Healthcare Marketing: Do Investors Know Something about Facebook that Marketers Don’t?

The lackluster IPO of Facebook stock may mean that business investors may not be so confident in Facebook’s ability to create a successful business model.

There was all the excitement.  All the hype.  Facebook was going public and it was to be the biggest offering ever on Wall Street.  The darling of social media was going corporate.  And indeed it was the largest IPO ever.  BUT, in the days that followed, the price of the stock has dipped indicating that investors are not too excited about jumping on the bandwagon.

Marketers have been enamored with Facebook and have been frantically trying to entice Facebook users to engage their brand.  Some have been somewhat successful, others not so much.  The cry from marketers is that your brand should be active on Facebook.  It should be using the highly successful social medium to build brand relationships.  But investors are somewhat hesitant to buy into the long-term effectiveness of Facebook’s ability to sustain long-term business and marketing successes.

GM didn’t help the IPO by announcing just a few days before the offering that they were pulling out of Facebook and discontinuing it’s advertising there.  They were unable to measure the effectiveness of their efforts and felt like their marketing dollars would be better used elsewhere.

The IPO made the owners of Facebook extremely wealthy but it has not captured the wild attention of investors and analysts like many thought it would.  And that lack of excitement after the first day should raise questions with marketers.  Sure there is potential for marketers to create relationships in social media.  Sure there will be brands that will be successful doing so.  But a basic question, that has yet to be answered, is whether consumers want to have ongoing conversations with brands.  And if they do, will it lead them to embrace the brand and buy their products and services.  The answer to that question is yet unknown.  And investors have voted with their pocketbooks that they are somewhat skeptical.

This is not to say that hospital marketers should forget about Facebook and not attempt to engage consumers with its brand through social networks.  It is simply to say, the jury is still out about the long-term success of businesses using Facebook, or any social media, to build a stronger brand.  Maybe the lackluster reaction to Facebook’s IPO was due to other issues, like issuing too many shares, not pricing it correctly and technical glitches.   But it does give reason for marketers to ponder.

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