By Kyle Austin
Facebook’s recent move to make Facebook pages similar to user profiles (in-terms of interactivity) is drawing attention from mainstream publishers and marketers at top brands. New publishing features on Facebook are being used by brands like Coca-Cola, and publishers such as Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, in an effort to become part of the new Facebook stream. The pages will also serve as landing pages for brands on Facebook, which they can promote and measure traffic to using Facebook Advertising.
The New York Times quickly launched a new version of their Facebook page in response to the changes last week and Fortune launched their new page within the last couple days. Coca-Cola, the second most popular brand on Facebook, re-shaped their page, and launched this video to illustrate how two fans created the original one. Other top brands on Facebook should be redesigning their pages in the days to come, as Facebook slowly roles out the new features.
One of the more interesting story-lines of the redesign will be how marketers adjust to handling these new pages. Many believe these new profile-like features will make page status-updates increasingly important for the marketing folks in control of the pages – a la Twitter.
The biggest problem with brand pages on Facebook – up until now – has been the lack of real-time interaction with the Facebook community (i.e. current & prospective customers). These new features hope to solve that problem and should bring in the marketers who have been capitalizing on Twitter’s real-time mass messaging appeal. In fact, given the scale of Facebook, it’s likely that we will see the best Twitter brands: Jet Blue, Ford, Comcast, Home Depot, Zappos and their handlers making a strong play for Facebook mind-share.
Like David Kirkpatrick, who’s deep inside Facebook for his upcoming Face-book, I’m often baffled by how the recent Twitter frenzy has overlooked the brand opportunity for marketers on Facebook, along with the lack of scale for Twitter. Yes, Twitter now has 6 million users, but Facebook has 175 million! More importantly, according to Nielsen’s recent report on social networks (which we covered this week), Facebook users spend an average of 3 hours and 10 minutes on the site per-month; the highest average time per-person amongst the 75 most popular brands online.
As Facebook continues to drive towards becoming the one-stop-social network for information, similar to the way Google has become the one-stop-search for information, publishers (such as the Times and Fortune) are being drawn towards utilizing the new real-time updates as story distribution tools. With online story engagement moving away from publishers Websites and onto Twitter and Facebook, these new Facebook page destinations could become vital on-deck landing pages – to get readers back to publisher’s Websites. Fortune, who is housed online at CNNMoney.com, doesn’t enable comments on its stories there, making its Facebook page the first channel for reader comments and engagement (outside of letters to the editor).
6 comments March 12th, 2009