Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Can Facebook work for PR? – Part 2 – Guest Post

As I previously mentioned I would be keeping an eye on uses of PR within Facebook.

I got in contact with Lee Henshaw, founder of 'Silence' a London based online advertising agency that were hired by Alicia Keys to boost her online profile. Silence created the “As I Am” application for Facebook as part of the brief.

Lee recently commented on Brandrepublic:
'Social media are a challenge for publicists,'...'There are no editors, so to reach this community you have to act like a friend, rather than as an advertiser.'

Lee had this to say:

'Of all the social networks, Facebook represents the biggest challenge for publicists.

You Tube, for example, has Featured Videos, and My Space has Featured Artists. These are editorial slots that a publicist can negotiate.

Facebook doesn't offer similar opportunities. You can set up a Facebook group, of course, but doing that well requires a flare for a rarer PR skill, the publicity stunt. Looking at groups my friends are joining and leaving today, I see that the group for the Manchester band Red Vinyl Fur has less than 200 members, while the “I Secretly Want To Punch Slow Walking People In The Back Of The Head” group has nearly 750,000 members.

The people behind the “I Secretly Want To Punch Slow Walking People In The Back Of The Head” group are publicising a Facebook app called Sekret Gifts. A good PR stunt? Yes and no. If they'd chosen to advertise their app and paid an £8 CPM, for example, it would have cost £6,000 to generate 750,000 page impressions. How much did it cost them to conceive this group? A few rounds in the pub, you'd guess. Their Sekret Gifts app though has only been added 4,000 times (representing a modest 0.005% click through rate), and wherever this wonderfully titled group is written about online, the app is never mentioned. There's no connection between the group and the product in the same way that Cadbury, for example, had one for its Bring Back Wispa groups.

As for Red Vinyl Fur, maybe their Facebook group would be more popular if its title reflected something they stood for - Girls With Guitars Rock Harder Than Boys, say. London's Heaven nightclub, for example, has a group that will donate 1p to a cancer charity for every member it attracts. They currently have 25,000 members, leaving them with a £250 donation to make. Their £10 CPM is arguably more cost-effective than paying for a website to serve 1,000 page impressions because they're paying for 1,000 people to respond to a call-to-action, and, of course, they're supporting a good cause rather than lining an online publisher's pocket.

The Facebook group, therefore, should be the publicist's responsibility. The right stunt can reach 1000's and if you make it newsworthy, maybe millions. The Facebook app, however, can't be the publicist's alone, because, as with most products, you can't make a Facebook app popular without advertising it.

There are 10,000 Facebook apps but only 4 of them - Super Wall, Funwall, Top Friends and Video - have over 1m active users. Publicists can conceive apps, manage their build, and contributing to their popularity by ensuring they're written about, but that approach alone will never bother the most popular apps. Parlaphone, for example, got plenty of publicity for Kylie's Kylierobotics app, but it only has 169 active users (Which Spice Girl are You? has 10,000). To break through the clutter you need a budget to advertise the app on Facebook, and Facebook will only start talking to you when you have a minimum of $50,000 to spend, which, while PR remains the thin end of the wedge, eclipses most publicity budgets.'

Instead of a advert, this week I am going for a video of my guest blogger:

1 comment:

Giles said...

Tip: This looks crap on IE7 use Firefox!