5 Ways to Leverage Facebook’s Open Graph Before the Holidays

Nov 07, 2012 7:36 PM  By

Social media will be a critical component of holiday marketing efforts for retailers this year. Most notably, Facebook’s open graph will influence how retailers create programs to engage their consumers, drive powerful organic word of mouth, as well as improve paid media spend on Facebook.

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Retailers must rethink their strategies on Facebook, as it is no longer effective to simply push their branded marketing messages out to their consumers over social channels. Consumers are powerful vehicles for delivering trusted, relevant messages about retailers to their friends.

And, with Facebook’s open graph, retailers can build holiday programs and promotions that foster the creation and sharing of consumer word of mouth, driving their friends and peers through the purchasing funnel.

Here are the top five ways online retailers can leverage Facebook’s open graph this holiday season:

Move beyond the like
Retailers have spent a lot of time and money amassing Likes, but most struggle with the real value these initiatives. The Like is relatively flat and ambiguous – and it doesn’t translate directly to intent or ROI.

With Facebook’s open graph, online retailers can now create interactions with consumers that are contextually relevant. For example, TastingRoom.com, an online wine retailer enables its consumers to spread their love of wine by sharing that they “want it”, “tried it” and “recommend” different wines. These stories create powerful, relevant earned media word of mouth and drive friends of fans into the top of the holiday sales funnel.

Shift focus to the consumer timeline
In conjunction with the open graph, Facebook introduced the timeline, which changed the game for retailers. The brand timeline is focused on telling the brand’s story and engaging consumers, but provides less of an opportunity to market. Additionally, according to ComScore, brand pages reach only 16% of fans each week.

Consumer timelines are now incredibly valuable to marketers because they are where the majority of consumer interaction takes place. With the open graph, consumer stories about a brand are now broadcast front-and-center on consumer timelines as well as in the news feeds and tickers of their friends, creating digital virality.

Retailers can build holiday promotions to generate consumer stories and claim real estate on the Consumer Timeline to maximize awareness with friends of their fans this holiday season.

Use promotions to drive opt-ins
Most retailers have used Facebook promotions to acquire likes and fans. However, likes and fans can only be targeted on Facebook and not through other marketing channels.

With the open graph, retailers can launch Facebook promotions that require a permissioning process (in Facebook terms, an “app install”). Through this process, retailers can gather marketing opt-ins from consumers, building out their cross-channel marketing lists with Facebook promotions.

Gain insight into consumer demographics
Facebook’s open graph gives retailers insight and data about program performance, consumer demographics, and social reach to a level that has never before been available.
Retailers can understand who is sharing stories about their brands, products and services.

Marketers can also see the aggregate demographics of friends that engage with stories, which enable them to optimize campaigns. Retailers should use the deep insights gained through the open graph to optimize their Facebook campaigns this holiday season.

Sponsored stories
Retailers should investigate the use of sponsored stories for their Facebook advertising this holiday season. sponsored stories create a significant advertising opportunity for retailers on Facebook:

  • Friends are endorsing brands and providing social context. According Nielsen, recall of messages increases 55% with social context.
  • Sponsored story targeting reaches audiences with 90 – 95% accuracy, compared to an industry average of 35%, according to Facebook.
  • Sponsored stories see a 46% higher CTR, and a 20% lower CPC than Facebook Ads, according to TGB Digital.

Brad Klaus is CEO of social media firm Extole.