Is Facebook Still Likeable?

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Marketing podcast with Dave Kerpen (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

The title to today’s post is a thought that’s making the rounds these days as Google announced that their new social network, Google Plus, added 10 million users in the first two weeks of limited beta launch.

A great deal of the conversation is decidedly skewed as much of the buzz is coming from hard core social media users and those predisposed to move away from Facebook, but nonetheless, this is a valid question.

I asked my Facebook followers if Google Plus had impacted their time on Facebook and over 50% claimed they were not yet Google Plus users. At the root of the question, however, is the issue of time. No matter what happens we only have so much budget for business building activities such as social networking and something is going to have to give. It’s like a family budget, if you buy a new car you might not go on vacation – it doesn’t mean the auto industry has targeted the travel industry, but they’ve impacted them anyway.

I think the same is true as people consider their available social time budget – something’s gotta give – it’s yet to be seen clearly what that something is, but it may not be as obvious as another social network such at Facebook.

For some perspective I turned to a guy that’s still very bullish on Facebook. Dave Kerpen, author of LikeableHow to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks) .

In this interview, Kerpen addresses the obvious success of Google Plus, but is quick to point out that Facebook’s place is still firmly rooted in the hundreds of millions of users that spend hours on the network every day. Kerpen’s take is that people don’t want to create yet another network on another social platform.

Kerpen also points to the killer targeting aspects of Facebook’s platform as reason enough to still engage and use the network. Kerpen emphatically states, “You know what’s cooler than 750 million people on Facebook? Being able to target the 750 that are your perfect prospects.” He goes on to tell a story about how he targeted a birthday wish ad that only his wife could see.

My take is that we have some interesting times ahead and we may very likely see a shift in audiences coming.

So, what’s your take?

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dave kerpen, Likeable

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  1. Facebook’s numbers started showing signs of an impending decline last year as they had their first ever back-to-back months of declining active users.  This has played out before.  A social network dominates the market and then another one comes along and answers the criticisms of the dominant player.  MySpace did it to Friendster and Facebook did it to MySpace.  Yes, Facebook is a lot bigger than MySpace now but MySpace grew to be a lot bigger than Friendster too…it’s a natural evolution as media habits move to online.  The argument that Facebook can’t lose because they’re so big is not strong.  Yes, that will buy Facebook a lot of time, like it did MySpace (still a top 50 Web property), but users can shift faster than they ever did before.  Google exploited Facebook’s privacy problems and I think that’s appealing to very large swath of the Facebook audience.  Early adopters and tech people aside, there is a lot going for G+ for general SN users.  G+ still has a little ways to go in managing large volumes of content but I bet they will figure it out.  Facebook won’t go extinct in a year or anything but my money is on “Facebook me” becoming a popular tech joke in five years and the noticeable declines in Facebook will be widely reported by the end of the year. 

    1. Peeta, I would agree that any decline in Facebook will take a long period of time. 

      Do you or anyone else see G+ doing something that will turn people off and cause it’s demise? 

  2. I believe that nobody will be a powerhouse forever because users like change and new products.  I believe Google+ is bringing in more of a user interactive rating system which will eventually takeover the Facebook Like.

    Atlanta Web Design

    1. I wonder if it’s an American thing because we’re so into having choices–and having choices gives you a sense of power.  In China, QQ is the big thing, and it’s pretty much the only thing.  There are I very few people from China on FB.  Even though QQ started out just as IM, it does all this other stuff now: shopping, games, videochat, photo-sharing.  My feeling is that it’s almost impossible to break QQ’s reign, because if users want something, QQ programmers will just build it in.  And since practically all of China is on it,  there is no reason to ever leave.

  3. There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook vs. G+;, the “Facebook Killer”. I see them as completely different things. In what I think is a strategically great product, G+ is a brilliant mix between Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Taking the best from each of them(instant access to live information; staying in touch with friends; networking options) and reducing the worst quality of all (overwhelming amounts of useless information). G+ will take a bite from each of the big players, but Facebook is still likeable…

  4. I don’t really love G+ – it’s interesting, but I have already built multiple solid social networks, and I really don’t want to put the time into building out another one (especially if it ends up the same way google buzz did!). I will definitely still play with it and get to know it better, but as of yet, not that impressed

    1. Kristen, I think that’s a big reason why many people aren’t jumping head on to G+. You’re right, if you have a solid network on FB, why jump to a platform that doesn’t really promote group sharing (i.e. circles is really just one way sharing).

  5. For most of the population, Facebook fits their current social needs right now. G+ offers a different experience. People will test it and then see if it’s worth sticking around. How many people signed up for Twitter, tweeted once and then left? They didn’t get it, didn’t see the value in building another network, and left.

    Facebook needs to revitalize their relationship with their users. There are a lot of people rooting against them. If Facebook can show that they’ve learned from G+, then they will position themselves to be around for a very long time.

  6. I just wrote a article that advised people not to overly depend on face book for your only avenue of marketing yet 80% of the people on there don’t have enough traffic to build their own list or sell anything from their web site.

    The problem is Face book is putting more and restrictions. If you go to do a event you are no longer allowed to invite all your friends. At about 60% they say with a pop up message that you are not choosing people who are interested slow down. Then the next time you try to invite anymore that is it you are locked out of that option. Face books solution is go to this customer service center that then threatens you with law message asking if someone put me up to this. Really?

    Since when is inviting all your friends to a party against the law?  I think face book is letting their popularity get to them.  They need some serious competition maybe they would be nicer.  With that said who knows if they will ever take off the 5,000 friend restriction.

  7. Yes, still is. I think it’ll take forever for us to dislike it. I mean, over the past years, people are more enjoying facebook. The admin is so genius. Though, there are some features that we hate, still I don’t find facebook unlikable.

  8. Google plus is now in its starting phase. Still lots of users are started using it. It looks great with its easy features. Facebook has its own fan following and crores of people are still prefering it.

  9. I’m still skeptical that Google+ will be a Facebook “killer”.  The majority of people seem content with Facebook and don’t have reason to make the switch.  As you mentioned, time is a factor too.  There is only so much time in the day to dedicate to social media…

    1. Google is making very serious inroads already in the FB business user population – I’ve seen signs that those folks are moving in droves – now, many people that use FB for family and sharing will never see the need to move – but G+ is a real problem for FB’s money making aspirations as business folks are the ones the buy the ads. Big consumer brands will stay put, but B2B is moving on.

  10. Nano-targeting using Facebook: I am an office manager for an optometry practice.  So, our patients & employees come from a fairly small area around our practice locations.  I recently had an opening for a new employee.  After listening to this podcast, I decided to try to target people with the right skill set near our office.  The ad ran for about 10 days, reached about 450 people within 25 miles of our offices, with the right skills, and only cost me $33.04.  I’ve now successfully hired my first employee using Facebook ads!  Thanks for the tip!

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