All the chat these days around the water cooler is about how the LA Kings are heading to the Stanley Cup finals (hey, I’m in Los Angeles). Oh, and how the Facebook IPO has fizzled.
A lot of people want to point to the poor performance of the IPO launch to say, “See, this Facebookie thing is just a fad.”
But don’t delete those Facebook pages and profiles just yet.
No matter what the naysayers say, Facebook is not just a fad.
Take a look at Facebook’s most recent statistics:
- 901 million monthly active users at the end of March 2012.
- Approximately 80% of our monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
- 526 million daily active users on average in March 2012.
- 488 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in March 2012, and more than 500 million mobile monthly active users as of April 20, 2012.
- During March 2012, on average 398 million users were active with Facebook on at least six out of the last seven days.
- More than 125 billion friend connections on Facebook at the end of March 2012.
- On average more than 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook per day in the three months ended March 31, 2012.
- An average of 3.2 billion Likes and Comments generated by Facebook users per day during the first quarter of 2012.
- More than 42 million Pages with ten or more Likes at the end of March 2012.
- Facebook is available in more than 70 languages.
Until we see the USERS fleeing Facebook, there is something there there.
Until we see the BRANDS fleeing Facebook, there is something there there.
In fact, one trend I am intently following is how the brands, large and small, are no longer promoting their company URLs in print, television and radio advertising. They are, however, pushing consumers to their Facebook pages.
Why? I am going on the supposition that a person cannot interact with a Website. They can, however, interact with a Facebook page.
You cannot deny that Facebook has fundamentally shifted how the world and its people communicate with one another. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it’s not going back.
When a user comments, likes or shares a Facebook page or post, it is shared on the user’s personal wall. The users are, in essence, providing that page (the brand) a referral or a tacit approval.
For instance, when I clicked “like” and provided a comment for Hamburger Mary’s Legendary Bingo Night (oh, this is NOT your grandmother’s church bingo night), that was shared on my wall, and my 600 or so friends could see that too.
Now, instead of just me and the Sports Dude going to play drag queen bingo this Sunday night, we have a table of ten going.
That’s money in the bank for Hamburger Mary’s and the charitable organization of the night. And it was free.
Which is the problem for Facebook. They need to turn that valuable activity into cold, hard cash.
Wall Street might not understand how to monetize Facebook (yet), but it will happen.
All I am saying is that before you write off Facebook and social media, give it some time. Social media is still a new medium. After all, Zuckerberg is ONLY 28-years old.
If the brands continue to flock to Facebook for the value they find in their pages, then Facebook needs to sell access to that.
I assure you, paying several hundred or thousands of dollars to run a Facebook page is NOTHING for these brands. Just think how much we used to pay for yellow and white page advertising.
Once those brilliant marketing majors figure out how to measure the ROI of Facebook advertising and user activity for the brands, then Facebook will be able to package that into a product to sell for itself. (Which, by the way, I think will focus around page interaction rather than straight click-throughs of the banner ads).
And before I close this out with a brilliant, and perhaps witty recap, I just want to point out that while the press made a huge to do over GM dropping their Facebook advertising, they seemed to downplay that just two days later GM dropped their Super Bowl ads as well. I have a feeling this strategy has more to do with the health of GM’s stock price than Facebook’s.
So what does all of this mean to law firms and the legal industry?
It’s a trend to follow. And definitely one NOT to ignore.
Personally, I NEVER look to other law firms for trends to follow. I look to the brands, and then see how I can interpret what they are doing for the legal services industry as a whole, and my firm specifically. Some trends interpret easily, and others are more nuanced.
However, considering that our firms are representing these companies, these brands, it is important for us to understand their business models, how those are changing, and how they are now conducting business in a socially connected world.