Digital choice: Facebook

People are increasingly choosing products, brands and services based on their online presence and relying heavily on reviews from members of their social networking sites.

As this need for recommendation increases, the impact of advertising diminishes.

Now that brands are allowed to create sponsored pages on Facebook, this gives them the opportunity to engage in dialogue with these users. However, the 'social glue' needs to be added. For brands aiming to be friends with the users, this has the same implications as any other friendship. Treat your users with the same respect and trust as real-life friends. A friend does not spam people. A friend doesn't just talk about himself. A friend remembers you and what you stand for - that's the social glue.

The challenge for brands is to recognise that involvement in social media is a trading game. The currency is time, and attention to important things such as entertainment, information, social-recognition and fame. But like any other new media format we'll see brands 'misinterpret' this opportunity, causing increased clutter of less viable campaigns and content and, ultimately, rejection by the users. So get in early and ride the wave before it's too late.

On Facebook, brands have to compete for attention, not only with other advertisers, but with all users. Users are not trying to push a branded message. They are trying to make themselves as attractive to interact with as they possibly can. Brands should be, too.

Agency: In-house.

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