I am one of those old codgers able to remember the days of 3 channels on the box, no seriously! I remember seeing the Channel 4 launch banners being pulled along behind small planes walking back from School. I also remember that back then there was no internet, no email address or website address on advertising and no way to find out what your mates from school were doing that day except to ring or call round for them.
Fast forward a few years, ok, quite a few, and suddenly adverts on the TV are all saying check out our website and listing their address at the bottom of the screen. Email is everywhere and people don’t have to leave home to know whats going on around them. The internet has truly arrived, not just a space for chatting to spotty 13 year olds in chat rooms any more it is now a serious marketing stream. However recently you may have noticed that peoples website addresses are not necessarily what appears at the bottom of the screen any more. Now it appears to be all about their facebok page “find us on facebook!!”
So why is this? Well quite simply supply and demand. Businesses have a constant demand for clients, Facebook can supply. Dont believe me? Here are the stats straight from the horses mouth. Ok so facebook doesn’t do everything right, we cant effectively buy from our favourite retailers without going to their site… wrong!! With changes to the way pages on facebook work, over the next 12 months there will be a massive surge in f-commerce and you will see more and more people buying directly through facebook. I would imagine that Paypal, although still fairly secure in their business model, are keeping a very close eye on Facebook right now as the concept of buying directly through them with Facebook credit must have them wondering how big a share they will take. Social shopping in a real way is now likely to become a reality after a number of previously failed attempts and the big retailers will be quick to exploit the idea of sharing your possible purchase with the firends you currently have online, “I was gonna buy this, what do you think?”, and their friends wont even have to leave Facebook to check it out and comment. Facebook have already taken the first step towards implementing this by allowing pages to be tagged within photos and with more televisions becoming connected to the internet as standard look out for facebook tv just around the corner.
So is facebook the new internet? Well honestly, no but it IS trying. If you are looking to promote your services to another business (B2B) then you would probably not look to push it through facebook as much as some other avenues like LinkedIn, however, if you are in a Business to consmer (B2C) business you ignore facebook as both a marketing and sales medium at your peril. As the next few years unfold and both f-commerce and t-commerce take off, and believe me they will, the early adopters will most likely be the ones lining their pockets.