It was only 2 years ago when I first registered with Facebook and found friends from college and colleagues that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I think this feature of Facebook to almost magically reconnect you with old classmates after so long is what amazes and surprises people about this social media network.
Connection with the past and Facebook’s other features have continued to provide many other motivations for people to stay signed on and and join up with its numbers growing from 132 million in June 2008 to an estimated 550 million today.
So what are the 5 key factors that have driven this growth and marketers are tapping into that makes Facebook the social media marketing channel of choice for companies that has the potential to ignite viral marketing and spread a brands message across the entire global web.
Facebook’s ability to connect was what initially drove me to go online and register. It is now so popular in 2010 that it is the default place to connect online and consequently brands are testing how they can connect with consumers in ways that are trustworthy and respectful of them as individuals. It is primarily a personal place with 59% of consumers saying they use Facebook for personal relationships as compared to only 15% who use it for professional contacts. Consumers on Facebook are wary of marketers and start spamming them with irrelevant messages in order to drive sales. In order to combat these consumers fears you should look at at every Facebook engagement as an opportunity to build trust , demonstrating that you understand your consumers priorities and that you respect them as individuals. Facebook gives marketers 550 million plus reasons to connect online.
2. Self Expression
You can learn a lot about someone just by visiting their Facebook page. Information like their full name, where they are from , where they work or attend school, who they are friends with and even whether or not they are in a committed relationship or not. This combination of personal information , pictures, videos and wall posts gives consumers the opportunity to represent themselves to the online world. And the causes, associations and brands they”LIKE” also contribute to their self expression of who they are and what they stand for. This self expression provides marketers withe information they need to provide messages, information and interaction that synergizes and connects with the consumers in the ways that meets their needs and matches their self expression.
Another reason consumers are drawn to Facebook is that it is entertaining. It’s fun to see pictures of friends, fun to reconnect with old acquaintances and fun to see what’s happening in your best friends life even if they are thousands of miles away. No other channel provides the opportunity for fun and entertaining marketing messages like Facebook. This entertainment factor has made it critical for marketers to keep Facebook’s entertainment and fun factor in mind when developing a marketing strategy. Why? Because consumers are more likely to to participate and engage with you if your marketing approach aligns with the entertainment paradigm. So is this why Facebook is so addictive? ..because it is so much fun!!
Consumers log onto Facebook to discover what is happening in their friends lives. Even though a lot of this discovery is intentional they are also wanting to be surprised by new discoveries. Will they encounter a new friend request from someone they haven’t heard from in decades? Will they they stumble upon their new favorite clothing line after a friend FANS the brand. The Brand’s marketing challenge is to constantly provide consumers on Facebook new discoveries that “Beg” to be shared whether that is a special discount on their favorite clothing brand or a new video that is worth sharing because it surprises or entertains.
Facebook provides the platform for consumers and brands to share on personal pages and brands fan pages and this interactivity provides marketers with a low cost platform that spreads messages including online offers, vouchers and discounts in real time. Oreo provides special deals to “Deal seekers” that its 13 million plus fans receive as soon as it is posted. Victoria’s Secret (the most FANNED fashion page on Facebook) can offer a new fashion item that its fans can view anytime they are online.
Facebook’s viral potential is changing the face of marketing. How do you interact with “Brands” and companies on Facebook?
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