My affair with social media started in 2007 when one of my good friends went on a mission to Singapore. Within a few weeks I started receiving e-mails from her raving about “facebook” with which she could receive updates and communicate with friends all over the world.
Although I was convinced that it was just a passing trend, more and more people started talking about “facebook” and sending me invitations to join in. When one evening I opened my own “facebook” account, I did not get any sleep later at night. I was fascinated by the most intelligently designed digital platform that I’d ever seen. It was a remarkable combination of fun, games and information, shared fully with friends. I uploaded pictures, updated which places in the world I’ve been to, checked my IQ in relation to that of my friends, sent out virtual gifts, and, most importantly, located all the friends I’ve ever made from kindergarten until today.
Today, when evidently most of our friends are on facebook, most brands have some sort of presence there as well- on the most significant digital arena on the Internet. We as consumers have come to realize that we also have a lot to gain from a relationship with our favorite brands – exclusive promotions, sales, prizes, games and applications, but most importantly, direct contact with the brands that interest us, and the knowledge that someone is listening on the other side of the “wall”.
I would like to share with you the rationale for brands establishing a significant presence on facebook:
Everyone is already there (and if you’re not, what are you waiting for?) More than 3 million Israelis and 850 million people around the world have friends on facebook, with half of them logging on every day! Time spent on facebook has been rising from survey to survey, and by the end of 2010 facebook even exceeded giant Google and took over the top place in terms of the time spent by surfers at a specific website. If our consumers are there – we should be there as well.
This is an excellent platform for brands to conduct an interactive, direct and open dialogue, to hear what people have to say and convey messages. This interactive platform allows one to listen and engage in real conversation with stakeholders, and, when used correctly, can greatly improve customer relations. The consumers can assist in promoting the brand, while, for its part, the brand can reward them with special contents, offer exclusive offers, and, of course, provide services and meet special requirements. The beauty of it all is that everything occurs fast, almost in real time, and many users even develop independent relationships amongst themselves.
Time plays a critical role.
The more time passes, the harder it will be to attract fans to your brand page. If a year and a half ago it was relatively easy to get a “like” from someone for a brand, it was due to the fact that it the whole concept was new and intriguing. Today, however, facebook is flooded with brands, and you have to work much harder to get people to vote for your page and give you access to their “feed”. In addition, on facebook there is an immense advantage to being the first to do something new – it greatly increases how fast your message is spread virally (by word of mouth) and increases your overall exposure. Brands that are not wise enough to get on facebook now could potentially lose the business advantage that other brands have created for themselves by using this digital arena.
The brand as an independent content producer.
Facebook is an excellent medium for brands to spread their own messages. If we were once dependent on external resources such as journalists or even bloggers to transfer messages, today we have the ability to communicate directly with consumers, and there is nothing that supports this new type of communications with one’s followers better than facebook. Whether it is a video interview with the CEO, a direct broadcast of a launch, a press conference, a post on the behalf of a company’s employees etc. Everything is directed straight at the community we’ve created on facebook, without any external factors that may distort the message (journalists, etc.)
Quantify, quantify, quantify.
Facebook is one of the most measurable channels available today. It is possible to see what the exact return on investment is for any and all activities carried out, whether that return is the commitment to the community (the level of engagement), the number of new friends, new discussions started or the number of times something is forwarded. And once a store is established on facebook, the site enables us to instantly determine the exact economic value created by using this tool.
A term coined within the last year, which refers to purchases made on facebook. If we once spoke about making purchases online (e-commerce), the next big thing will be shopping on facebook, which combines the inherent social networking capabilities of facebook with the element of shopping online. In other words, taking the social impact to the place most relevant to the brand – the purchase itself. Quite a few companies are already beginning to see the inherent advantage in F-commerce, and are starting to adopt such stores. I believe that we’re at the very beginning of a new shopping revolution.
Leverage in the international arena.
Facebook provides a great opportunity to make your business international, which is certainly a huge challenge for local brands in their respective countries. Facebook is a tool that can be used to create a direct channel of communication with millions of potential consumers around the world whom you can introduce to your brand and have them consume it simply by reaching out to them.
In conclusion, the beauty of a platform such as facebook is its constant evolution, just like the boundaries of the communities formed within it. Facebook is limited only by your creativity. I believe it’s fun to work in a place where you must invent new things every day, walk a new path, and initiate projects that can bring significant advantages to your brand.
Did you already join our facebook page?