As Facebook evolves it continues to ride the fine line of telling users that what is being developed (Timeline, Ticker etc) is for their benefit while creating a more effective advertising vehicle to get to Facebook’s real end game: cash. I appreciate all the “world changing” rhetoric that comes from Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, but whenever I hear that I go back to his true feelings about people who hand over information to him.
The trick is for brands to take this sharing mentality and do much the same as Facebook. Get people to “like” them on Facebook so they can get to their end game: cash. Apparently though there is a significant number of people who are staying on the sidelines when it comes to brands and Facebook. eMarketer shared some data from ExactTarget showing these hurdles.
Of note, this sample set is of people who actually HAVE liked at least one brand on Facebook so these are not just a bunch of Facebook like naysayers. They are discerning likers which is a very scary prospect to marketers. people who think about hat tey do online get in the way of larger numbers and they seem to perplex many marketers.
The chief motivation for this unwillingness to “like” a brand on Facebook is, as always, privacy. Whether it’s the desire to not be hit with constant messages from the brand or not feeling comfortable with giving a brand access to profile information the message is clear: some folks really don’t want to let everyone know everything and have access to everything like Zuckerberg professes.
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The impact this mindset has on marketers’ efforts will be interesting to watch. Smart marketers will simply set expectations for Facebook performance based on the reality that not everyone will play along. Others will be driven to get every last ounce from everyone regardless of whether the end result of trying to court all people could end up being alienating some.
Until the marketing profession buys into the reality of what people REALLY want rather than drinking the Zuck-Aid about everyone desiring to share everything all the time, there will be this conflict. CMO’s will look at total audience potential and wonder why they don’t have everyone on board. As a result there will be pressure to sell people on the idea of following or liking a brand to goose quantity over the still much more important element of quality.
It’s a dance not worth getting into but that doesn’t mean that marketers won’t push the limits of business intelligence.
What’s your take? Should you be out to convince someone that they should follow your brand or are you making yourself so attractive through solid practices that only the right people will be on your bandwagon?