was successfully added to your cart.

Is Facebook Today’s Internet?

Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Is Facebook this decade’s Al Gore invention? It sure seems that way from where I’m sitting.

Picture a time, let’s call it the 90s, when companies were ravenously establishing a presence on the internets, because everyone was on it. Remember websites and the people who needed to be hired to build them? Now, juxtapose that thought with today’s race to create a Facebook Fan Page and the social media experts needed to build them.

Yea… weird, isn’t it?

The Problem With Facebook

I just read Todd Defren’s post on PR Squared called The Problem With Facebook (For Marketers) and it triggered that connection for me. Thanks, Todd. I’ve been caught up in the face-race myself for internal projects. Common knowledge has dictated that you must set up a Facebook Fan Page for any “campaign” taking place these days.

I don’t know that I ever truly subscribed to that theory, but if there was any question I for sure don’t now. Here’s why:

its not yours There is no real customization of Facebook Fan Pages and they all basically do the same thing… attempt to take you somewhere else. Like back to the the Fan Page owner’s main web presence where they can market to you directly or sell you something. Plus, why do I need a context free wall or a second rate message board capability when I can create a blog with Facebook Connect and start to engage with actual readers over comments on my own web platform?

its not easy After recently stumbling through hooking up a Facebook Fan Page for an internal project, I likened Facebook to the Microsoft of on-line social… it was hard. Shortly thereafter, I noted the irony in that sentiment due to Microsoft’s investment position in Facebook. Honestly though, I could totally be in the wrong and may not be on Facebook enough but the Facebook interface is just not intuitive to me. Simply setting up the hallicious RSS feed into my notes was like a five step process and I thought RSS is supposed to be really simple.

it doesn’t do anything A Facebook Fan Page really doesn’t do anything at all, when you think about it. The original premise was cool, I guess. Set up a space for every Facebook member on planet earth to stop by and tell you that your product / offering / whatever is the bees knees. But what does it mean to the bottom line to have fans on Facebook? More importantly, what does it do for you to have customers self identify on Facebook? I get that it’s a nice ego boost to have thousands of fans, but we know that brands like Coke and Adidas have millions of fans who purchase their products on a daily basis. And if you’re an unknown company, am I really going to care about you and your fan page? Seriously.

What’s My Problem?

I don’t know that I have a problem. I just think that Facebook is a better distribution channel then it is a content platform. Please note the subtle difference. If I can make the things on my own website easily shared on Facebook, like Mashable continues to push the envelope with – holy cow by the way, then I’m better off. Why waste time setting up a Facebook Fan Page when I can devote that time to installing widgets and plug-ins on my site that make it easier for people to share my content with their Facebook networks.

In short, friends share information on Facebook. Information is not created on Facebook Fan Pages. Therefore, I’m calling shenanigans and you should too. Use the money you would have overspent on a Facebook Fan Page and build your own site.

What Do You Think?

Am I way off base here? Are Facebook Fan Pages the quintessential on-line destination marketing de jour end-all / be-all that should never be questioned by mere mortals? Or are you smelling what I’m stepping in? Please let me know in the comments below.

5 Comments

  • Why not a FriendFeed or Posterous-like meta-connection to the fan page? I would assume that APIs are robust enough at this point to enable something like this. You would manage your online presence from one location, yet users have several points of presence to interact with.

    You could draw a parallel with business cards. How many people really use business cards? Even if that number were 1% of the total users, are you willing to sacrifice those users by not having a business card yourself?

    The answer may depend on your intended target, but what if the *only* guy you meet that likes to have a business card is the guy with 10 million in his primary checking account, waiting for someone to invest it in? That insignificant portion of the population may be the important part.

    Similar to finding former classmates, I think the beauty of a well-executed fan page is to reconnect someone with a long-lost brand that they liked long ago (which may only have only been a matter of months ago). My usual “fanning” is of a brand that I liked, but had forgotten about. Such customers may provide a high return on a very small investment.

  • Hallicious says:

    Thomas,

    I understand your points. I just think that fan pages are limited because you can't sell on them… And until you can, you're always going to want to bring people back to somewhere else, like your site where you can sell people something.

    Why Facebook hasn't created a payment gateway and social marketplace for the brands that use Fan Pages yet escapes me. I understand they're profitable now but imagine if they threw an online auction and storefront capability on their platform and took a cut of each transaction…

  • Hallicious says:

    Thomas,

    I understand your points. I just think that fan pages are limited because you can't sell on them… And until you can, you're always going to want to bring people back to somewhere else, like your site where you can sell people something.

    Why Facebook hasn't created a payment gateway and social marketplace for the brands that use Fan Pages yet escapes me. I understand they're profitable now but imagine if they threw an online auction and storefront capability on their platform and took a cut of each transaction…