When it comes to social media, fads come and go very quickly.
Remember MySpace and Friendster? They hit their peaks around 2008, and while both are still around, they're much more of a legacy than legitimate players. As for Bebo, once touted as the challenger in social media, they turned into an embarrassing $800 million loss for AOL.
Digg? Xanga? Diaspora? Del.icio.us? Ping? Buzz? Orkut? Not necessarily gone, but largely forgotten. Even the online juggernaut, Google, has failed to make a dent with its Google+ network, despite automatically bundling an account with all their other products. In terms of activity, it peaked early in 2011, before dwindling to a level of popularity more in line with MySpace than Facebook or Twitter.
So, why has Facebook succeeded, and why should you care, especially in terms of your business? It’s a fair question, especially if all you remember about it is baby photos, odd late-night status updates, and requests for game tokens. Don’t get me started on gaming tokens . . .
Why you should care is because, more than any other network out there, they’ve successfully managed to merge our personal lives with our business lives. While other social networks are generally good for a single purpose or single audience, Facebook successfully brings together friends, colleagues, consumers, and fans – all in one place. They’ve created a seamless integration between the various elements of our lives, bringing those family photos, celebrity news, shared music, birthdays, check-ins, events, and consumer advertising into a single stream.
What really sets Facebook apart, at least in terms of business, is the ability to create Pages as opposed to Profiles. This is huge, especially if you are one of those people who like to draw a line between your personal life and your business. Customers (or fans) can like your page and follow what’s happening with your business, without having to become your friend and be inundated with photos of your family vacation . . . or your embarrassing escapades last night.
All joking aside, what’s even more is the ability to maintain the visibility of your brand. Whether you’re managing the page alone, or with a team of employees, there is always one name and one face behind it. It’s not Jack promoting your new product; it’s not Suzy responding to messages; and it’s not Mr. Smith sharing a link to your latest ad. It’s Your Company doing all of these things, with Your Company name behind it, and Your Company logo attached.
Whether you’re trying to build an image or just maintain one, that kind of name brand recognition is huge.