Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Facebook’s New Platform Means for your Customers

Sams Teach Yourself Facebook in 10 Minutes

Mia Dand posted a summery of “What Facebook’s New Platform Means for your Business” which covers the new social features introduced by Facebook. The minute I saw her post's title, it occurred to me “what does it means for your customers?”.
Today I got a call from one of my friends, and he said “your picture is placed on CNN website”. I said “pardon?”. But it took a while for me to realize what has really happened. I visited this page on CNN website yesterday, and clicked on “recommend” button to test this new feature. Later, when my friend visited CNN website to read the news of his interest, he suddenly saw a section  called “friend’s activity”, under which my profile picture is appearing with the social actions I took on CNN website.

Makes perfect sense for CNN as a business isn’t it? CNN (with the help of Facebook) tracked my behavior, and recommended this page, to my friend who happened to visit a different page on CNN.Smart marketing!

Now let’s take look at it from a customer’s point of view.

For my friend, the page I “recommended” actually doesn’t have any relevance. He is from the banking industry, and very little he is interested about what Facebook is up to do next. He doesn't have a tiniest of interest about Facebook or social media marketing. Just because we are “friends” on Facebook, that doesn’t necessarily means we always share the same interests.

For me, this could raise a huge privacy concern. My friend and I haven’t met for last few weeks, but he knows exactly on what web pages I hang around these days (Of course I have the choice of not clicking “recommend” button). When will Facebook cross the line, and show my profile picture on pages that I didn’t recommended, under a new section “friends who recently visited this page”? You never expected Facebook to make our profile pictures public, so nothing is here for granted.

For me, it’s so clear that Facebook has developed these new features with the “businesses” in the center stage. They have failed in interpreting these changes from a customer’s point of view. Facebook mustn’t forget that, why businesses are coming after them is merely because of the 400 million users they have gathered around their brand. If these changes going to make these 400 million customers unhappy; no one will be benefited at the end of the day.

If you are a social media marketer, and believes “Facebook’s Like button is a brilliant idea for marketing!”; think again. The way we (marketers) look at social media is way far different from how the actual users look at it. In my opinion, the most successful social media marketers are the ones who make it closest to the users’ point of view of social media. Before you make any decisions about Facebook’s new platform, do some more research about what your target customers are saying about the changes.

Resistance for change is a typical human behavior. If we take a look at some of the comments on this page, we can see how skeptical people are about these new changes. We know in the past, Facebook reverted many of their new products due to public refutation. I liked the concept of “like”. But I sincerely hope, Facebook will overcome some of these teething problems pretty soon.






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