Facebook is just getting started.
That may come as a shock to some. It may not seem all that illuminating to others. It's getting easier to hop on the hype wagon these days. Just yesterday, the stock price passed its IPO debacle. But that's not the reason you should reconsider what Facebook can do. It's also not enough to simply acknowledge it as such a massive online social network. In the past few years, Facebook has made some significant moves that have placed it on a course for a more expansive offering. Some of these offerings have worked extremely well, while others have failed, but commutatively, you can chart a course for this company and see that it is - by no means - a one trick pony.
The big new thing about Facebook.
While everyone was paying attention to the stock price yesterday, Facebook also announced something called "embeddable posts" (more on that here: Mashable - Facebook Introduces Embeddable Posts). Soon, readers of blogs and content publishers will be able to take their content, grab a small line of code and post these news items outside of Facebook's walled garden (on blogs, websites and more). Much in the same way that you can embed a YouTube video on any website, soon users will be able to embed Facebook posts (that are made public). Users simply copy and paste this little snippet of code and place it on blog entries or anything built with HTML. Currently, this feature is being tested with companies like Mashable, CNN, The Huffington Post and others. This functionality of pushing Facebook features beyond Facebook is similar to what they already offer in allowing external blogs and websites to use the Facebook commenting engine.
Why this is a big deal.
This move helps put Facebook content (much of which is driven by photography and videos) all over the Web. It allows Facebook to track trends and what is being shared in new and dynamic ways but, ultimately, the easier Facebook makes the content that is being produced on the channel as shareable and findable as possible, the harder it becomes for Facebook users to not use and increase their usage of this service. From a marketing perspective, it also allows brands to make their Facebook content more shareable and findable in a world where the half-life of posts to the newsfeed is near real-time. If you couple this with Facebook's recent acceptance and integration of hashtags (more on that here: Inside Facebook - Examining Facebook's hashtags), you can better understand how all of this personal and brand-related content that we share is now going to have some kind of alignment back to Facebook. Yes, a world where Facebook is everywhere (much like the broader moves we've seen Google make in the past decade, as it transitions from a search engine into something much bigger).
It's not just about hashtags and embeddable posts.
Facebook begun the tearing down of the walled garden a while back. Back in 2010, Facebook began the process of allowing users to "like" just about anything (more on that here: The New Face Of Facebook), so being able to now embed Facebook posts and Facebook comments anywhere and everywhere is a natural, smart and strategic move. Furthermore, we have yet to see Facebook truly deliver on the potential of integrating a true commerce and marketplace platform that could exist both within and beyond the Facebook experience. Yes, Facebook as an engine of currency and commerce is not that dramatic of a thought (more on that here: F-Commerce - Rise Of The Facebook Consumer). While Bitcoin and other virtual currencies continue to build buzz and intrigue, Facebook is well-positioned to develop and grow a truly global currency.
One more thing.
Mobile is everything. In my second business book, CTRL ALT Delete, I call it the one screen world. There was a brief moment in time, when Facebook's future looked questionable. It had been developed on a Web and browser-based platform and as mobile, smartphones and tablets grew at exponential paces, it seemed like Facebook wasn't keeping speed. What we learned from this past week's surge in stock price is that Facebook now has bullish results on mobile advertising, but that's not even half of the story. In a world of disruption and speed, Facebook switched to a mobile-first strategy in about six months and has not looked back. So, if you couple all of these components together (embeddable posts, hashtag marketing, the like button extended outside of Facebook, Facebook as a potential currency and their speed to adapt to mobile and capitalize on it), it looks like Facebook continues to chart a very important course in how we all connect - wherever that may be.
Regardless of how you feel about Facebook, these realities can't be ignored by brands today.