Building Real Relationships: What Facebook Can Do for People and Brands

What would you expect from a presentation by Facebook? A product launch, a sales pitch, a feature tutorial? The Group Director of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook Canada, Steve Irvine, gave an impressive keynote at digital media conference Canada 3.0, covering neither of those things.

Steve manages a team focused on building trusted advisory relationships with decision makers at some of the largest brands and agencies in Canada. Steve is an executive and successful entrepreneur with a track record of success in the digital and social media marketing industry. He was an entrepreneur for 10 years before taking a corporate job at Facebook – here’s his full bio.

After attending several conferences recently, Steve noticed the topics were all either Big Data, Mobile, or Social Media. What he took away is that they seem insanely complicated. Recently a Business Insider article shows just that in an “Insane Graphic”  to show How Complex Marketing Technology, below.

On Big Data

The “Noise” is growing. Yet, our memory hasn’t changed – our ability to take in and process info is the same as it was thousands of years ago. What is the implication of this?

To filter the sea of information, people are turning to their friends. Word of mouth matters: If a business says they’re the best, only 14% believe it, but if an individual says that business is the best themselves, 90% of people believe it. That’s huge for so many reasons.

“The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.” – Chuck Palahniuk

On Mobile

Moving from the green “online” icon to always on. This changes the expectations of organizations and brands, but most importantly the expectations that customers have of brands.

Steve says we’re going to mess this up for a bit longer, when it comes to mobile, by not taking advantage of the power available. For example when TV became available as a new platform, they mainly sat and read information to you just like they did on the Radio, the previous platform.

The printed flyer has been the number one thing that drives people into stores, forever. But people under 30 for example, don’t subscribe to or even pickup a newspaper. Really, the flyer concept is simply pictures of flyers on sale – so it can be made digital and social.

On Social Media

Engaging in the conversation and humanizing the brand is what social media is about. He references Bodyform’s video reply to a Facebook comment of someone complaining about them not honestly representing what women go through every month (watch the video here).

“Don’t focus on the sites, focus on the people.” It’s about delivering great experiences to your customers. The new technology and networks are tools ho help. Over time, identity has caught up with technology. You can now build and maintain relationships (business and personal) anywhere in the world, rather than what limited you by distance or cost.

So what do people really want?

  1. People want to feel unique.
  2. People want to feel connected.
  3. People communicate through many lightweight interactions.

There’s a ton of social media and marketing advice out there. But Steve shared a few of his guiding principles to simplify.

Guiding Principles for Social Media

  1. Focus on Business Impact
  2. Horizontal vs. Vertical
  3. Always on vs. Episodic
  4. People vs. Technology

When it comes to technology, the question is, what are the big problems we’re trying to solve for the people that matter to us? Then using technology and computing power to provide the best experience for users to solve these problems.

A Facebook Stories video was shown at the end – a pretty unique and powerful one. It was about an Indian man named Mayank Sharma, who, as Facebook describes, would “probably tell you that going through meningitis is hell — if he could remember any of it”. A great story:

It’s everyone’s responsibility to think about people, and how you provide them with what they’re looking for. Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. Steve is inspired by what Facebook and social media is able to do for people.