Brands must be authentic storytellers on Facebook, say execs at fMC

Joanna Shields: vice president and managing director of Facebook
Joanna Shields: vice president and managing director of Facebook

Brands that come "late to the party" on Facebook still have every chance of success on the platform but must ensure they are authentic and consistent, was a key message from the social network's first UK marketing conference.

Facebook launched a charm offensive on UK-based marketers and agencies at the event, offering advice on how to get the most out of the platform.

The event followed a similar format to the inaugural Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) hosted by the social networking platform earlier this year in New York.

Speakers included: Joanna Shields, vice president and managing director of Facebook, EMEA; Marc Menesguen, global chief marketing officer for L'Oreal; David Fischer, vice president of business at marketing partnerships at Facebook; Rob Horler, chief executive of Aegis Media; and Andrew Bosworth, director of product engineering at Facebook.

One of the over-arching messages emanating from the conference was the need for brands advertising on Facebook to be authentic and consistent.

Shields delivered the keynote speech, telling marketers, "now is your chance".

She said: "If your brand resonates, it becomes a story. You too can start a movement that is heard around the world."

Facebook's 845 million global users have made it a popular advertising channel with brands.

But Shields, who was speaking at a panel discussion, said Facebook often gets approached by companies that say "we are late to the party."

She said any brand could "start today" and see "incredible success over the year."

When asked what advice the panel had for "late" brands, Horler said: "I don't think anyone is too late, it can be very easy if you get it right."

He advised brands to "look at your own organisational structures, processes and people" before getting involved.

Menesguen agreed that companies must have the right resources in place to be effective on Facebook as "it's a hard job".

He said: "The most important thing for brands on Facebook is sincerity and authenticity. You have got to get your act together and know what you stand for […] if you don't know the value you can't share it."

He said brands on Facebook must post regularly, with the "always on approach".

Be interesting and be authentic

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of DDB UK, also stressed the need for authenticity on Facebook, as well as ensuring brands have something interesting to say. He conceded this is easier for interesting brands with a heritage.

He said: "But even without the heritage, key thing is authenticity, underpinning that, like any communication, honesty is critical and you must be true to the spirit of brand."

The "first hurdle," he said, to brands on Facebook is "opening up" and they should behave like a person on the social network.

The issue was also discussed by Fischer in his keynote speech. He said: "Brands can have the interesting and meaningful conversations that users might have with colleagues and families on Facebook."

Fischer stressed the need for brands to be storytellers on the platform. "Ads are good," he said, "but even better is telling that story. Stories grip us, mark meaning for us and are something we share," he said.

Bosworth said the best way for brands to create these meaningful stories is through "richer content" and super considered, super beautiful media." He highlighted Burberry as an example using quality content on its Facebook page.

Follow Sarah Shearman on Twitter @Shearmans


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message