Facebook Marketing is about People & Relationships First, Not Apps

By Rob McNair

In a new video released by Facebook Marketing Solutions, Paul Adams talks us through how Facebook marketers need to fundamentally change the way they promote brands.

Adams begins by assuring us that Facebook is based on people, not technology. He explains how a lot of us get bogged down with new technology, without realising that humans evolve very slowly. No matter what technology is developed, we’ll be marketing to the same people, therefore our primary focus as marketers should be on people rather than technology.

Building on this, Adams then explains how, historically, people interact with new mediums like they do with existing media, “The first letters written using the alphabet were written like a spoken conversations – The first TV shows were plays”. Bearing this on mind, Adams says that most marketers are thinking of Facebook in these terms, treating it like TV. He goes on to say that this will not work, “Facebook is a social environment, interrupting people (with ads) will not work”.

After establishing this, Adams explains that relationships between people and brands on Facebook are built in the exact same way as relationships in the real world, “many lightweight interactions over time”. He then caveats this statement by explaining that there is still a place for apps, but not at the start of the relationship. Adams call these app interactions, “heavy interactions”. Below is the graph showing when these will be most effective.

Adams explains that starting with heavy, app interactions, “is like throwing a party and inviting strangers” it wouldn’t be very good. Brand’s need to first build relationships through lightweight interactions, such as status updates and photos before throwing a party.

Through these lightweight interactions with fans brands establish a relationship, and through this fans will bring their friends to the to the brand. Adams eloborates on this to say that it is not only Facebook that is going social, the web is also becoming social. More and more we see people taking their friends & interests with them as they browse the web, Etsy’s gift ideas being one if the best examples. By connecting with Facebook, Etsy personalises gift ideas based on the persons interests you are shopping for. Adams calls this the second iteration of the web, condemning the first (non-social) iteration of the web, the beta version.


Adams finishes his talk with a stark reminder that mobile is going to fundamentally change commerce and the way we share to the web, and that marketers should bear in mind this when thinking about the future.

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.