As a tech company, we spend a lot of time reading the blogs, digital newspapers and sentiments of other Cloud companies. However, like anyone, we have more on our mind than just Cloud technologies and virtualization solutions. I am a keen follower and advocate for everything social/blogging. With this in mind, I want to present a counterpoint to a blog our content friends over at Brafton published yesterday titled, “4 Reasons Why Facebook Isn’t Dead“. It was a well written article yet there are some holes.
1. Does It Really Boast the Most Members?
Ghost accounts. Liking parties. Spammers. As noted in the Brafton piece, Facebook has over 1 billion active users worldwide. 1 billion? Let’s look at that figure a bit deeper and go beyond scratching the surface. According to Facebook, the social media giant has 1 billion strong however according to multiple sources – The Huffington Post, Mashable, The Globe Press, Business Insider, CNN etc. – Facebook is constantly skewing their user base by a range of 10 – 20%. Quick math, that means the social media giant has between 100 million and 200 million fake accounts floating around, posting and spamming. Brafton is correct in the sense that the Facebook user base of 800 million active accounts is a “huge pool of potential customers your brand can engage with and turn into loyal customers” however while other social media networks are gaining a larger following within the teenage community, Facebook is holding steady/shedding them.
“You might argue that your page doesn’t have a lot of fans and is low on interaction.” Another good consideration by the folks at Brafton however let’s look at this a bit deeper also. When it comes to getting likes and amassing a following, there is overwhelming evidence that A) 65 – 80% of brand likers never again view or interact with a company Facebook page and B) a good amount of those likes, cited from fake accounts, are fraudulent. The truth is getting like’s on a Facebook company page looks nice yet it means nothing. The more important aspect of social media is continued brand engagement both within social and outside of it.
2. Do Apps Add Value?
Connected devices. In the age of the smart phone, tablets and large scale connected networks, more and more companies have internally developed custom apps to reach consumers via a direct one-to-one communication stream. While Facebook does maintain excellent app “integration capabilities” consisting of, “enterprise-friendly applications that you can sync up to your page”, the majority of these apps are meant for sharing data across connected networks/providing promotional opportunities. They aren’t meant for direct sales. This is the issue with Facebook and truth be told, the majority of social media. Quantifying the sales benefit of social media, to this day – even with integrated promo apps – is a hard task.
The question shouldn’t be “Do Apps add value to Facebook?” The question should be, “Do Integrated Mobile Apps add more Brand/Sales value than integrated Social Media apps?”
3. Should You Run Facebook Contests?
Brafton makes a solid case for utilizing Facebook contests. “Holding a contest or promotion can quickly increase engagement on the network and lead to a greater reach for your digital content. It is important to note that you want to focus on quality over quantity with these new found Likes. You may see your fans increase, but be wary of people who are just Liking your page for prizes and not because they could be potential consumers.” Noted. The main issue with Facebook contests is most companies run contests in an effort to get likes, gain some visibility and attract some social media love as opposed to appealing to long term customer loyalty with brand incentives/sales. As noted by Brafton, “Running a one-off promotion can lead to a quick spike in Likes and then a quick drop!” Well stated. Most companies hold one-off Facebook contests which only lead to a surge in Likes and a quick drop in social traffic.
In all honesty, Facebook contests are a great idea in theory yet in practice, they provide smoke sans fire. So, should you run a Facebook contest? Only if you plan on running a well thought out contest on a monthly basis with a built in sales channel designed to both attract new consumers and reward existing clients. Should you? Yes. Can you? That is the real question.
4. Direct Customer Communication
Direct customer communication is what social media is all about. Beyond contests, beyond Likes, beyond social cred and influence, social media channels provides brands with the ability to reach their customer base unfiltered and grants clients an avenue to inform brands what they want/what they like or don’t like about current offerings. Facebook is a great tool for customer/client interaction however that greatness only extends to the superficial. For customer communications concerning ideas, thoughts on blogs, threads concerning product testing, social media is great. Yet for anything substantial – sales conversations, technical questions, customer issues, product issues – Facebook (err, all of social media) is the last outlet you want to air your business on. Certain aspects of a business need to be kept in traditional outlet channels – social media simply isn’t a good avenue for serious business conversations. Chat to your clients on Facebook, don’t talk to them on Facebook.
So, is Facebook dying? The answer is no. Facebook isn’t dying. But it might not be the best connected social network to conduct serious business on.