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Facebook: The Social Web Powered By You and Your Friends' Content

October 22, 2011

By Martha Young, FM Global

Facebook -- perhaps you've heard of it. It's all about people.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, presented at the Masters of Marketing Annual Conference Saturday morning to a roomful of Facebook fans.  Because, after all, who isn't on Facebook?

But, before getting too deep into the topic of our love of talking about ourselves, Sandberg humorously reminded us of the frightening days "before the web" and the days of the web's infancy when online activity was anonymous. Today, the social web is about identity, allowing ordinary people to become broadcasters as well as receivers.

Sandberg posited that "social by design" is a key foundation to successfully connecting with customers. She offered three ways marketers can build their brands on Facebook, by:
1.  Connecting
2.  Engaging
3.  Inspiring

Amid the showcasing of familiar Facebook campaigns, including Diageo, Subway and Walmart, perhaps the biggest news bite was the unveiling of Facebook's new "timeline," a media rich view of Facebook users' lives. Yes, fasten your seat belts for yet another site design enhancement! As with other design changes, it may take some getting used to, but I think we'll like it.

Most notably, "timeline" appears to better promote Facebook's capabilities with photography. Did you know that Facebook is the largest photo sharing site on the Web? Sandberg reports that 250 million photos are uploaded daily on Facebook.  She encouraged us to develop our brand campaigns with engagement activities, including tagging friends and commenting on photos. "Give people a reason to share, a reason to care," Sandberg implored. "Encourage your customers to be part of your brand, not just recipients of your brand." And, of course, we can do this on Facebook. Because why build microsites when you can market to people where they live--on Facebook.

Got an exciting Facebook engagement success story? In the spirit of having a reason to share, tell us about it in the comments section below.

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