Jeremiah Owyang on Facebook Strategies and Beyond

A number of people have been linking to Jeremiah Owyang’s presentation at the Web Community Forum (I think I found it via Beth Kanter). It’s a good overview of the pros, cons and options for using facebook to promote a cause, campaign or brand, and well worth some time if that’s your focus.

There are two pieces from his presentation that I wanted to pull out. The first appears to be a recurring theme in his work on web strategy, centered on the acronym POST. That breaks down into:

People
assess you customers’ Social Technographics profile
Objectives
Decide what you want to accomplish
Strategy
Plan for how relationships with customers will change
Technology
Decide which social technologies to use

The third and fourth of those are particularly good to see. Not only do you need a strategy, but you need to recognise that your relationship with your customers will change when you engage them in a new medium. Too much of the focus on using Web 2.0 to promote a cause has focussed on other ways of putting across a message. It’s simply a translation of “if you’re not everywhere, you’re nowhere” from offline to online media. But part of the promise of the web lies in the fact that it’s no longer your job to get yourself everywhere. Instead you need to build stronger relationships with key stakeholders and they’ll then spread the word if they want to. You just need to look at facebook for evidence — you can put all the time in the world into building a profile, group, application or Page, but unless people want to friend you, use your app or call themselves a fan, your message won’t be seen.

Looking to the future it was also good to see the reminder “Don’t limit to Facebook,” summarised with the bullets:

  • Brands should not limit strategy to Facebook Alone
  • Prepare for The Distributed Web
  • Understand OpenSocial
  • Understand the Aggregation of Social Graph
  • Tools come and go, what sustains is a strategy

Beth has some good points about building on that last one, but I was just glad to see a perspective looking beyond the current dominance of facebook. If the announcements in the web world over the past couple of months about technologies like OpenID, OAuth and OpenSocial are anything to go by, 2008 is going to bring some significant changes in the world of ‘social networking sites.’ (I’ve had a draft on that topic sitting around for far too long, hopefully I’ll get it finished and posted this week!)

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3 comments

  1. I think the point is that the tools come and go, but strategies, metrics, and outcomes sustain.

  2. Absolutely, though those strategies need to be sufficiently adaptable to respond to a changing tech landscape.

    I’m expecting the social networking world to look significantly different a year from now to the point where it won’t be equivalent to a shift from facebook to another site with a similar paradigm. Instead I hope and expect to see a more distributed (more ‘webby’) world. I was really glad to see the presentation nodding to that.

    Similarly, any strategy has to acknowledge the true nature of that technology landscape, and that’s why I was glad to see the note on changing relationships and what I wanted to draw out.

  3. Partly due to your encouragement, we just posted about POST on the Groundswell blog.