The impact of social media on business have grown from a remote possibility to a serious board room agenda. Facebook at its inception was dismissed as a fad that would fade away. Many CEOs then did not foresee the influence and importance of Facebook as it was often viewed as an impediment to workplace productivity. Viewed as an unwelcomed distraction, many companies had Facebook blacklisted.
Today, almost 9 years after Facebook was launched, it is considered as one of a CEO’s most trusted online platform for a myriad of activities that ultimately improves his bottom line. The impact of Facebook is so huge that Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) on May 18, 2012 and Mark Zuckerberg was named among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world by Times magazine’s Person of the Year in 2010.
The biggest difference in how businesses are done today is largely attributed to the increase in brand visibility that Facebook has given to companies. With over a billion active users on Facebook today, the potential for brand ambassadors is only as limited as your creativity could run.
Facebook has brought an immense improvement in the the way we manage customer relationships. While it was possible to maintain an online relationship through blogs, corporate forums and company websites in the past, it was never easy to setup or maintain these platforms if you’re not a techie. On top of that, conversations in the past has been greatly skewed in favor of the companies and customers have limited means to be heard by the company and the general public.
Today, Facebook provides an easier platform for customers and companies to interact with one another. Customers can not only interact with the company and their own circle of friends but also with other customers from around the world. This has allowed customers to engage the brand on a deeper level and when customers are engaged so closely, they tend to take ownerships of the brand and kinships with the company is normally developed along side. This is invaluable to the business, as studies have concluded that the cost of attracting a new customer is many times that of maintaining a current customer.
Apart from engaging customers, Facebook has also enabled marketers to test popularities of new products and services before they go on full-scale production. Typically, the idea of a new product is floated on the company’s page and customers are asked to give their opinions on the new product. Before the Internet era, similar form of market testing used to be very expensive as customers have to gather in a single location for the testing to be done. Today, all it takes is a post-subsequent analysis of the feedback.
With the use of Facebook pages, businesses are also able to make targeted announcements to followers by offering them special offers and promotions. They do not have to solely rely on advertisements placed on televisions, radios and the Internet to attract the attention of prospective customers. Running promotions on Facebook has been so successful that recently, Facebook has announced plans to charge businesses for running promotions on their pages.
Facebook have allowed businesses to attract new customers in a pretty much inexpensive way. This is largely due to the way Facebook is designed. When a person likes a company’s page, by default, all their friends get to see it. If any of their friends is interested in the company’s offering, they could like the company’s page and the network grows.
Smart businesses, big or small, know how relationships form the basis of customer retention and attraction. It is obvious that Facebook is a marketing godsend.