Some days ago I was flattered to be asked to contribute to a book about Social Media with my humble opinion on the bright future of brand communication through social media.
Since the book will be in Bulgarian but the matter is discussion friendly I thought to re-assume in my blog and to see after some months what really happened. I think the Internet is flouted now with experts analysis on Facebook vs. G+, so if you’re searching for another one, I am sorry, but this is not.
Everything began when some data in articles suggested that Facebook is loosing ground and repeating the faith of My Space since it lost millions of users in US just in some months. Is there ground for worries? No, but brands always want to know what’s next and if possible discover the next Facebook and forever be known as innovators.
It’s part of the life cycle of every product that after a certain amount of time in saturated markets the growth slows down and some of the early adopters give up since this is nothing special anymore (Everett Rogers: Diffusion of Innovations). On the other side Facebook is growing vigorously in some emerging markets as South America and Mexico. Which in fact are emerging markets for brands as well.
So the right question wouldn’t be what is the next Facebook. Instead of that why don’t you concentrate you efforts on how to adopt your current use of social networks to the changed rules of the game. There are still many unexplored opportunities Facebook is going to offer to the business and stopping now because you already have that number of fan you promised to your boss, it’s the biggest mistake you can do.
I know it’s trivial but more important than numbers is engagement. Doesn’t matter how many deactivated their profiles but how many actually use them to communicate with friends and brands and I bet that many Americans find a reason to log in at least once a day.
So instead of fishing for new fans, try to connect with the ones you already have. Some are really valuable and in difficult moments can act as brand advocates, in good times they would spread your name among friends. Facebook is not a separated part of the business, it’s a valuable client data base with rich information and maybe some day soon it will be incorporated in customer relationship management systems.
One thing brands can do is figure out a way to sell their products directly to their fans in Facebook, since this is the logical next big thing. Many are already doing it and if they offer some added value that can’t be find elsewhere, the results are impressive in terms of engagement and sales. One example is the Ferrero Shop in facebook where you can arrange the chocolate box to your taste ( delivery only in France, soon in other countries).
Will Google+ pass away Facebook? It doesn’t matter. Important is that we have new tools to communicate and engage so I am looking forward to their business pages. Meanwhile we can prepare to be in shape when this happens. John Bell (Global Director Ogilvy) made a great presentation on what can we expect from G+ for brands so I stop here and let you see it: