At Graphing Social Patterns Charline Li of Forrester Research gave a talk on Big Brands & Facebook that had useful information for brands of all sizes. One of the more startling data points she presented was that according to Facebook's data, only 6% of it's US users are 35+ years old, but Nielsen's stats say the number is 45%. WHen asked later, Charlene said one plausible explanation for the discrepancy was the sampling method used. In any case, her advice was that things were changing rapidly and that whatever works this year would almost certainly require adjustment to work in the future.
In addition to presenting a load of interesting statistics, she offered some examples of brands that we successfully leveraging Facebook as a platform to communicate with customers and not merely advertise to them. One of the best was Ernst & Young, who in order to further their program of hiring 5,000 college graduates every year has one of their recruiting executives answer questions from students. In contrast Wal-Mart keeps trying but may just not be the type of business that college students want to brag about being associated with.
Some other advice:
- Create useful apps than model what friends do naturally
- Plan out how to make the app viral (a recurring theme at the conference)
- Get feedback once you launch