A study by Rosetta, an independent interactive marketing agency, more than half of leading retailers have now taken advantage of Facebook Pages. The study followed 100 leading retailers in the U.S. from April 2008 to September 2008, where Rosetta saw the number of companies with Facebook Fan Pages double. Retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart have turned to Facebook Pages in order to promote their brands across Facebook’s social network.
When Facebook Pages first launched, they almost seemed like a consolation prize for brands that had wanted ways in which to build their presence on Facebook’s network without necessarily advertising or giving into the Facebook Beacon debacle. With MySpace having already become a place where companies and public figures could promote themselves, Facebook needed a similar option for those wanting to market to its users. While Facebook Pages could still stand some major improvements, businesses are finding ways to work around current issues and misgivings with Pages.
So what’s the benefit and why have we seen such a large increase from leading retailers? Rosetta attributes these changes to a widespread recognition of Facebook’s power as a communication tool between retailers and consumers. This may become increasingly apparent as third-party sites like Viewpoints create Facebook apps and enable users to post their reviews and recommendations within Facebook, a network where a product recommendation can go further than it would on an actual consumer-driven review site, thanks to Facebook’s social graph.
Rosetta is also quick to point out the type of communication occurring on Facebook Pages, between retailers and consumers, highlighting the importance of carefully choosing the message that’s being conveyed and finding useful ways in which to engage end users via Facebook. This is of course important for market research as well as brand awareness and maintenance, and as far as communication with end users goes, Facebook itself is pretty careful to deter any overtly spam-like behavior through any of its applications.
What I find to be the most interesting potential use for Facebook Pages, however, is the way in which retailers specifically can use them for converting interest and traffic into sales. While Facebook Pages isn’t quite equipped to do this directly through Facebook, it only reiterates some of the reasons the Facebook Payment Platform may be good business for Facebook and retailers alike. As we’ve seen over the holidays, retailers’ interest in marketing products on Facebook can come in many forms, including virtual goods, tying nicely into the Facebook economy.