Is Facebook guilty of 'trivialising' social engagement? The Marketing Society Forum

NO - GILLIAN HARRIS, BRAND MARKETING DIRECTOR, GUOMAN AND THISTLE HOTELS

Brands must be careful not to just 'shout into the void' but share relevant content and respond to - and engage with - users, to make activity on the social network worthwhile for the brand and useful and entertaining for the consumer.

Facebook is one of many social-media channels we use to engage existing and potential guests. It's invaluable to have a direct platform where we can share our message and answer any questions.

We've invested a lot of time listening to our customers and figuring out what they like to engage with. We also know that in our industry, the ability for users to share where they are and upload photos immediately is key - we all do it ourselves.

NO - JON DAVIE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ZONE

Facebook is a platform that facilitates social engagement, and lots of my social engagement is already pretty trivial, especially when it comes to updates from old school-mates. One of Facebook's benefits is breadth - it allows me to maintain a relatively shallow relationship with hundreds of people, many of whom I hardly ever see.

The same is true of Facebook as a platform for brands. As marketers, we love to talk about engagement, advocacy and brand love. In reality, however, the relationship between most customers and most brands is quite a shallow one. Just like Facebook makes it easier for me to stay in touch with old friends, the platform makes it easier for customers to stay in touch with their favoured brands.

MAYBE - ANDREW MCGUINNESS, FOUNDING PARTNER, BEATTIE MCGUINNESS BUNGAY

Before university I worked for a direct marketing business; a great introduction to the world of 'junk' communication. Now, everything has changed. Or has it?

All engagement is not created equal. Look at our lax use of language - 'friends', 'followers', 'fans' - that assumes someone bribed via a promotion is as valuable as a long-term brand advocate.

To get closer to understanding the likely commercial impact of social media, we need to calibrate different levels of 'engagement' - from 'junk' at one end to true brand fans at the other.

Right now, Facebook's simple but crude engagement mechanics don't allow you to do that. Getting this right is far from a trivial task.

NO - DANIELE FIANDACA, HEAD OF INNOVATION, CHEIL UK

Engagement is earned, and the recent Facebook changes allow brands to create more engaging content. Its design changes are simply in line with a trend toward more visual design, which should make it more compelling.

Brands savvy enough to decide what social-media success looks like for them, and crucially, invest in building on that with rich content and unavoidably integrated engagement strategies, will find Facebook pays off. Those that don't won't. It's that simple.

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