This is a follow up to my previous post “My First Attempt at Setting Up a Facebook Page” which I wrote a week ago. Since then I’ve been spending some time setting up Facebook fan pages with Facebook adverts to promote them.
It’s like a geeky computer game. You create your little characters, dress them up and send them out into the world to fend for themselves. If you’re an extrovert or an entertainer, curious about people (OK, just plain nosey) it’s hours of fun. You tweak your adverts and see how it affects peoples’ response. Then try to figure out WHY that happened.
My fan pages are:
– The Apprentice UK Fan Club: I set this up just a few hours before Series 7 started. So it’s topical and generates debate. It’s been a slow starter.
– Ethical Startups: this is the one I really care about, the one that is connected to my business. I would like this to be successful, and to really bring value to ethical businesses and individuals. So far it’s completely bombed. Please, if you’re interested in ethical business, go to Facebook and Like this page. I beg you.
– Hello Kitty Fan Club: This one got 1000 Likes in under one hour. It now has 3000 fans, who all seem to be teenager girls and young women. Quite a few of them have Hello Kitty tattoos. They are really active responding to comments, questions etc. This one is a success. I could probably make money out of this one. Argh.
SO: what have I found out? Well … people are really interested in celebrities and inanities. Facebook is a medium at once trivial and profound. People spend inordinate amounts of time on it, with the main aim of wasting time. Being mildly entertained. Being part of it. (Note: ‘Being part of it’ is not trivial, it’s profound.) They connect to family and friends (profound), they also just zap through the millions of channels of light entertainment that make up the online world (trivial) (or is it?).
Facebook may seem trivial, but there are two serious, fundamental and incredibly powerful things going on here:
– Unprecedented opportunities for people to connect on many levels.
– Sheer volume of easily analysable data. Did you know that 23,032 Facebook users in the USA have Environment (or related terms) as an interest? Or that for Hello Kitty, it’s 1.9million? Do you want to know their age, their other interests, their location? It’s all just a few clicks away. Sites such as Google Analytics and Quantcast turn the noise of internet chatter into information. Usable, valuable, free information.
Here’s the recipe:
1. Mashup Facebook with Quantcast, YouTube and Amazon
2. Add a dollop of imagination and a pinch of genuine interest in your fellow human beings
3. Let simmer for 24h.
Hey presto, you get your data back, and you have an endless array of potential business opportunities. Either a brand new stand-alone online business, or promotion for your existing business. I’m not saying it’s easy to make money from this, but it’s out there right now and believe me, some people will make millions from it.
I’m absolutely astounded by the power of the tools we now have at our disposal, which simply didn’t exist 5 years ago. Just imagine what we’ll be able to do – to know – in 5 years time.
On a personal level, the big question for me is: how can I use the power of digital media to solve the big problems of the present, and help make a better future? Can making a business out of social media be more than just promotion of shallow consumption? I don’t want to ‘sell more stuff’. I believe that to define ourselves as consumers is to ignore what we really are – social animals. In our society of abundance, we have come to realise that connection and meaning are a basic need. I would even say that connection and meaning are a key driver towards consumerism – we buy to connect, we buy to define ourselves, we buy to be.
But we’re moving beyond that. I believe we’re moving beyond ownership to experience as the key bearer of meaning and satisfaction. It’s happening extremely fast. It was only a few years ago that “10 things you need to own” (aah, the eighties … mobile phone, BMW, chrome furniture, big watch …) got replaced by “Ten things you need to do before you’re 30” (aah, the noughties … swimming with dolphins, climbing mountains, cycling Cuba for charity, running a marathon …).
I’m really excited to see that the success paradigm for the 2010’s seems to be: Engagement. Will we look back and say, “aah the twenty-tens … social media, social enterprise, slow life, downsizing, online activism, ‘being the change’, legacy …?” I hope so. If it means that our culture becomes one of authenticity, of global connection, of defining ourselves as individuals within a worldwide collective of peers and equals, of concern for future generations, of positive impact – then yes, that would be an amazing thing to have witnessed, to have been a part of.
Now go out and join my fan club and buy some cute Hello Kitty stuff, you shallow fools. Hello Kitty might not be part of the solution, but at least she’s a positive role model. 🙂 =^.^=