It all happens on the Facebook “wall” where 845 million active users make friends, share pictures and videos, and comment on posts. From friends and games to advertising, Facebook has emerged as a brand in social networking. Let us understand Facebook in a brand’s perspective with the help of 4S.
Social networking sites (SNS) solve the problem of connecting to people we already know. Facebook in particular solved the problems like corporate advertisement and gaming on social networking. Users have a wide option of games and applications available on Facebook. The primary problem that this SNS solved was Privacy. It was user’s privilege to allow others to tag him/her in a picture or share the personal information with particular set of people as settings were available for visibility of profile to be public, friends, friends of friends and custom. In other SNS like Orkut, people were able to view others’ profiles, friends, communities, and friends regardless if they were ‘friend’ or not. Facebook solved this problem to a great extent.
Since its inception, Facebook was different from other SNS like LinkedIn (considered to be more professional), MySpace (applications and gaming options were absent), Twitter (you will have more following depending on your popularity), Orkut (failed to meet the integrity and privacy expectations) and the new Google+ (it failed to give a reason to the users to migrate from Facebook as most of the features were already in Facebook). For users, Facebook was an entirely different experience. The tagging system, the ‘Like’, applications and games (Mafia wars and Farmville are among most popular games) addicted the users to Facebook. For corporate and brands, Facebook was different. While the community pages in Orkut could foster negative feelings in users by comments and forums as there was no control over them, the Official Facebook Page became a one-stop of the brands and products to publicize, recommend page, generate direct discussions, and monitor customer feedback and brand reputation.
Facebook is getting bigger and bigger. The biggest year for Facebook was 2010 when the number of active users went up by sixty nine percent to 248 million. In 2011, Facebook generated revenue of $3.71 billion. Over the years Facebook became a global story. Facebook was a venture which had a lot of potential for customization and growth. Facebook actively added new features which attracted more users and hence became a potential house for advertisement. The latest feature ‘Timeline’ displays the profiles activities over a period of time. Facebook also attracts the best talent around the globe and this is a one reason for the constant innovation in Facebook. Now FB plans to go public in 2012 and it is expected to raise $5 billion of funding.
Secure-The Market Share
By the end of the year 2011, FB had a market share of 63.26% in social networking. Facebook has focused on privacy and usability which its other predecessors failed to do. Facebook is simple to understand for every age group person. The ‘Mini Feeds’ which show the activity of other ‘friends’ on the user’s wall like ‘ABC is now friends with XYZ’ is the fuelling feature of Facebook. Such features enable users to expand their network and being active. Such innovation has helped Facebook to secure a double digit growth and secure a stable environment to generate revenues.
Facebook is the new meaning of being ‘Social’, and it has added a new value to the world. Facebook innovated how we connect.
Nikhil Goyal, BITS Pilani