As a guy who pretty much launched his new business and brand on facebook and a discussion forum(www.ffcars.com) I am in a position to relay my learnings from the experience and it boils down to a simple change in our society...Facebook.
I am watching the transformation as you all are of how we keep in touch and it is facebook. I am watching how we learn about brands and new products...and it is facebook. I have created a niche in the car world and reached out to that specific group of guys and I did it on facebook. I watch my kids and their friends swap pictures and their everyday lives and it is facebook that enables it.
O.K. for me it wasn't all facebook...the forum had something to do with the launch of the brand, but even the forum guys are on my facebook page now since I just don't have time to log on to every discussion group that mentions the new Smyth car. I am forced to talk in one area and that area is facebook. I am forced to reach out to my prospects in the kit car world and that reach is done using facebook. I have over 10,000 fans and the effort was basically a thousand bucks and a series of interesting updates on the facebook Smyth Performance page. www.facebook.com/smythperformance
If I am not proof that the world of business has changed I don't know who is. The brand is out there now, the discussions are taking place as the customers decide if I am worthy, and I didn't use much in the way of magazines or traditional media. When the old school news ran a story about the effort such as when the Boston Globe's Scott Kirsner ran a piece last year, it was the blog traffic that was reposted on all the auto sites that generated the interest..not the globe. The same thing has happened with every news piece that Smyth Performance has been mentioned in. What an interesting shift. On one hand the traditional Sunday newspaper was spread around the world in a week using the miracle of "social media", while locally the story died the same week. The daily papers need to get paid for there investigative reporting that builds these stories and the raw material that the web is taking for free as a link. These reposts are great for the subject(in this case Smyth performance) but don't really benefit the originators of the content. There will be some interesting movement in the news field is my guess just as there was in the music business.
So if you are a laggard and not joining facebook out of some fear of privacy being invaded you are spot on...but you are coming into the world of facebook eventually just like you did when cell phones came out....you bought into a service plan from a wireless carrier even though you swore you wouldn't. The benefit of knowing what people/companies/friends are up to in one 5 minute sit down session on facebook is just too powerful to ignore. So welcome to the present. It will never be the same. So far I like it. So far it is allowing me more time with loved ones. So far it has made my work day more efficient. So far. I will let you know if that changes.
I will talk to you later....on facebook.