The Facebook myth…

One in every seven minutes on the web are spent on Facebook, it is taking up 2.6m minutes each day. The reasoning then goes that because all our “consumers” are on Facebook we as brands have to be there too, OK, makes sense. Now, since our customers are there then why don’t we let them shop there? Why not put up a storefront inside Facebook!

This idea isn’t new, Pampers did it in 2010 and We Are Social did it with Heinz in 2011, and (according to the linked articles) this has had some great results.

But here is the thing: Just because people spend a lot of time on Facebook doesn’t mean it matters as an E-commerce or “F-commerce” channel… Think about how most of those 2.6m minutes each day are spent: Facebook will sit open in a tabbed browser, toward the back, with the user occasionally bringing it up to see what their mates just did or what they plan to do for lunch etc. Then think about mobile, according to that same Mashable article almost 40% of Facebook user time is now on smartphones, that is sure to rise, and Facebook mobile / Facebook apps do not have inbuilt adverts for your fans or target market to see and they cannot view those lovely iframed tabs your agency build for you on a smartphone! Bugger.

I like Facebook because I use it to connect with my friends, some people use it to connect with brands they’re passionate about, others like brands to get cheap stuff, free stuff, exclusive stuff (more on that in another post). Yes, some of these people are core consumers, they are often more likely to buy your stuff than random “man on the street” but your main goal should to be to enable and encourage this audience to become full on advocates creating buzz and recommendations for your products (the above Heinz and Pampers campaigns achieve that goal) through clever and targeted uses of F-commerce tools.

So the facebook myth is this: “We have to be looking at F-commerce selling stuff on Facebook because all our consumers are spending more and more time there so we have to come to them” – that’s rubbish. People use Facebook in a different way, see the wood from the trees, this all comes back to leveraging the loyalty and passion of genuine fans not building more storefronts.

I remember when I used to work at GAP when I was a teenager, we had friends and family days: We all got 30 tokens to give to our friends and it entitled them to 30% off at GAP over a given weekend… What about friends of fans days? – Same idea, different medium. – People who are passionate about a brand will want to share it, “introduce a friend schemes” have been around for years, isn’t facebook the most natural medium to supercharge this?

Some really simple thoughts but the message is: Don’t think about where to stick a storefront, think about how to empower your fans to sell your product for you, think about loyalty rewards, friends of fans discounts etc. – That, to me, is the future of “F-commerce”.


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