Last night, I was mindlessly perusing Facebook. And then… I saw it. Two of my sorority sisters tagged each other in their Facebook statuses. I immediately thought, “That’s it. We’ve created a monster. A Social Media Monster.” Why a monster? It’s not because tagging others is an earth shattering feat. It’s because in addition to being the number one social media network and being cashflow positive, Facebook now includes the same functionality that Twitter was once unique in providing. It has become an immediate and direct competitive threat to the microblogging site.
In addition to tagging people, users are also able to tag events, groups and Facebook Pages. Reading between the lines, this means that Facebook users can comment on your brand (positively or negatively) and tag it!
Of course, this is not a new concept. Twitter users have been able to comment and @mention brands almost since the inception of the site. In fact, recent research claims 20% of tweets mention brands. However, it’s a much bigger deal now that Facebook contains this functionality. First of all, Facebook carries a much bigger network than Twitter. Tagged statuses on Facebook will be more widely read than those on Twitter. And, ever since Twitter unlinked @replies, damage done to brands with negative tweets was somewhat minimalized. Comparatively, all tagged statuses on Facebook will be public to everyone in that user’s network. Currently, there is no aggregated view of all @mentions a person or brand receives on Facebook. But, I bet that update is just around the corner.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. It’s imperative to monitor the conversation surrounding your brand taking place within social media networks. And we’ll also repeat that social media is a wonderful opportunity to engage with users and protect your brand. Ensure that there are brand evangelists (internal and external) spreading your brand’s overarching message. Become a producer of content and actively engage with social media users to be sure that potential job candidates hear your message – from you. Don’t let the only content job candidates find via social media be crafted by former disgruntled employees.
Some believe Facebook’s @mentions could be the end of Twitter. However, I believe true fans will remain loyal to the microblogging site and those that haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet probably weren’t ever going to. Besides, Twitter recently updated its’ Terms of Service to include the usage of ads. Now that there’s a revenue model in the works, I believe Twitter will prove resilient. Tweeps don’t seem to be intimidated either. Facebook hasn’t been a trending topic all day!
Mashable teaches us to tag Twitter users in your Facebook status by using SocialToo app.