Why the era of Collaborative Marketing is only just dawning

“We need to talk” – four marketing opportunities for the future in light of Facebook Zero.

Ever since Facebook changed the focus of its business model to paid advertising instead of fan pages’ organic reach, the marketing world has been up in arms. Businesses are faced with the shock realisation that their Facebook pages – previously used to establish communities and interact with fans – are not actually their own. Suddenly marketing strategies are being more closely scrutinised to counter the apparent end of dialogue-oriented marketing on Facebook.

However, rather than signalling an end, current developments could potentially lead to the exact opposite. Facebook Zero has prompted brands to reconsider the opportunities they have to enter into a real and intensive dialogue with consumers. And one thing is now crystal clear: Facebook was never a place where consumers and brands meet to converse. It was always a place for friends. Nothing more, nothing less.

The next logical step for the marketing world is for businesses to establish their own individual brand communities. Communities where consumers become brand messengers and partake in an authentic dialogue with companies as equals. Consumers who are genuinely interested in a product and its development. Consumers who brands regard as serious partners and advocates. These kinds of communities should not be confused with Facebook fans or groups. Businesses working with these members, advocates and consumers represent Collaborative Marketing in the true sense of the word. Consumers become valuable partners collaborating with companies as equals. So much more is possible in this scenario than with a fan who – maybe purely by coincidence – once clicked the “like” button.

Facebook Zero promises four key marketing opportunities for the future:

1. Facebook is the perfect place to recruit members for a brand community

Businesses can still post tailor-made content on Facebook geared at targeting suitable members for their own digital platforms. To work effectively, Collaborative Marketing needs people who are enthusiastic about a brand and/or a product. People who are happy to engage in an intensive dialogue, sometimes in greater depth. People who want to belong to a brand community – whether for the interim or for the long haul. Facebook can help identify these people.

2. Sincere collaborations replace superficial fan relations

Collaborative Marketing is more than simply leaving a comment or liking a photo. It goes beyond clicks and likes to engage with consumers in a way that reflects their opinion is valued and appreciated. Businesses become partners to discover what their consumers really want and what interests them most. This is the only way a brand can harness the energy of thousands of consumers for successful marketing.

3. An individual platform means individual data

When brands create their own data pools and platforms they establish a self-regulated site for consumer collaboration and dialogue. This also shields users from the latest trends and hype within the world of social media, allowing brands to remain autonomous within their own digital home. This is where they can establish and foster relationships based on trust.

4. Organic growth is the aim of the game

Anyone who has created a community or platform so appealing it attracts new members without extra help has sussed it. Good Collaborative Marketing amplifies itself. New members automatically attract more members. This organic growth leads to communities among which campaigns can reach response rates of 90%.

Rather than the end of an era, these four opportunities demonstrate that Facebook Zero signals the dawn of a new age. The age of real Collaborative Marketing. Only now can collaborations between the brand and (the passionate) consumer begin. The quest for likes is over. It’s a worthwhile investment for businesses. As well as profiting from the genuine enthusiasm and commitment within their own communities, they can also look forward to a growing pool of useful data and even more advocates for their brand and products.

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