Belated Happy Birthday Facebook!

Its not news that Facebook are in the news again, Facebook are always in the news. What is interesting is that this week a video, which you can view below, has gone viral challenging Facebook on click fraud.

I personally think that the video offers a well articulated, well structured insight into how social media marketing is evolving, but I don’t think it has anything to do with click fraud.

If you know anything about Effective Marketing you will know that we are huge exponents of social media, with our social media training and the very real success that we have had with the social media campaigns that we deliver for our customers.

What we know, however is that Social Media isn’t everything that it is cracked up to be. Not because of the megalomaniac profiteers that are fortunate enough to have developed the technology, or because of the reported click farms in Bangladesh but rather because the Social Media aren’t actually very good, yet.

If you need evidence of that I would recommend that you take five minutes to download the reports provided by Facebook analytics. What you will then be in possession of is possibly the worst spreadsheet that has ever been conceived. I am not a huge spreadsheet fundi but what I know is that less is more, and this spreadsheet goes on forever with tens of columns with huge headings that aren’t clear and constantly change.

I am sure whoever developed this spreadsheet was well intentioned and trying to provide something really useful, but clearly had no idea what they were they were doing.

And this is just one example of how the social media platforms are getting things wrong.

We fight with the technology everyday to get it working effectively and have had huge success with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but most often it feels like that it in spite of the technology rather than because of it.

All of the Social Media platforms are grappling with the big issue which is delivering on their reasonably new promise of delivering return for their investors, and their investors have invested a lot. So we see Facebook introducing advertising opportunities into timelines, Twitter offering promoted posts and LinkedIn providing sponsored ads and none of these things are as effective as they need to be. What I see happening is Social Media trying to become media companies. Which freaks me a little because I spend a lot of my time my time convincing old media companies of the benefits of leveraging social media.

What is clear to me is that these businesses don’t realise the huge value of what their networks, they are charging for the fringe benefits whilst giving away the family silver.

The very best example of this is LinkedIn who charge something like £15 a month for a subscription, for that you get a limited number of in-mails, some advanced search features and some additional reporting – whilst you get access to the largest, most accessible, most dynamic, most up to date database of proactive business to business decision makers that has ever existed, FOR FREE. I pay the subscription because I want, scratch that, I need LinkedIn to stay in business.

When we think about it, why should these people be good at this stuff?

Mark Zuckerberg was an undergraduate who happened to hit on a phenomenal idea, had the technical ability to implement it and the drive to make it into one of the largest corporations in the world. Having developed this technology for the benefit of mankind, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he is going to know how to develop it for the benefit of businesses.

Social Media represents a step change in the way that people communicate with each other on a par with the internet and the printing press. It is reasonable to expect that it will take some time to get it absolutely right. What these companies need to do now is maintain the enjoyment and the interaction of their audiences whilst developing benefits for businesses who will deliver the profits, and that is an interesting line to walk.

What we are very confident of is that Social Media will continue to evolve and that it will become more a part of our lives and it will get better and better, and become more and more useful.

Right now it is a fantastic opportunity for those businesses prepared to invest in adding value to the lives of the people that they would like to be doing business with something to say, and the resource to develop their content.

As always we would love to hear your comments and if you are Mark Zuckerburg we would love to come to California to have a cup of tea and a chat about how we see it evolving :0)