The migration frenzy to Facebook by every company in America and beyond is something I absolutely understand and appreciate. Who doesn’t want their message in front of that many eyeballs? Just the idea of possibly capturing even a smidgen of a fraction of the Facebook audience is enough to make a room full of top executives salivate for a week straight.
I’m sure the conversations go something like this: "Just think, if someone posts something about our brand and it goes on their wall and the walls of their friends and then they see our logo and get curious and click on a link and the fact that they clicked on a link to our brand shows up on the walls of all of that person’s friends, we could be all over the place!" (Hear the exhaustive panting? See the sweat on the brow?)
…Okay, they may not go exactly that way but I know I’m close because I’ve been involved in such conversations. It’s insane not to give it a try. I get that. Facebook Connect is a wonderful thing.
But, let’s just take a deep breath for a second and remember that there are other online communities out there with huge memberships that might be worth your time as well. If you have a product of services that would be of interest to moms, it might be a good idea to consider shifting some of your online marketing efforts over to sites like CafeMom, or Momtourage. The pool may not be as big, but the water could be just as nice.
If you want to reach car enthusiasts, consider specific niche communities that cater to the audience you are trying to reach.
As the Editor of a local online community with close to 14,000 members I see discussions about a lot of brands on a daily basis. They range from national brands to local brands. Some are complimentary, some are quite critical, but all are relevant and should be important to those brands in my opinion.
The conversations take place in blogs, on individual profiles and even on the comments sections of news stories.
Why are these opportunities being missed?
The only thing I can think of is a lack of time and resources.
As the concept of brand monitoring continues to grow and companies begin to ‘join the conversations’ the focus is largely on conversations taking place on mainstream social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and major blogs. That covers a lot of ground but what about the smaller communities where people who are passionate about your brand and openly discussing their experiences? Is that less valuable because there may only be 500 people reading the post?
I can recall a blog posted by a member who was seriously contemplating Lasik eye surgery and asked the community for advice. It came in droves. Two local businesses were mentioned by name and several individual doctors were recommended as well. There was mention of bad experiences and some chimed in saying that they too had been considering the surgery and wanted to find someone with a good reputation and satisfied patients who could refer them.
Can you imagine what would have happened had anyone from those offices gotten involved in this conversation, perhaps offering a special, a consultation, expertise or even tips on how to select a doctor?
It could have been a marketing mecca had the right people "joined the conversation." I even contacted two of the parties mentioned when I recognized the opportunity. They failed to get involved. A missed opportunity all around. The only thing it would have cost is time. But I suppose that time is better spent on platforms like Facebook. These were potential customers in their own backyard and they failed to see the value in that.
In know way and I saying anyone should take the focus off of Facebook, but don’t be afraid to look for other opportunities as well. They’re out there.