You would have to be living on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to not be aware of the Facebook data collection and privacy issues story that broke last week. The story has dominated the news cycle for several days with Mark Zuckerberg finally agreeing to testify before Congress next month. In the meantime, stories are breaking daily about the duplicity of Google, Microsoft, and others engaged in illicit data mining
If you are a Facebook user, you may or may not care about the information Facebook is collecting from you. But, if you are a marketer, a business owner, or a social media maven, there’s a strong hint of change coming. Can you feel it?
The fallout from this PR nightmare has shaken the stock market and caused Facebook to lose $80 billion in value. But, advertisers aren’t going anywhere. (See US News.com.) With its 2.1 billion users, Facebook is difficult to replace. At least for now.
This scenario reminds me of the roller-coaster ride of the 2008 stock market crash. With investing, there is always risk and reward. 2008 was a reminder of just how volatile the stock market can be. There were winners and there were losers. Knowing when to get in the market and when to get out was anyone’s guessing game.
The same is true for Facebook. We’ve seen the highs. We are experiencing the possibility of coming lows. The one thing we know right now is that change is coming. The road ahead is not going to be a straight line. If you have concerns about the data Facebook is collecting about you, visit www.facebook.com/settings and walk through your individual settings, adjusting them to your own comfort level.
Will people abandon the platform? A few perhaps, but not many. The addictive behavior of smartphones and social media rules the day. Some people will take the time to adjust their privacy settings and limit the data Facebook can collect but will it be enough people to impact advertisers? That remains to be seen.
As marketers, we rely on Facebook’s data to make effective ad buys and organic growth. Our recommendation is that you stay the course. Be attentive to the potential for change that lies ahead, but a knee-jerk reaction isn’t necessary right now. For you, there may be an opportunity as less savvy marketers pull back.
It’s times like this that it pays to hire a professional. We understand the language, follow the data and analytics and have the ability to adapt.
If you are losing confidence in your own ability to manage your company’s social media, let’s talk. Hiring a professional may be less expensive than you think.