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Why is Facebook so Important?


It's a Facebook World.

Because it’s where masses of people are congregating online.  It has become the online clubhouse of choice for more than 500 million people.

The statistics for Facebook simply can’t be ignored:

  • 50 percent of users log in every day
  • Users spend 700 billion minutes a month there
  • The average user creates 90 pieces of content per month
  • 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month

After Google, Facebook is the most visited site on the Web (and sometimes surpasses Google).  If you are a communicator or a marketer and you’re not on Facebook then you’re remiss.  You are ignoring huge opportunities to connect with millions of engaged and active people that have shown an appetite for following brands to connect, discover new information and get deals and coupons.

Yet lately there seems to be a growing backlash against using Facebook as a marketing/communications platform.  The arguments seem to come in two flavors:

1. Facebook is a temporary platform and like other failed social networks may be gone in a few years

or

2. Facebook is too big to really have one-on-one engagement so you really don’t need a strategy

Let’s tackle the temporary platform argument first.  My colleague Alan Belniak summed up this argument succinctly in a recent post on his blog Subjectively Speaking arguing that, like Yahoo and MySpace, Facebook could be swimming with the fishes in six years.  It’s a valid argument because technology does come and go (don’t we all miss DOS?).

While I personally doubt a platform the size of Facebook could vaporize in six years (or that MySpace or Yahoo are even close to dead), let’s go with it.  So what?  The argument is a red herring.  All platforms are temporary.  Even ones that seemed permanent like newspapers and TV are in the process of de-evolving.  Marketers should be on the cutting edge and go where people congregate.  Right now Facebook is teeming with activity, people and engagement.  So go for it.

If that changes in six years – move your marketing to the next thing.  But you can do a lot of successful and powerful communicating, marketing and advertising in six years.

Let’s move on to item #2 – the idea that Facebook is too big for one-on-one communications.  Pace Lattin of Perform Insider has a good post on this concept.  He notes:

“The pundits are constantly talking about how they engage users on Facebook, how to use it to engage clients and make new clients, how to get people to click on “like,” and so on.  I honestly believe that most of this talk is not only self-serving nonsense that is created to fill the plethora of junk journals out there, but more importantly has no basis in reality.  Most Facebook “social” marketing has little or no return on investment.”

Lattin argues that people use Facebook for connecting with friends and family – not with brands.  There’s lots of evidence against this, especially with so many brands having millions of followers.  But he also contends that once a brand hits scale – say more than a few thousand fans – they no longer have the ability to engage in one-on-one conversations.

He uses Starbucks with more than 20 million fans on Facebook as an example and writes that responses from fans are minimal: “The people who respond to these posts with “likes” and other actions are usually close to few or none.”  First, it’s not true.  The most current post on the Starbucks page has more than 4,000 likes and 174 comments.

Second, the idea of one-to-one conversation isn’t really the primary goal of Facebook for brands.  Because when Starbucks posts content it automatically appears on the news feeds of every one of their more than 20 million fans – which can then also be read by those fans’ friends and family.  The potential audience is ENORMOUS – way more than the circulation of the largest newspapers and magazines.

Just because everyone – or even a small percentage – doesn’t comment or like it doesn’t mean those people they haven’t read it.

Facebook is a captured audience – an audience that has told a brand to provide them with information, news, offers and deals.  They have opted in.

How is Facebook not a HUGE win?  Or not important or powerful?

You tell me.  What do you think?

Links:

Facebook Statistics

Subjectively Speaking’s “Why Marketing on Facebook Can be a Terrible Idea”

Inside Offer Vault’s “Is Facebook Social Marketing Really That Important?”

6 Responses to “Why is Facebook so Important?”

  1. Nice post, George. I think you summed it up very well here: “If that changes in six years – move your marketing to the next thing. But you can do a lot of successful and powerful communicating, marketing and advertising in six years.” Savvy marketers are nimble marketers, and know that there is a transient quality to wherever they are doing their business.

  2. Hi Alan:
    I think we can definitely agree on that. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Its good for connecting, advertising, and making money. Thats the bottom line.

  4. really i have agreed that face book is very good

  5. how are you

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