As social networks have evolved, so have the ways in which people share, consume, and discover information. The consumer has now become a brand's most influential stakeholder, wielding the ability to influence friends and peers significantly more than advertisers. This shift in power has caused a corresponding transformation in social networks and how brands use them to engage with and market to consumers. Facebook's Open Graph, for example, is a formidable force that is changing the way brands and consumers interact.
First, a little bit about Facebook's Open Graph: It is an extension of Facebook's platform that maps people's online connections and relationships. It began with the "like" as a way for users to express an action tied to a Facebook object. Users could "like" photos, posts, and brand pages. In 2010, an early version of Open Graph supported the inclusion of third-party websites and pages that people "liked" throughout the web. Today, Open Graph has extended beyond the one-dimensional "like" to include actions and objects created by third-party applications.
Brands can now create Open Graph applications to interact with consumers both on and off of Facebook to create stories, which are then broadcast across Facebook, thus driving awareness and word of mouth. These earned media messages spread not from business to consumer, but from consumer to consumer or friend to friend.
This article presents five ways that Facebook's Open Graph will affect your marketing this year.