Facebook continues making moves in the corporate direction

6 04 2010

Integration between large corporations and social media is continuing to increase, and it’s hard to imagine how everyone is keeping up. In light of new Facebook protocols and some insightful predictions from Mashable and the Wall Street Journal, it appears as if Facebook will be upping the integration ante once more.

Last Friday, Facebook debuted another controversial Site Governance law concerning privacy, which sparked some interesting conversations about third-party websites having access to the personal information of consenting users. Under the new offer, Facebook proposes to provide personal data to “pre-approved third-party websites and applications” unless a user chooses to opt out of that feature in their privacy settings.

Furthermore, Facebook may soon encourage users to “Like” brands. According to Peter Kafka of MediaMemo, people click “Like” twice as often they click “Become a Fan.” This is a problem for corporations trying to reach out to audiences through the Facebook platform. Most public relations strategies involving Facebook hinge on that one button click to “Become a Fan.” If users don’t engage this way, then companies cannot reach out through updates and campaigns because these targeted messages only go out to fans.

Will these minor governance modifications be the catalyst that will finally bring brands into the coveted social lives of Facebook users? Apple seems to think so. Earlier this week Apple created an application for their App Store. The App Store is now a Facebook fan page and it’s off to a momentous start, attracting over 120,000 fans in its first week. The page mimics the iTunes store to a T; the features tab even has an “App of the Week” and a Top 10 Chart.

Not only can this simple fan page generate major income for Apple, but it is also a great way to track customer feedback.  On the App Store’s wall there are dozens of new apps posted every day and hundreds of comments from Apple customers under each one. On the other hand, because these posts are in the Facebook medium, it is even harder to sift through the junk. Many posts on the page contain profanity and some posts are not even related to the subject. Some users already complain about how difficult it is to sift through the user comments in the digital Apple store, will the introduction of this App fan page just add to the noise? Or will it make purchasing an app a simpler decision?

Many large companies are struggling with this dilemma. Businesses know that decisions about their products are being made on locations on the Internet other than their corporate site, but they don’t know how to effectively harness this knowledge to their advantage. In the future it’s likely that we all can anticipate a greater corporate presence on Facebook and more customer-centric and interactive elements on corporate sites.

By Lianna Catino

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