Facebook Marketing Still Viable, Even In the Wake of Scandal

Facebook Marketing Still Viable, Even In the Wake of Scandal

Two months ago, Facebook took a hard hit when the public learned that the social media giant allowed the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest personal user data due to a loophole in its user data security.

Facebook’s market value dropped by $59 billion, and the hashtag #DeleteFacebook began circulating, causing some people, including top executives and celebrities, to dump their accounts.

This, in turn, has caused social media marketers and advertisers more than a little concern, given the limits Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to impose, such as auditing apps with user information and requiring user consent before embarking upon custom campaigns.

But, how much has the scandal really affected Facebook users? According to a recent Brand24 blog on the subject, “The scandal will have a greater effect on Facebook advertisers and marketers, as opposed to Facebook users themselves.” If that’s true, social media marketers will indeed need to adapt their campaigns to changes in Facebook’s advertising policies.

But, let’s look first at why people don’t seem to be on a mass exodus from Facebook, even in the wake of the security breach. Human psychology plays a big role, and, given that most Facebook users have been on the platform for about 10 years now, it may not be going away any time soon.

Facebook is that bar from ‘Cheers’ or a virtual town where everyone knows your name,” said author and psychotherapist Fran Walfish. “Why would you go somewhere else? The primary motivation to be on Facebook is to reap the benefits of huge amounts of positive affirmation. The opposite of that is rejection.”

Walfish goes on to say that people who suddenly go dark on Facebook are seen as either hostile, depressed, suffering from a negative life change, or all of the above. Plus, asserts Simon Rego, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, leaving Facebook is like breaking up with all your friends. Who wants that?

People are also generally less fearful of a violation of their privacy than, say, an outbreak of the E.coli virus, according to senior finance editor Quentin Fottrell. A disease can kill you, but the ramifications of a breach in security are harder to understand.

And, let’s face it, the daily connection over two billion people around the world experience on Facebook is hard to give up, not to mention the online presence they’ve taken years to build.

“No one is leaving,” said CNBC reporter Michelle Castillo, including most marketing and advertising agencies. Contrary to what some marketing experts predict (and to the fact that Commerzbank and Mozilla said they would suspend advertising on Facebook), she wrote, “Agencies are skeptical many people are going to leave Facebook – or at least enough to make a difference for advertisers. The public’s attention span is fleeting…and even massive breaches that affected Yahoo and Equifax haven’t turned people off those services.”

That sentiment is echoed by employees in Facebook’s advertising and media sectors, who wished to remain anonymous: “Most advertisers are not planning to reduce their spend.” And, according to Forbes, “Unless Facebook is able to create new ways to monetize the platform, advertising will continue to be its bread and butter.”

So, which is it? Facebook marketing and advertising is going to wane due to the scandal, or it’s not? Most experts agree that it’s too soon to definitively tell, but there are measures social media marketers can take to address restricted access to Facebook user data that previously afforded them laser insight into consumer behavior, wants and needs.

• First, keep an eye on Facebook’s advertising policies, or ask your marketing experts to inform you of those changes.

• Monitor your social media, which will allow you to glean valuable information about your brand and its success (or lack thereof) from various social media channels and online conversations. If you don’t have the time or personnel to manually track this information, you can employ a marketing agency or make use of the many free social media monitoring tools or paid software applications to do the job. Social media monitoring sheds light on:

o Which influencers are the best for your brand
o What your competition is doing
o Spikes or dips in web traffic, and why
o Mentions of your brand or company
o Topics or keywords/phrases to use in your marketing strategy
o New distribution channels to employ
o The context of online discussions

• Generate fresh, engaging content on a regular basis.

• Identify what is truly unique about your brand and distinguish yourself in meaningful ways from your competition.

• Create hashtags for significant campaigns and monitor online mentions and engagement with them.

Another word of advice might be to relax, as Facebook users seem to be a faithful – and forgiving – bunch. If the platform has been working for your brand, resist the knee-jerk temptation to assume it suddenly won’t. Consider this: as of late April 2018, a month after the Cambridge Analytica breach, there were still 2.2 billion Facebook users across the globe, or nearly 1/3 of the world population. That’s a lot of potential customers!

IVY’s team of experts are helping our clients find continued success with Facebook marketing. Let us help you leverage social media for your campaigns, even in the shadow of doubt.

Mature Audiences Only: Event Marketing for Senior Housing Part I

Mature Audiences Only: Event Marketing for Senior Housing Part I

The viral advantages of online marketing are undisputed, but, until recently, most seniors were not regular Internet or social media users. Today, 67% of people 65+ use the Internet, and 62% are on Facebook, and those numbers are rising all the time. In fact, 82% of Baby Boomers belong to at least one social media site and spend two hours more per week online than those aged 16-34.

Despite seniors’ increasing adoption of the Internet into their daily lives, events are still the most effective way to generate relationships with customers and leads across all populations, particularly among people 65 and above. Eighty percent of marketers believe that event marketing is the single most effective marketing channel, and seniors have more time and opportunity than other demographics to attend events.

Let’s examine how to take full advantage of event marketing for the senior housing arena.

Why an Event?
Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish by hosting an event. Are you aiming to raise awareness of your senior community within the greater community (appropriate for a guest list of 50+ people); are you hoping to reach a smaller group of marketing qualified or sales accepted leads? Whatever your purpose, your event should conform to your overarching objective in every way—whether it is to raise awareness, gather contact information, clinch interested leads, raise funds, strengthen bonds with community partners, or simply entertain.

Live and In Person
Regardless of the reason for your event, there is no substitute for face-to-face communication, live and in the flesh. No amount of technological advancement or social media connections can change that. Live events provide invaluable opportunities to showcase your mission in action, property(ies)/services and foster lasting relationships with your prospects and stakeholders. Older adults who haven’t been glued to their electronic devices all their lives are likely to appreciate that more than most.

What Kind of Event?
The reason you’re having an event must govern the kind of event to host, with every detail falling in line with your primary goal. That said, because older adults generally have more breathing room in their lives, events that encourage lingering and facilitate learning and/or provide quality entertainment are especially effective. Seniors are seasoned, savvy and wise, but they are also continuously seeking new experiences.

Events should not only showcase your community inside and out (fair weather is best for outside events and tours); they should also feature speakers or presentations on topics of special interest to older adults and their families or cultural enlightenment. Even if they’re not yet ready for a move, your guests will remember the senior community that provided them with a memorable day or evening, and they’ll be much more likely to contact you when they are ready. Keep in mind, too, that older adults are accustomed to and motivated by incentives such as discounts for “early bird” registration, raffles and giveaways. Unless your overhead is considerable or you’re trying to raise charitable funds, offer free events instead of those that impose a cost to attend.

Where?
Your community is the ideal location to host an event, because it invites guests directly into the space you want them to call home. There, you can let them experience not only your residences, but your fabulous dining and amenities, too. Larger venues are appropriate if you’re partnering with other sponsors in a conference or trade show setting that is focused on your industry rather than your senior living community(ies) per se, or if you’re celebrating a grand occasion or milestone with a sizable guest list and require more space.

How Many and Whom to Invite?
First, invite no more than your community can very comfortably accommodate. There should be plenty of dining space and food/beverages (including seconds), mingling areas, manned check-in stations, commodious seating/staging arranged appropriately for your focus activity, adequate lighting, handicap accessibility, apartments to tour, restroom accommodations, amenities/common areas to showcase or try out, and friendly staff to handle all of these offerings and answer any questions. As for whom to invite, check your goals again. Most senior event guest lists include resident prospects first and foremost, their adult children, friends, caregivers, grandchildren (if appropriate), your marketing and sales teams, community partners, donors, and any key players in the life of your community.

Watch for “Mature Audiences Only: Event Marketing for Senior Housing Part II” next week (or next month, in the case of our newsletter), when we will examine how to promote your event and assess results.