The Mountaintop Insights, Inspiration and Perspective for Enlightened Marketers

October 6, 2010

A Sensei Perspective on Facebook

A rather smart chap I recently met by the name of Tommy ( @tommyismyname ) asked me for my opinion on a recent blog post of his regarding whether you love or hate facebook. This does require a name and email to download his FB report so be forewarned, but it is worth the read as Tommy is a very sharp knife in a drawer full of dull cutlery!

So do I hate or love Facebook? Neither answer works for me really. For what originally started out as a way to meet chicks for a couple horny college kids, its a smashing success. Whatever you believe, you absolutely have to respect what Facebook is – A Social Media Leviathan.

Personally I don’t use it, but I’m fascinated by its current power and future potential.


Well, contrary to many other social platforms, Facebook has found one of the keys to success in B2C relationships – create an addictive positive experience. The constant flow of human drama from friends and friends of friends is reality TV served up in ADD fashion about your favorite people, your friends. It has taken gossip to a whole new level.  Add to this social games like Farmville and its ilk with the ability to compete and work with your friends delivers you addictive content of the highest order.

Think about it, last I knew back in March, Farmville had 82 million users a month on average planting crops and raising herds on Facebook… That is astounding in my opinion. If marketers and companies are looking for the future of social, Farmville and Facebook are harbingers of what’s to come for interactive social media. Its a fascinating mix of social influence, social obligation, personal accomplishment, competition and addiction.


The biggest question in my mind is how its going to work for big business. They are struggling to understand how it applies to business. For consumers, its a runaway hit. But business, well, I have yet to recommend to a client “make a Facebook page” primarily because I still see no tangible value to B2B enterprises. The issue for B2B adoption is the simple fact that Facebook was designed for personal use, not for business. That’s the conundrum.

If you re-invent or transform the current, you risk losing your core audience – consumers; the ones that bring them to the dance. So the B2B play has to be separate and focused on business. is it worth it? If done right, it could be a killer. If done poorly, its a tremendous loss of reputation and potential opportunity.

B2C on the other hand, has more of a fighting chance on Facebook due to their relevancy to the consumers life. But do consumers want brands on Facebook? Maybe they do or maybe they find the presence intrusive.

How do Consumers Perceive Business on Facebook?

Human behavior is such that we fiercely protect our “safe zone”- our homes, our close friends, and our online sanctuaries. We resent companies and individuals who try to force their way in without being invited. Its our turf and we defend it right? Maybe that’s the key to the future? Allowing consumers to invite brands into their inner circle to participate, even just listen. That’s powerful engagement!

Whatever the rationale you have for loving or hating Facebook (or any feeling in between) you have to respect it for what its done to advance customer relations and bring balance to how companies and consumers relate to each other.

Tell Us How You Really Feel Jeff!

Fine, I’ll stop avoiding the question and admit it. Fear might be a good description to describe how I personally feel about Facebook.

Fear for what could happen if they abuse their power or go too far in the wrong direction. The consequences could be devastating to the entire Social movement not mention the hundreds of millions of people and businesses involved. In many ways, the future of Consumer Social Media is riding on them.

Fear of monopoly is another type of fear I have. They are clearly the market leader by miles, perhaps not by growth now, but adoption in emerging markets like India, Brazil, and Mexico is just starting spurred by big improvements in 3G wireless technology and reliable mobile devices. And with a country like India having the lowest mobile web usage for females in the world, you know the real growth is just around the corner. For a monster like Facebook, they could conceivably reach a billion users in the not too distant future.

Just as an aside, were I an executive at Facebook, I’d be looking to Indian wireless companies for big partnerships to reach that female demographic as the social network of choice – the enabler of their social voice in a rapidly changing Indian socio-political environment. I might even consider buying a wireless company to serve that demographic. Just a thought though.

I mean in 4-5 short years, Facebook has surpassed most Fortune 1000 companies for reach to consumers, a task that took these traditional companies decades and billions of dollars to achieve. How many companies can say they have that many customers? The kicker is that Facebook doesn’t need to market itself, its customers do all of that for them accounting for the most magnificent viral marketing campaign in human history.

So where are they going?

I don’t think even they know, but their customers do and as long as they listen to them, keep responding to their needs and most importantly, don’t sell them out, Facebook will be king of the hill for a long time. Check out these March 2010 stats on their growth past the big search portals and shift of ad spending to Facebook.

If they can keep themselves at the center of the consumers life, as the enabler for their social interactions with friends and family, then their empire will last a long, long time. Which quite frankly excites me!

So how do I really feel? Fear and Excitement. Just like getting ready for a big date with the prettiest girl in school and hoping she isn’t going to punk me in front of all the cool kids.

Thanks for making me think Tommy and i hope I did your post justice!


Jeff – Sensei

October 2, 2010

Fall Editorial Schedule for The MountainTop

Filed under: Editorial Schedule,General,Overview — Jeff @ 1:59 pm

For those that know me, I have been going through some personal challenges for the past 2 months and as such, my blogging and core business has suffered. My mother suffers from severe Bi-Polar illness with an alcohol addiction and I have been helping her get back on her feet after leaving her husband of 20 years. Its been very trying but I made the choice to set aside my professional career consciously – knowing full well it could affect my business negatively and it did.

Why am I opening up with something obviously very personal for a blog editorial schedule? Well, its because I’ve learned so much in that time about myself, about my mother and about nature that my perspective on business, marketing and the world has changed a bit; hopefully for the better.

Now that my mother is almost into her own place, I can begin to gain my old stride, deliver more provocative thinking and share the thinking of others with you.

The Fall schedule will focus on 3 main topics:

  1. Natural Selection in Social Media Environments. A further exploration of how the laws of Natural Selection not only apply to Social Media environments, but how we can identify and harness these laws to our advantage.
  2. Online Demand Generation. Discussing advanced techniques for Enterprise companies to improve awareness, social engagement, lead quality and revenue from the online channels.
  3. Spotlights. This is something I have been thinking about for awhile now and I believe its time. So many Enterprise companies are looking for insight past the “How to use Twitter and Facebook” so I am going to really dig into enterprise level issues as well as looking at some low hanging fruit in relation to:
    1. Off the radar social communities worth investing in.
    2. Social targeting: customer and generational segmentation in social marketing
    3. B2B customer behavior and psychology
    4. Enterprise social marketing issues such as managing multiple global brands, social sales, mobile convergence, etc…
    5. Interviews with prominent, thought-provoking B2B and B2C marketing leaders to tap their genius on all of the above and more.

Guest Bloggers and “left of center” Research

I will be inviting some colleagues to blog at The Mountain Top; all Sensei’s in their own rights. One interesting collaboration coming up will explore the Nature of Social Influence to the next level with my good friend Stephane Poirier @ExoPoirier . It should be a great post as Stephane applies some advanced thinking on Chaos and Complexity Theory to the social equation.

Lastly, I am going to bring in some enlightening and sometimes absurd research from other industries and disciplines to try create some new perspective for Enterprise marketers. The whole point is to be able to strengthen your understanding of people and communication channels by looking at what other people are doing and being able to take that learning and apply it for your customers.

Let me know what you want and I’ll find a way to get it for you

Most importantly, if you have ideas or questions you would like me to tackle and blog on, just let me know here by comment or by email jeff(at)senseintegrated(dot)com or on Twitter @jeffthesensei. I can’t promise answers, but what I can promise is a great intellectual and spiritual journey with you to find the answers.

Cheers and thanks for reading. I hope to continue earning that trust into the fall and beyond.

Jeff – Sensei

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