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Do Brands Feel as Negative About Facebook As Consumers Do?

Facebook received about the worst blow to its brand that any company could sustain - courtesy of the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report. The survey reported that Facebook scored 64 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, putting the site in the bottom 5% of all measured private sector companies - a ranking so low, that even the IRS scored higher, the survey said.

But what about the businesses that use Facebook to promote their products and services? Are they included in these dismal results? No, according to a conversation with Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, which produced the survey in partnership with ACSI - the brands were not surveyed. Ancillary research from the survey, though, yielded more data points of interest to brands, which Freed shared.

Some Good Stats

The survey found that 21% of respondents said that the ads interfered with their experience on the site; 17% said some of the ads were relevant to their interests; and 8% said they have clicked on ads.

The last number in particular is very good in fact, Freed points out. But are all businesses happy with Facebook - the high click through rate, notwithstanding? Martha Ciske with PR/PR doesn't think so. "While many businesses have learned to interact well and have found success on Facebook, others struggle to find their audience, and learn the techniques of social marketing," she tells MarketingVox.

"Facebook has the tools which allow businesses to get their message out, but if not used properly businesses won't find that Facebook is a particularly friendly place. The users these businesses end up approaching end up annoyed and upset at Facebook for "allowing" them to be contacted with the unwanted info."

There are other reasons for brands to be discontented with Facebook.

Facebook privacy and operating polices are not friendly to advertisers and brands. Jeremiah Owyang, a partner at Altimeter Group has taken a close look at Facebook's changes governing its community and brand pages - changes that haven't gotten the same attention as consumer privacy policies. Namely, he points to Facebook's recently launched "Facebook Community Pages" - a feature that aggregates content from wikipedia and Facebook wall posts - in a blog post.  "Think of it as a cross between Wikipedia with user comments - sometimes unwittingly. These changes cause confusion for users, diminishing control for brands, and strains on the already torrid relationship between Facebook and brands."

Facebook's strength - interactivity and a brand that closely associates with the companies that market on it - is becoming a weakness. In short, if Facebook’s reputation were to be seriously tarnished - say, with a comparison to the IRS - companies that market on it will feel the sting as well.

Advertisers and brands might not like what is made public. The company or community page you established in order to have a Facebook presence could be distributed, or misappropriated in ways you did not intend or approve, PC World says.  "The message you targeted for your Facebook community could possibly now be shared elsewhere throughout the Internet."


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