Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of years you know that social media and especially Facebook have become super hot items. Much like the perfect storm, Facebook began just about the time that smart phones became popular and suddenly, people could upload photos and videos right from their phone, see where their friends are and what they are doing 24/7, etc. With such incredible growth, huge popularity and user base, businesses are scrambling to figure out how to use it for marketing purposes.
I receive trade magazines from several different business segments and every one of them have been encouraging their members to integrate social media into their marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, the businesses that can benefit most from social media are the ones that are so called ‘boring businesses’ and don’t provide enough visual interest or social buzz to enable friends to share with others.
Let’s begin by looking at social media and why it is such a powerful platform. All of the platforms work on somewhat the same principle, but we’ll look specifically at Facebook since it has the largest user base.
Time For Some Mathematics
When a user joins Facebook they actually start a personal profile. This profile includes their photo, information about themselves, videos they may upload that they find interesting, photo albums of their friends or family, etc. This profile also includes what is called a ‘Wall’. This wall can be thought of as kind of a personal news feed. Individuals can update their own news feed (talk about their day, somewhere they’ve visited, post a photo they took, etc.). All their ‘friends’ will then see everything in this news feed. They can also write something, post a photo, video or web link on their friend’s wall which that persons ‘friends’ then also see. Let’s assume each of these people have 500 friends. Every time either of them posts something on each other’s wall, both sets of friends will see it (thus 1000 people).
Now let’s take it to the next level. Facebook allows people to ‘tag’ themselves or their friends in photos (basically assign a name to the face in the photo). So, let’s say that I upload a photo of 10 of my friends and ‘tag’ each of them. For simple math sake we’ll say that everyone has 500 friends. Instantly, my photo is in front of 5000 people. Wall posts, photos, videos, web links, etc. can also be ‘liked’, commented on or shared. Because my photo is incredibly funny, besides the 10 people that I tagged in it, 90 other people (those friends of friends) who saw it either made a comment about it, shared it or ‘liked’ it. Now, I’m in front of 50,000 people. Of course, there are going to be a number of those people who are ‘cross pollinated’ so to speak or have the same groups of friends but even given that fact I can reasonably get in front of 10-20,000 people fairly easily.