Sheryl Sandberg's strategies for Facebook
If the subtle changes to the Facebook interface have served to make your social networking experience quicker, more efficient, and have even encouraged you to bring out your credit card and do business with one of the many companies who advertise on it, you have one person to hold responsible for this. Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg is taking her vision for the multi-billion dollar social networking site forward by re-designing the interface, adding more features to it’s mobile edition, and is slowly but surely taking the company in an upward, profit-making direction, amid the usual controversy and voices of dissent. The incorporation of Facebook Graph Search has been one of the more popular additions to regular Facebook search, the difference being that users can now search for more detailed information from within their friend’s circles. This makes it easier to learn about online “friends”, connect on many common levels, and for those who are gaming enthusiasts, offers the opportunity to gain fellow players. Sandberg has successfully identified the core strengths of Facebook, and has displayed her understanding of popular social networking trends by facilitating more symbiotic networking. To reiterate her point about making Facebook “the most engaging platform this world has ever seen”, Sandberg has implemented and approved of strategies, which epitomize “real, authentic interactions”. This not only includes the aforementioned Graph Search, but also extends towards the site’s advertising strategies, which are now targeted towards attracting niche audiences rather than a general audience. The new strategy for advertisers involves seeking out users who are searching for specific services, and then directly offering them various deals and packages. Sandberg cites an example of this strategy in the form of Best Western, a holiday package service, which allowed customers to customize packages of their preference, and let them share the information with their circle of friends, thereby providing free exposure for the company. The company’s profits rose by 20% as the result of this strategy. The revamped advertising strategy ensures that Facebook will meet its long term goal of becoming the go-to platform for all things e-commerce and business related; this includes small businesses who have been making profits and receiving exposure through page “likes”. The advertisement strategy was taken forward further via mobile ads which were sent to the phones of Facebook users, thus cementing the relationship between customer and company. Facebook is aware of the growing preference for mobile and smart phones, and is therefore expanding its services accordingly. Sandberg has stated in recent interviews that focusing on improving its mobile interface and ease of use is top priority, and has also hinted at the possibility of merging with a mapping startup, which will further propel Facebook’s services to the top of every smartphone’s list. What is most interesting about Sheryl Sandberg’s strategies is the method of using sophisticated technology in order to facilitate a classic style of marketing; word-of-mouth testimonials. What is different about the outcome of this strategy is that it will be presented on the internet within a social networking structure which hosts more than 1.11 billion users from around the globe.