutely not tolerate (abusive, insulting, illegal, etc). Always be prepared in case you’ll have to refer your rowdy fans back to your guidelines. Also, specify what your response timing is, so your customers are not upset if you not able to address inquiries immediately.

Now that we have Ekaterina’s five tips, let’s move onto a quick synopsis of the book.

What I like about the book is that Ekaterina starts off with a few examples of how Facebook is changing our society by connecting us in ways like never before. She follows that up with a few pages of mind blowing statistics (hint: Facebook would be the third largest country on earth). But that’s just the appetizer. It’s the main course — her five secrets — that really start the creative juices flowing.

With too many authors, there is a tendency to get wrapped around the axle with too much detail. Not in Ekaterina’s case. In fact, arguably the best thing about “Think Like Zuck” is the simplicity of the construct she uses to convey the CEO savant’s five life lessons: the 5 Ps.

The 5 Ps described in the book are:

  • Passion — Keep your energy and commitment fully charged at all times by pursuing something you believe in.
  • Purpose — Don’t just create a great product, drive a meaningful movement.
  • People — Build powerful teams that can execute your vision.
  • Product — Create a product that is innovative, that breaks all the rules, that changes everything.
  • Partnerships — Build powerful partnerships with people who fuel imagination and energize execution.

In addition to her five secrets (the 5 Ps), the other thing that caught my eye were the use of pithy but powerful quotes throughout the book. I’m not sure if this was intentional but these quotes (a few of my favorites are cited below) are similar to the “keep your status updates short” mantra in the five tips above:

  • Transparency and empowerment breed dedication, loyalty and trust. Trust is the unleashed imagination and unlimited innovation (p. 101)
  • A company’s success is serious business. But introducing a little fun into the workplace makes for a happy and highly motivated employee base (p. 110)
  • Make innovation personal! Involve your employees and give them freedom to create (p. 151)

The thing that I appreciated the most about the book? It was only 184 pages (minus the notes/appendix). To be honest, that’s about all the attention span anyone has these days for a business book. And considering the fact that Ekaterina was able to sum up the five things that make Mark Zuckerberg a great (even if improbable) leader in such an efficient fashion, I can feel good telling you that you should buy a copy, even if you aren’t destined to be the next CEO of the largest and most successful social network in the world.

2013 Predictions from a Bunch of “Dummies”

As we roll into the new year, it’s always a great time for us marketers to look ahead to what is in store for us. This year, I wanted to take a unique approach to my predictions of 2013 by asking some of my fellow Dummies book authors to provide their perspective within their specific areas of expertise. In most of the cases below, these predictions fall into the realm of social media/social media marketing (Marsha Collier is unique in the fact that she’s written several books including one on eBay for Dummies).

I do plan to do a predictions post on mobile/location-based marketing which will appear in my monthly MarketingLand column. You can also find thoughts by several industry experts on the state of the state in location-based marketing in this post I put together for my friend, Jason Keath, of Social Fresh here.

Without further adieu, here are the predictions by several very smart “Dummy” authors:

Marsha Collier (too many Dummies titles to list)

I think this is a great idea for a post – especially because “For Dummies” authors examine their topics so deeply. Seeing as I cover three areas in Dummies books…. you can find a fairly complete list of current books here:

eBay:
eBay will further to shed it’s “garage sale” persona (yes, there are still plenty of people who do not shop the site on a regular basis). Major brands will finally see eBay as a profitable and legitimate venue for end of season and liquidation selling. Buyers will realize that much of the merchandise bought on the site is covered under the same warranties as alsewhere – and are covered by eBay’s customer buyer protection policy.

Seniors and social media:
By exposing themselves more and more to social media, seniors will see through the myths that fostered fears of social media. It will become an accepted communication venue across the generations.

Social media commerce:
I first predicted this in 2009, but it is finally coming to reality. Consumer brands will realize that online/social powered customer service is far more expedient than phone for first contact. Brands that adapt in 2013 have the opportunity of learning from very public mistakes and create their own voice to their customers – without broadcasting. New relationships with the customer have proven to build sales.

Paul DunayFacebook Marketing for Dummies

Retailers Get Smart using Facebook Data
Major Retail Companies have failed at creating commerce on Facebook because they approached the channel as another outlet for their wares when in actual fact they need to be leveraging the data within the Facebook channel to provide the ideal customer experience on their site. Next year we will see this shift begin.

 

Laura Fitton | Twitter for Dummies

I see 2013 could be a really interesting turning point for Twitter, especially as IPO speculation heats up and business model clarity is needed. You have some of your most intense early adopters already trying to pronounce it dead or dying just because they’ve moved their more intense sharing onto other platforms like Path and Facebook. While that’s true there’s just no way to discount the upside potential of a truly mainstream Twitter. With 200 million monthly active users and nearly constant mainstream media exposure on television, print and radio, continued growth is almost guaranteed. On the other hand, the DM spam problems are getting terrible and I seriously wonder what the future of that feature will be, given how poorly they support it. Mainstream small businesses are really just getting exposed now to how they could use Twitter to better connect to their existing customers, let alone to grow their base of new ones.

The platform continues to suffer from terrible DM spam, and a lot of the early adopters are shifting their more personal interactions to other platforms

Kyle Lacy | Twitter Marketing for Dummies

The year will be forever remembered as the year of consolidation and leadership in the world of interactive marketing. Organizations will start to deconstruct marketing departments to cater to the need of cross-channel communication with consumers. Leadership will be defined as the organizations who listen to the customer and deliver personal messages via all channels – email, mobile, and social.

Deb Ng | Online Community Management for Dummies

Community management is going to be a more strategic role moving forward. While less brands will see community managers as glorified tweeters, I think the role will evolve into more a social media strategist role than specifically a community building role. It will be less about growing a community and giving a warm, fuzzy vibe, than it is about getting the right messaging out. Because of this, I also see community managers handling content distribution.

Note: Deb is also the co-author of Social Media Marketing for Dummies. 

Michael Schneider | Location-Based Marketing for Dummies (Mike and I are co-authors of this book)

I don’t see the “stitching data together” problem getting any easier in 2013 as more niche apps and new graphs emerge. The hot thing will be mood / wellbeing. Apps that use relationships and data to make us healthier and happier will be huge. We saw a lot on the fitness front in 2012 with Nike Fuel Band, the Nike+ suite, Larklife and the incumbent Fitbit. Garmin integrated with Strava for serious cyclists to build community, competition and virality. I see apps like InFlow, Happier, Superbetter, Happify and Hmmm that try to combine semantics, science, location and social to make us feel better being big.

Lori Randall Stradtman | Online Reputation Management For Dummies

When I think about which social media tools, trends or ideas I am most excited about as we head into 2013, I’m thinking big data tools. I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on a social media monitoring tool that can dive deeper than we’ve ever seen before into the dark waters of Big Data and surface with real-time treasures that show segmented information so that brands can find “their people” and create approaches that appeal to them specifically. This will also be huge for crisis management. The best way to deal with a social media meltdown is to nip it in the bud by paying attention to what’s happening around your brand.

 

I may have another 1-2 predictions coming from some other Dummies authors who are in the process of polishing their crystal balls. But in the meantime, if you have a prediction of your own (or one that you’d like to see, please include it below in the comments).