Facebook update at Web 2.0

November 6, 2011
The recent Web 2.0 Expo in NY gave us the opportunity to take stock of the situation in terms of interactive media and listen to 2.0 practicioners explain what they expect from the future.

Among the many videos of the event available on the O’Reilly media Youtube channel,  I have chosen to discuss one here. It is the talk given by Michael Lazerow from Buddy Media, entitled “How are brands using Facebook right?” The reason for chosing this one may be that I have a tendency to downplay the importance of FB as a marketing communication took: in my lectures I maintain the position that if FB is the first social network that comes to mind, communicators should not forget there are other networks that may enable you to do even a better job. This is a stand taken by Coralie Vrancken elsewhere on this blog as well.
So, FB according to Michael Lazerow:
  • FB is huge: only Asia counts more people than the 850M FB users – today FB is bigger than the whole Internet when it started in 2004, in terms of usage
  • FB is engaging: 50% of those users log in every day in their lives – 4 times the Superbowl audience – and Likes/comments amount to 60 billion monthly – more than Google searches!
  • FB is mainstream: time on FB represents 50% of TV watching time, no less!

Now, what does that mean for publishers, retailers and brands? 94 % are focused on FB, as the table below from Booz & Company / Buddy Media shows, with Twitter, YouTube, blogs and corporate social platforms next down the list. This may downplay the correctness of my position above, or on the contrary confirm there is room for alternative social networks if you want to stand out.

social media priority 2011

social media priority 2011

But what justifies this social media infatuation for social media ? Michael Lazerow’s answer is straightforward: because the world is reorganizing around people and brands oblige. Empowering your connections will be the key success factor in the coming years: building around your connections’ connections.

Michael’s tips?

  • Simple is better
  • Offer something with tangible value: coupons, free stuff, discounts, content access, as Pretzel Crisps have been doing successfully
  • Offer people to share your brand experience… even if they cannot afford a purchase – Oscar La Renta offers its fans “Something new each month, designed with you in mind”, “Because we like you”. Apparently this makes more people want to share and comment this than those who can afford buying OLR, with over  5,000 comments on the FB page.
  • Show you care, like l’Oreal, which got 4,000 salons on board by offering them so many different pages

And so, what’s next?

  • Your car as an app, that automatically lets you share info: where are you heading, where are you, I’ll be late for that meeting, I need help – this is a very likely use of FB because the information shared in this way is relevant for you and/or for your network
  • Dressing room reimagined: let your friends help you decide when trying on a dress in shops, with the help of a small camera – and then let everyone among your network know about your purchases – that is: reimagining the commerce experience around friends
  • Ticketmaster: this platform enables you to dynamise and socialise your concert experience from A to Z – social concert going, in other words: sharing your whole concert experience from seeing who among your friends are attending, deciding to buy a ticket, choosing your seat near them, letting them know, commenting the concert, finding other suggestions, … The information you share in this way also enables a company to customize your experience, for example by delivering personalized merchandise to your seat.

Schmidt customisation

In a word, these three perspectives point in the same direction: building a renewed customer experience where all stages of the product’s or service’s consumption are socialised and shared among the people of your network – i.e. Facebook.

In terms of Eli NN, this is a way to consolidate your filter bubble – making sure that the information that get to you is progressively fine-tuned to suit your tastes and habits. That there is a heavy price to pay for this seemingly ideal evolution is the core message in NN’s book. Now, this is stuff for a new post coming soon.

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