Facebook Making Another Big Push

Josh Chambers, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

Folks, it's all about making people's lives better. Facebook continues to be a solid social media tool because it can actually improve your life (or, destroy it through addiction ... either way) by effectively connecting you with your community.

Their people just published a white paper on viral marketing designed to teach businesses how to leverage customers through Facebook, and they've also added another feature that further enhances Facebook users to communicate and connect with their friends. They call it, c-h-a-t. You may have heard of it.

The whitepaper was actually a pretty good read--I learned a few things myself. This was a good move for them as it does two things: 1) It establishes their authority in viral marketing, and 2) Targets the growing Facebook business demographic. Facebook continues to distancing itself from its "Facebook is for kids" criticism as more and more people recognize the name. It is becoming so widspread that you are no longer considered a nerd or young-punk if you're a Facebook user; instead, the question has become, "You're not on Facebook?" I mean, my Dad is on Facebook (honestly...).

Also, the chat feature is pretty solid. While there are pros and cons to it, brands now have a new channel for making themselves available to customers. I know it's already being done by some companies; but brands should be excited about another opportunity to listen to what their customers are saying.

Chat Pros

  • Can provide businesses an opportunity to speak directly with customers from a page already rich with content.
  • Allows customers to pursue companis vs. the other way around.
  • Obviously the biggest advantage is that so many of your friends are on Facebook. You don't have to fool around trying to find their weird IM screen names.
  • It conslidates your friends so you're not dealing with GChat, and AIM, and MSN etc.
  • Clean, simple to use interface.

Chat Cons

  • Companies could begin spamming people. This should only be used to allow customers to reach out to companies, not the other way around.
  • Will businesses really chat with their customers? Do they have the infrastructure for that? Once you open the floodgates, you better deliver.
  • Getting people to make the transition from GChat, AIM, or MSN to Facebook might prove difficult. Those are some pretty well established platforms. And, I hear that jabber won't be integrated.
  • If the transition is difficult, it may just be another chat platform to add to the list...and who wants that? If all my friends start messaging me, that could get overwhelming.
  • It's a bit buggy right now. The popout chats kept closing on me.
  • It doesn't pop-up when someone messages you--which is the same problem I have with GChat.

In summary, because I've already used bullet points and I'm feeling bullet happy...

  • Businesses should read this white paper, and consider how to improve their interaction with customers on the customer's level.
  • Long live Facebook.
  • Facebook chat really does have potential to better peoples lives as they can more easily connect with one another.

Give the chat a try and let me know what you think. Also, we love hearing about businesses that are effectively leveraging social media. If your company has a Facebook page, tell us about it. Have you had success?

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