Saturday, June 11, 2011

 

Why I may have been wrong about Facebook

More than three years ago, I blogged ten reasons why I didn't like Facebook. To this day its among my most-visited past blog posts.

And although I'm still not as active a user as most, I'm changing my tune. Facebook isn't for everybody (no single channel is for everybody), and you have to know your audience first before making the investment, but I'm starting to warm up to Facebook as a differentiated channel for myself and our business.

Here are three primary reasons why:

Facebook is permission-based, high-frequency awareness
If you think of Facebook as the top of your sales funnel (whether that funnel drives sales for your business or serves as your personal networking engine), it offers a number of advantages. Everyone in your network wants to be there and has explicitly given you permission to talk to them. You can earn the right to have your name or brand in front of them on a regular basis.

Of course, your content had better be good, because the unfollow button is right there, and once you lose them you're likely not going to get them back.

Facebook is not nearly as crowded as Twitter
The information flies fast and furious on Facebook, but it doesn't feel like nearly the fire-hose that Twitter has become. It's easier to stand out with a smaller and more valuable audience on Facebook.

Part of this lies in what it means to follow someone on each channel. I follow thousands on Twitter. It's an unemotional choice. With Facebook, I'm implying a higher level of interest than simply following someone's content and musings. I'm implying that they're a friend. That's very different, and more meaningful.

Facebook makes it easier to show personality and your "human" side
I've grown to appreciate the differences between Twitter and Facebook, and how each is helping me develop more meaningful relationships with friends, peers, prospects, partners, etc. My Twitter account is mostly business - it's articles about sales & marketing, responses to questions about the same, responses to people in my professional network.

There's significant overlap between my Twitter and Facebook followers, but on Facebook I can show more of my personal side. I can show pictures of my family, talk about baseball, "like" people's after-work activities and so on. The business relationships we have are never purely about business. And while I like the focus of my Twitter stream, I increasingly value the opportunity to be more well-rounded via Facebook.

I'm sure some readers of this post are silently welcoming me back from the stone age, but others may have shared my early skepticism. Curious to hear what both groups are thinking now.

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