There is a war happening online that is invisible to you unless you go looking for it.
The war is over your eyeballs, your time online, your wallet.
The two primary competitors in this war I’m speaking about are: Google and FaceBook. Each is focused on different things, but ultimately want the same prize – your cash in their pockets.
Google is the search engine Big Dog. No doubt about that. Especially when you add YouTube to the mix – a Google owned property, that is the 2nd most used search engine – beating Yahoo and MSN Live.
FaceBook has more than 200 million members and is growing all the time as people across the world join in.
It shouldn’t surprise you that the membership model FaceBook has – even if free to join, is very powerful. It’s powerful because it’s a group. It’s a group that facilitates sharing information within the group and controlling how much the group can interact outside the group.
Would you rather search FaceBook and find what real people that you know are saying about some new electronic device you might buy or try Google and see information posted from anyone (sometimes anonymously) with an opinion? FaceBook is betting that you’re going to want to get information from friends first, strangers later.
I have to think they’re right. Search your friend’s name in Google and you’ll get a lot of outdated info – some current. Search your friend on FaceBook (and have them approve you as a friend and share their info with you) – and you’ll see a lot more relevant information about that friend including jobs they’ve had, have, hobbies, things they enjoy doing – recent photos and videos and more.
Google is good for finding information about anything. FaceBook is good for finding in-depth information from friends, family, and friends of friends.
When you purchase something – do you want to hear friends’ advice or strangers? Myself – I’d rather hear what friends have to say if they’re knowledgeable about the subject. Most times they aren’t. That’s the problem for me. I use Google a lot to try to get as many different perspectives on something I’m considering buying as I can.
I think most people don’t put the kind of research into buying something that I do. I don’t buy on impulse. I don’t buy based on emotion. Though I might like the idea of an iPhone I haven’t bought one because I already have a solution that fits what I need in a phone, but even better.
I think most people DO buy at least partly, based on emotion. Hearing a friend recommend something is all most people need as justification.
For “things” – products, something tangible that someone is considering buying I think most people might search using Google and then ask friends what products they use or recommend. Then they’d buy at a local store if they know of one that sells the product, or as a second choice – online.
What about for services? If you need someone to build you a website for instance. Would you go to your friends that have websites and ask them who created it and how much it cost? Sure you would. If a friend, or two friends recommended the same solution to you – would you be inclined to use it?
Definitely you would.
Now, if you search on Google for services you’ll find tens of millions of web developers. How do you choose? Go with whatever company Google ranks on the first page or two?
Most people do that. What does Google know of these people? Nothing. They trust the websites that make it to top 10 or 20 in the search engine results pages. That’s all. No recommendation. No past experience. Maybe not even real information at all. There are sites that are totally bogus that pop up in the top 10 results constantly. Can you trust Google to find you a place to spend your money for web development?
I think not. I would hope not.
Problem is, you might not know anyone that provides the service you need. Your friends might not know either – what then?
You could search Google to find some blogs that connect you more personally with a person that does web development. You could read some articles they have about it. You could see if there are any negative posts about them – also by searching Google. Eventually you’d come to a point where you trust what someone is saying about the service you need – and purchase from them.
So, which is more important – Google or FaceBook?
In my ideal world I’d know someone that was expert or high level at everything I need. I’d know people that could find me the best health insurance for the best price. I’d know someone that could fix my car or motorcycle for a fair price. I’d know someone that could bring me 100,000 new people to my website which I try to turn into customers. I’d know someone that could find me 40 coconuts a week and drop them off at my house.
Where would I most easily find these people? FaceBook. Google is great for finding some information about any subject you can think up. But ultimately I think the sales – the power of the group of friends, acquaintances… experts on so many things is found in FaceBook… (and Twitter!) but, more about Twitter in other posts…
So, which is more important to your business? Do you think people prefer to go with Google or would prefer to use friends they trust giving referrals and recommendations on products and services?
For myself – I have a decent Google presence for this IncAnswers blog and for my other personal development site: AimforAwesome.com. Eventually people start to realize I’m not out to sell them something they don’t need. I don’t hype anything. I don’t twist words or sell dreams without the reality.
For me – Google is working… but, I’m an expert at developing my sites for Google. If you aren’t – you’ll need to find someone that can do it. That’s expensive to do it right.
FaceBook is free (so far). It doesn’t cost anything to post a message, a link, or a product you’re selling on your feed.
I’m not currently using FaceBook as a business. I haven’t accepted mass numbers of friends – right now only real friends and a couple friends of friends are in my group. How much more powerful would it be to me for my business… for my income, for web development if I decided to open up the doors? Not sure… still thinking about that one.
Have you opened the doors yet? Are you using FaceBook as a business? Can it be used that way without making your friends feel like you’re trying to sell them something too often?
Interesting questions… and the future is wide open as to which of the two, Google or FaceBook will become the most important site to businesses in the future.
Best of Life!