It’s not a fad, it’s the new norm

Posted on October 7, 2009

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There seems to be a stubborn opinion in some corners of the ad world that marketing on Facebook and Twitter is pointless. One of the more common arguments goes something like this:

“Facebook hasn’t even made any money yet. How are you going to make money off of something that doesn’t make money for itself to begin with?”

This backwards logic is common and needs to be addressed. Facebook has announced that for the first time last quarter the company turned a profit. But even if it hadn’t, so what?

E-mail doesn’t make money for itself, and yet e-mail marketing has been proven effective, time and again. Search does not generate revenue for itself and yet Google has become a behemoth on par with Microsoft through its advertising program.

Some would counter that banner and search ads don’t work, that nobody clicks on them. And yet someone must otherwise Google’s IPO would have been a spectacular failure and the company would not have competed with Microsoft to take over Yahoo!

Facebook has long been looked at by those in the advertising community as a fad not the ubiquitous communications hub that it has become. At least part of this is born out of fear and frustration; fear that the old way of doing things is changing or disappearing (both true and false) and frustration with a tool that they do not understand. Condescension is rampant.

As a business owner you cannot fall prey to these misguided notions. For starters, Facebook’s financials are of no concern to you, they do not and will never affect your bottom line. What is of concern to your company and your bottom line is that Facebook is home to 300 million users, half of whom check the site daily. Take that in for a moment: 150 million people log in to Facebook every day!

Twitter is also on the rise and while the chatter right now is focusing on how it can challenge Facebook the truth is people will not abandon their Facebook profiles for Twitter’s updates. Most will use both with each providing its own unique communications opportunities. Opportunities that should be exploited by your business.

Just like Radio, Television and the Internet before them social media networks are not going to go away. The sheer volume of demographic information they provide is far too valuable to marketers and businesses to simply sit by and wait until these ‘fads’ pass. Because they will not pass. When a service reaches the critical mass that Facebook and Twitter have the notion that one day people will suddenly stop logging on is ridiculous.

Services may evolve, disappear or become marginalized by newer, bigger players but the concept of social networking itself will not disappear. It’s time to accept that this ‘fad’  is actually the new norm.

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