Facebook Studio Live
is billed as 'a hands-on educational experience designed to explore creativity and innovation in marketing with Facebook.' Part-hackathon and part-conference, Facebook has already taken the event to eager audiences of agency folk in New York, Chicago and Toronto. This week, it was London's turn, and Contagious were happy to join in on the action.
The speakers - a mix of partner businesses and Facebook's own marketeers, salespeople, engineers and agency-facing team - provided some big take-outs for brands exploring the fast changing world of the social network.
First up, Facebook said that to be successful, campaigns on the network should be 'social by design' - that is, they should prioritise people and social interaction rather than content. There's a parallel there with Facebook itself, which makes for a pretty boring website until you start adding friends - the network is built on user-generated content.
But it's worth remembering that behind the user is a real person - as director of customer marketing Alex Schlaubitz
pointed out, campaigns became truly compelling when they relate to real-life, offline experiences. Sarah Personette
, director of global agency relations, pointed to Amex Small Business Saturday as a great example - a six-week campaign which connected small business, networks of customers, and a major brand, and resulted in a 27% increase in sales of Amex cards (Facebook Studio
collates the brands own favourite campaigns). Of course, social doesn't have to be Facebook, despite the speakers pushing the strengths of their own platform - as one audience member quipped: 'when you say "social by design", what you really mean is "Facebook by design".'
Returning to the eternal question of how to value a Like, the speakers were keen to push the value of 'friends of fans' - a group on average 34x larger than a page's first-hand fan base amongst the top 100 brand pages. These people will see wall posts, Likes and sponsored stories when the core audience interact with a brand - incredibly, this method means that Starbucks can reach almost 700m people out of a 750m-strong network.
Finally, the idea that 'Done is better than perfect' - for brands, that means pursuing a constantly shifting, iterative approach to campaigns. Which makes sense, given the speed at which the social landscape is shifting. This idea is mirrored in Facebook's internal ethos that everything, including the network itself, is '1% done'. One audience member drew attention to Facebook's well-documented tendency to update its API in ways that break applications. A snappy response came from Andrew Bosworth
, director of product engineering, who argued that Facebook had no choice but to 'move fast and break things': 'if we didn't constantly improve on how things work, someone else would improve on them instead.'
Which all led quite nicely into the 70-minute hackathon at the heart of the day. The audience of 400 split off into about 30 different teams, all charged with providing a response to a brief for reducing commuter numbers during the London 2012 Olympics. Each group had to come up with a way to use Facebook to get Londoners to: (1) be aware of the impending travel congestion; (2) know and be prepared with a plan for alternate transport during the games; (3) actually choose alternate transport during the games; and (4) share plans and options with friends and colleagues in a positive way. Contagious joined team 19, and we frantically put together a plan for a Nike Plus-inspired social application dubbed 'The Commuter Olympics'.
The winning idea, as selected by a team of judges, will actually go live. And as Giselle Schmitz commented in the debrief, perhaps there's something about hackathons and '1% done' culture that brands and agencies could do well to try out for themselves. So, as Facebook likes to say, 'Happy hacking'.The Power of Like (Facebook white paper)