General Motors has long been a staple of the American automotive industry. Facebook is the latest billion dollar IPO. Why is GM pulling ten million dollars a year in advertising from Facebook?
On the surface, this looks like GM is retreating saving advertising dollars. When you dive into the issue, many wonder if the government run company is staying away from investing in the publically traded company for other reasons. GM states that the risk to advertise is not worth the reward from Facebook, the world’s largest URL.
Currently, there are over 500 million users and business pages on Facebook in North America. Over 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook alone by consumers. In short, more time is spent on Facebook by more people than watching the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals combined.
Maybe the question is not whether or not Facebook is a great advertising medium, but rather how are businesses using Facebook to get your message in front of your consumer. Facebook is a social hub for sharing everything from what one had for breakfast to telling the world how bad their day was at work. People use Facebook as their virtual water cooler that has enough room for the world to stand around without any time limitations. Despite warnings from any reputable career counselor, it is used without thought of any repercussions of who might be offended.
If Facebook goes away, another social media site will take its place. Just ask MySpace about that. Society has changed the way we communicate, and how often we communicate. Whether we are posting our thoughts or reading others; most of us are spending time on a social media hub. Some of us are spending a lot of time (1.4 billion minutes on average per user).
Before we talk about the merits of advertising on Facebook, let’s take a step back and discuss the billboard advertising mentality. You make a purchase to advertise on the side of the road. Many potential buyers travel the highway which hosts your sign. You are advertising, not because you are contributing to the beautification of our roads, but because you feel there are a lot of eyes that will see your message.
Now, let me ask you this. What if a consumer purchased that billboard for you? What if the consumer told everyone on the highway how great you treated them at your dealership? What would you invest to get that type of publicity?
The World Wide Web is your information highway to share your message with the consumer. However, nobody needs you to tell them how great your dealership is. They will not listen to you because your message is the same as every other dealership. “Come see me because I have the best deal around!”
The consumer will listen to their friends and family. You have to figure out how to get their friends and family to talk about you. GM may have been correct in not spending money advertising on Facebook. However, to dismiss Facebook and any other Social Media Site as an advertising medium is a big miss of about 500 million set of eyes.