These days, everyone seems to understand the importance of social media and its premise of “being where your audience is.” Read the trades or go to any conference and everyone’s talking about why it makes sense to not disrupt the conversation happening in social communities to drive people to your brand website but rather to engage them in that environment. So, the question is, “Why aren’t more marketers doing it?”
[Until now,] we didn’t have distributed scale to go where the user is. Before Facebook there was MySpace and some brands did it there. There was Second Life and some [brands] tried it. Then, with YouTube, some built brand channels.
But, [before Facebook reached critical mass,] there were not a ton of options. You could go to AOL and pay them a ton of money and they’d give you a glorified ad deal. Same with Yahoo. With Google, you could buy clicks.
It wasn’t until Facebook [reached the point where it is now,] with something like half a billion people, that we realized we could set up an embassy — a very engaging presence — where people LOVE (not like) to hang out.
About a year ago Facebook opened its pages product and gave an open API to build wherever you wanted via Facebook Connect. Now we can go where the consumers are at scale.
Facebook is the largest 2-way communication vehicle the world has ever seen. With Facebook, you can build dialogue with consumers and not just engage [consumers] but talk [with them]. Brands are doing this in droves [now]. And services and tools [like Buddy Media’s] are needed. Same goes for Twitter. It’s the same phenomenon.
The idea of websites on an island doesn’t work anymore. It still makes sense to have a brand website. For Mini Cooper, people still want to check out specs and not just send virtual gifts. They still want a place to go to see colors, availability, location, etc.
[Social media] creates upper-funnel demand for products and brands. Google gets the credit from the last click but people have to be aware of the product or brand to want to search for it. Google lucked into the best business model in the history of business models. Great technology. Simple UI. But the business model is essentially lots of people raising hands to say, “I want this,” and Google creating a marketplace to advertise [within this environment].
How would you describe Buddy Media?
We help companies market on Facebook and Twitter. We built a platform to make it easy to build, manage, and track your company’s presence [on these properties]. We work with over 200 clients and 45 agencies license our platform.