We are constantly fed a steady diet of stories of the success of businesses on Facebook. The talk is always of how interacting with customers has garnered benefits that range from the general “warm fuzzy” feeling about the brand to the ultimate goal for most which is revenue created by that interaction.
I often wonder just how representative of the total environment those kinds of stories are. I suspect that it is lower than we even know becasue, let’s face it, the same set of “success stories” in the space are paraded around all the time including Dell, Zappos etc etc. If it was more pervasive there would be more “poster children” for the movement wouldn’t there?
Now I can imagine that many readers are saying “Well, that’s not what I do!” which is fine. This is not accusatory but rather an observation (it seems that a few people who read this blog have trouble making that distinction but I digress).
The simple fact of the matter is that social media is supposedly about the interaction. If you put up a Facebook page that is a one way communication as defined by the Kearney study below it seems you would be missing the point completely.
A page that a consumer cannot initiate a conversation on e.g. an info tab, a custom-built company tab that only pushes content one-way and a closed and company-only Facebook wall
If this is what many are doing then it begs the question what are you actually doing on Facebook? You are just putting up a free display ad and hoping that someone will respond because you caught them at the right moment. It’s an old-school application of a new-world marketing tool and it is a complete swing-and-a-miss.
Now with Facebook introducing so many ad options, will brands simply turn to advertising on the site or will they truly develop their customer interaction skills and thus the community around their brand?
Data like this really points to the crossroads that social media and, in this case Facebook in particular, is at. Could it be, the hype is far outpacing the reality? Facebook is moving forward with becoming a public company thus turning its focus on advertising. Customer interaction by brands is not what makes Facebook money. In fact, unless that interaction leads to the purchase of an ad by an advertiser Facebook is likely to be disappointed in what it is delivering. As a result, we may see product “enhancements” in the future that are not designed to increase interaction for users but rather designed to create performance for advertisers. Often these two objectives are diametrically opposed thus the potential for trouble.
What is your thoughts on this apparent gap between what we say Facebook is and how we actually use it? Is it real?
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