Howard is Marketing Director for Piehead

Facebook’s Sponsored Stories is big news– for Facebook! The question undoubtedly on your mind is, “How does this help me?” Simply, this is a ground floor opportunity to get your brand name in front of potential customers using the best delivery device of all: the tacit endorsement of those potential customers’ friends and relatives.

Perhaps more important, Facebook is a site where people are in good spirits. They are receptive and ready to make decisions. If Mary-Louise likes XYZ, then I should like it, too. The more time you spend on Facebook, the more you realize that peer pressure, be it direct or indirect, accounts for a lot of the decision making among users. The cute face of your friend’s kid, a fun pic, and the logo of a favorite product combine to form a powerful marketing device.

When your brand is attached to postings and “likes” by the people they know and trust, it strips away resistance and makes you the go-to source. Frankly, by not being part of it, you are handing over valuable business to competitors who will be part of it. Those customers are going to spend their money somewhere so why not with you?

While there may be resistance to this tool from some Facebook users, it will be more than made up for by the scores of users who already proudly tout their favorite foods, products, hangouts, and services Facebook and Peer Pressure. This is not creating a road but rather using one that has already been created.

Scale That Puts Your Weight on Facebook illustrates a missed opportunity. It was an idea for a scale that would transmit your weight directly to your Facebook profile. It was designed to help people lose weight. Ooo, so close, right? Humiliating people may be fun, but it doesn’t make for effective marketing. Imagine, instead, the potential opportunities to market gym memberships, weight loss organizations, or diet foods: all things that people are happy to chat about on Facebook.

In all likelihood, Facebook’s Sponsored Stories will continue to grow and become a vital cog in the ongoing dovetailing of social media and commerce. It is just the kind of positive brand recognition that you look for every day. It is essentially a steady stream of referrals.