As the Facebook IPO Roadshow shifts into high gear, it seems relevant to consider exactly what value Facebook can offer your brand and business. While the addition of Instagram and Glancee has done much to sure up their mobile capacities (as yet only in perception), the core business opportunities cannot be underestimated.
The roster of sales and marketing services can be broken out into the following categories:
- F-Stores (E-commerce stores where customers buy real goods with real currency inside Facebook)
- Facebook Credits (Currency for games and in-app virtual goods)
- Facebook Social Plug Ins (‘Like,’ ‘Share,’ ‘Recommend’ services/products)
- Facebook Places & Location Tab (integrating online and in-store experience through rewards)
- Facebook Open Graph (shopping ‘verbs’ and ‘nouns’ being shared through Timeline, Ticker, and News Feeds)
- Facebook Mobile Platform (Social shopping through Notifications, Requests, Timeline and News Feed on app)
- Facebook Ads & Sponsored/Featured Stories (Drive awareness, engagement and purchases)
Seen together, it’s clear that Facebook is creating a self-contained F, E, and M-commerce ecosystem that will become increasingly important to brands because that’s where their customers are. More than that, the social network is demonstrating a wide return on investments specific to very different business goals. Here are some examples:
- Facebook customers spend money: 1.5x: Facebook users spend 1.5x more online that other Internet users.
- Facebook drives e-commerce: 6.5%: click-through rates on Facebook walls are 6.5%.
-Facebook is where you customers are: Nine in Ten: Proportion of US social network users who use Facebook.
- Facebook drives word of mouth sales: Media value generated by the average Facebook fan is $3.60/year.
- Facebook drives loyalty: 117%: the additional amount a fan will spend on a brand compared to a non-fan.
- F Commerce is accelerating: 76% of retailers plan to use Facebook for ‘social commerce’ initiatives.
- F-comerce is future-proof: 200+ million: Facebook users accessing the utility through their mobile devices.
The net result is that the platform commands an enviable leadership position over social commerce (and for even more ROI case studies, click here). So much so, that Mike Fauscette, an analyst at IDC Consulting stated, ‘In three to five years, 10 percent to 15 percent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook”, while Sumeet Jain, Principal at CMEA Capital states, “It’s a matter of time—within the next five or so years—before more business will be done on Facebook than Amazon.”
So whether or not Facebook cracks the $100 billion valuation on May 18th, its value to your customers, brand, and business success is undeniable.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking in New Orleans at the First Data conference. It was a fantastic event and the other speaker was Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, who said something that struck me deeply. He put a sentence up on screen, which said, “Change is not the triumph of technology, but the triumph of humanity.” I completely agree, and while I have talked and written a lot about this through the We First lens, when it comes from someone like Biz who has shaped the social media world, it is that much more persuasive.
Too often, companies make the mistake of seeing social media as an end in itself, when in fact it is really just another channel through which to emotionally connect with your customer. As Biz explained, the Arab Spring revolutions and the Occupy Wall Street movement are driven by human nature and emotion, and the technology simply provides the connective tissue to give people with shared values a voice. The same is true of your company and brand, and the benefits can be enormous.
When you frame the role of social media in terms of humanity and the emotional connections that unite us, you can have a profound impact on your customers, employees and the world at large. With your customers, you can bring your corporate purpose to life in a way that makes your brand more meaningful to them, inspiring loyalty, goodwill and ultimately profits. You’ll also motivate them to become partners in telling the brand story, co-creating the products and services that will drive your bottom line success.
With employees there are just as many benefits when the role of social media is framed in terms of humanity rather than technology. When you bring your purpose to life inside a company, you’ll connect with your employees on an emotional level. This will give you the ability to attract top talent, to maximize employee retention and productivity, and to inspire your employees to use their own social media channels to be ambassadors for the brand.
Finally, by framing the role of social media in terms of humanity, you can impact the world at large. By taking actions to bring your company’s purpose to life and demonstrating your commitment to your core values by supporting causes such as the environment, education or healthcare, you can not only shape the future of your company, but the future of the world at large.
So this perspective on social media offers both professional and personal benefits. On a professional level, you will be able to build a community of brand ambassadors with your customers and employees and have a positive impact on the society and economy on which your company’s success depends. On a personal level, you will find deep satisfaction that will inform your relationships at home and at work, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
Do you believe most brands do a good job of using social media to celebrate humanity, or do you think they still apply an old mindset that is only concerned with the bottom line?
If brands and ad agencies were already struggling to create seamless, real-time shopping experiences built around customers’ multi-screen lifestyles, their work just got harder. It is one thing to migrate seamlessly between the on and offline world across multiple devices (PC, tablet, smartphone) to never lose touch with your customer, it is another to reconcile the real world with its new virtual equivalent showcased in Yogurtistan.
It’s beta form was just showcased at DEMO Spring 2012 in California and it provides brands and customers with new challenges and opportunities including:
- Creating customizable avatars that can try on clothes, chat with others, and buy both virtual and real goods using real and virtual currencies such as Facebook credits.
- New coupons, incentives and rewards specific to engagement within the virtual worlds.
- The ability for brands to build customized stores within the virtual world itself.
This is a far cry from simply having a presence within a social game like Farmville using virtual goods that represent your brand. This requires companies to have a deep understanding of virtual life engagement and the ability to layer e-commerce on top of it.
We are creating a new experience by mimicking real-life engagement by going from store to store without changing a tab, or entering the web site address of the store. This is one centralized system. I can run into a promotion, a friend, or simply begin to chat with a stranger in the street, all of which is accessible on any browser or even an iPad.
It is yet to be seen whether we see the emergence of a virtual shopping world as comprehensive and compelling as the tactile real world, but its plans are being drawn and built. As such brands would be wise to add virtual worlds to their ‘To Do’ skills sets so they can capitalize on all the worlds that their customers choose to inhabit
Do you think 3D shopping will take off? What advantages does it offer brands?
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