By: Blake Rittenberg
As a recent study shows, social media has replaced porn as the number one activity on the web. Facebook was able to rack up one hundred million users within a mere span of nine months. If we were to compile all of Facebook’s users in one place, it would be the fourth largest country in the world.
What about their revenue? Brace yourself. Facebook brings in a whopping $10 per new user. With a hundred million users and still growing, that’s well, um, an obscene amount of dinero. It’s precisely this immense impact on our society that seems to be stirring up this great debate among its critics: Is social media really beneficial?
One could argue that it makes people less personally connected as they spend less time face-to-face. On the other hand, there has been a vast increase in the amount of both romantic and business web-based relationships founded in social media. Whether you’re pro-social media or an oblivious techno-rebel (like this adorable couple), there is no escaping one undeniable truth…
Facebook + business = match made in heaven.
There are three facets to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of a social media campaign: price, time, and the producer-consumer relationship.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
There was a time, not too long ago, when TV was the only way to reach extensive numbers of people. It was, (and still is) tremendously costly, making major television campaigns unaffordable to most small businesses.
Facebook – and other social media advertising campaigns – provide businesses of any size with the option to create an ad campaign for any budget. In addition, you can specifically target very narrow demographics –both by geographical region and by personal interest. If you’re a bike shop, you may or may not have an interest in a TV ad on “Must See TV” that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars (at the lowest level), but imagine if you could specifically target your ads to just those individuals in your town with an interest in biking.
Then YOU determine the amount of money you’d like to spend. You can set a total budget of $100 or $5000. Facebook calculates the value of each “click” on your ad – let’s say because your demographic is very specific (usually more valuable), each click costs $1. If your total budget is $100, then by the time you’ve spent it, you’ve acquired around 100 new likes! You don’t shell out a dime until somebody has actually engaged you’re your ad.
Now let’s imagine you DO have the budget to also do television. Think about how much more powerful that message will be if, for an additional $100, you reinforce it through social media.
And those 100 new likes? You can now market to them for absolutely FREE! They are “fans” of your page and receive your content in their stream. (For more on creating continually engaging content, click here.)
TIME IS MONEY
Timing within the television industry could be compared to that of an obese snail – particularly when compared to social media. While there are certain types of campaigns that work well on television – brand building, for instance, or campaigns that have a shelf life of many months it’s not the ideal medium for the majority of communication in a world driven by social media. People expect – rather, demand – instant responses, up-to-date data, and current coupons they can carry around on their iPhones and Tablets.
Speaking of which, the newest advertising trend on Facebook are the “Claim offer” posts. The hottest businesses in their respective industry have jumped on board with this new Facebook feature. Just from my own experiences I have claimed offers for a free bagel sandwich at Einstein Bros, $10 off a purchase of $30 or more at Sports Authority, and even a completely FREE $10 gift card to Whole Foods – all by browsing my Facebook newsfeed. As soon as you click the “Claim this offer” button, it automatically sends an email to the account that you have registered with your Facebook, coupon attached. It’s that easy:
Word to the wise: creating a Facebook offer is totally free – which is a bonus, but if you want more people to see the offer, you have to place an ad. For a small business it may not be fiscally feasible to have one of these offers because so many people claim them, spreading like wildfire. For a small business, giving away free or discounted goods or services may not be suitable for their profit margin. If you want to learn more about this new way to Facebook advertise, click here.
YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP
Once the commercial finally does reach the TV screen, there is limited engagement between the consumers and the producers. Facebook takes that extra step: After pushing out your message, you can draw in the recipient of it and ask for their response. Companies receive real-time feedback and can take that feedback into consideration, adjusting their game plan accordingly, if necessary.
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, undeniably understands the game-changing opportunities his brainchild has generated. “For the last hundred years media has been pushed to the people, but now marketers are going to be part of the conversation.”
Consumers and brands are able to update or post information simultaneously, in real time. It is precisely this unique feature that blurs the line between the two, becoming social media’s most crucial feature. The mere click of your mouse over the notorious “Like” button, without you realizing, provides prized information to a variety of producers. So much of our everyday lives now revolve around Facebook, from the workplace to the home place. It’s not just in our country either. it’s the entire world.
We may be grouped into separate countries, but collectively, we all make up the ultra-addictive Facebook Nation.