Learning from this year’s most anticipated IPO.
Regardless of whether you follow the stock market, online marketing trends, or none of the above, you’re probably already aware that shares of Facebook became available to the public recently. While the news generated lots of media interest, reactions from Wall Street and beyond regarding the investment potential of the world’s largest social network were mixed.
Even if you don’t have an interest in owning Facebook stock, there are some lessons to be learned about the future of online marketing from the hype and bust:
1. Social media is big business.
This isn’t really a new idea, but it’s one that’s worth noting. The Facebook IPO has reinforced the fact that social networking is an industry that’s worth billions of dollars per year. Why does that matter? Because, like search engines and e-mail, social media has become part of our daily technology landscape, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. If your company doesn’t have a social media strategy, then it doesn’t matter how large or small you are – you’re missing out on a big marketing opportunity.
2. You should never put all your eggs in one online marketing basket.
Despite the fact Facebook has more than 900 million users, and currently occupies the number one position in social media, investors weren’t overwhelmingly positive about Facebook’s long-term prospects. It’s easy to think that companies like Facebook, Twitter, and especially Google will always be around, always be profitable and deserve most of our attention. The lackluster results of the Facebook IPO was a reminder that things can change quickly. Even though most of your attention should go towards the market leaders, keep looking for new opportunities to invest your time and marketing budget more efficiently.
3. Branding and likability matter more than people think.
In the background of the media coverage about Facebook’s IPO were stories negatively portraying its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. While these likely didn’t have much effect on Facebook as an investment, it is worth noting that, for better or worse, many people can’t separate their feelings about the company from their opinions about its most famous employee. The same is likely true of your business, especially on social media sites like Facebook. The more people like and respect you, the more they’ll be willing to cut you a little slack. Just remember that it works both ways and try to stay on the right side of public opinion.
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