By now, it is common knowledge that for virtually any business, Facebook matters. Mark Zuckerberg was recently named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. Facebook is the biggest, fastest growing website in the world, period. More than 500 million people log on (see Figure 1) and spend an astonishing twenty billion minutes on the site every single day. Like the Internet before it, Facebook is changing every aspect of business and society. Facebook has in fact become, for all intents and purposes, the new Web. What does this mean for your organization?
Social media is a disruptive force for your business. Every customer and employee suddenly has a profile and a voice, and what they say gets automatically broadcast to their friends. Brands are being elevated or jeopardized overnight by a single customer’s opinion that “goes viral.” Companies have no choice but to become transparent, responsive, and collaborative. Next-generation products are no longer being conceived in the lab or executive boardroom but by customers themselves. Everything is changing around customer conversation, participation, and how companies are organized.
Fifteen years ago, we all had to learn how to build landing pages and run email campaigns. Today we have to master Facebook to stay in touch and to stay relevant with customers. Business leaders who understand how to cultivate fans and followers on social media are reaping the benefits of customer loyalty—repeat sales, cross-selling opportunities, and referrals. Those who don’t (or choose not to) miss out on critical customer conversations and risk their brand becoming irrelevant over time.
2010 was about social media strategy, vision, and learning. 2011 is all about execution. The dialogue has evolved from “we need to be on Facebook” to “show me the results.” Although specific campaigns and tactics will vary by company and industry, just about every organization needs to think about how its brand and customer conversations fit with the decentralized nature of social media.
This article walks you through the recent Facebook developments, strategic considerations, tactical steps, case studies, and best practices you’ll need to help your organization succeed wildly in the Facebook Era.