As Facebook prepares for its first quarterly earnings (2Q) report (Yahoo News), Zuckerberg and Co. are going to be confronted with managing the third audience — shareholders — to whom all public companies need to communicate in a quarterly ritual. Aside from dealing with people irate at the mishandling of the IPO, the challenge is going to be about knowing how to please that audience all the while not distancing itself from its loyal user base. Many companies struggle to provide a coherent communication strategy between the commercial message (toward clients), the employer branding message (to new recruits) and corporate communications (to shareholders). I have written previously about the challenge of getting all three communication editorial lines aligned. Nowhere is this going to be more tantalizing to observe than with Facebook with this quarterly earnings report, whose two external audiences (customer and shareholder) have somewhat conflicting interests.
Digital marketing earning the right
A TNS Digital Life study (2010) shows how 29% of Facebook users are actively looking for brands with which to interact, but that almost as many (22%) find brands intrusive. Facebook’s ability to pilot the brand-user relationship is going to be at the heart of the earnings report. In a world of earned media, can Facebook earn AND earn our respect? Digital marketing teams, with their own earnings pressure, are too often too pushy. The harder mistake is that their interaction is too impersonal, too rigid or just completely uninteresting. Either way, it is about adjusting the myndset to be more empathetic, more creative and more conversational in their social media tone. Digital marketers and Facebook must both balance their search for a tangible return and the users’ appetite for branded and compelling content.
A premium Facebook account?
For the 450 million or so Facebook active users who log in every day, I wonder how many would be willing to pay for a premium Facebook account? One that offered a bouquet of services, including — but not limited to — an advertising-free page? Let’s say they offered opt-in opportunities for special promotions as well as invitations to VIP events? How much would you be willing to pay? Of course, will that value be enough for Facebook and its shareholders? Anyway, here’s a quick survey. Please give us your answer by clicking through to the survey here! It’s just one quick question!
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.