Facebook IPO puts social networking site on track for huge stock market debut; Craig Newmark, Joseph Jaffe, Elisa Camahort Page and Edward Boches on social media’s value
Some say that friends are priceless … but in the land of Facebook, they could be worth billions of dollars. Facebook is expected to go public Friday and begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market – a nice birthday president for CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who turns 28 today. Although there are some reports Facebook’s IPO could be delayed and other reports about skepticism from investors, the social media company for sure is on the fast-track to being traded under the ticker symbol “FB.”
Facebook filed papers for its much-anticipated initial public offering in February, seeking to raise $5 billion in an IPO that could place the social network’s value as high as $75 billion to $100 billion – likely the largest IPO by a web company.
But what do you get for almost $100 billion as one of Facebook’s 800 million users? What’s the real value in social media? We reached out to some of our experts for their opinion and advice….
“Facebook gives everyone a voice, and gives everyone a chance for their voice to be heard by hundreds of millions,” Craig Newmark, founder of CraigsList and CraigConnects.org, told genConnect. “That’s a big way people can work together for the common good.”
Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of award-winning BlogHer and a pioneer in the social media space, noted that according to BlogHer research around women and their social media usage and behaviors, Facebook is overwhelmingly valued for one thing: Keeping in touch with our friends and family.
“It has allowed us to feel a part of our extended family and circles of friends’ day to day lives in a way we never could before,” she said. “This strengthening of personal relationships is what drives our Facebook usage and buoys our positive attitudes towards technology in general. A secondary motivation to use Facebook is all about fun … mostly via playing games.”
But Facebook has also revolutionized the way in which companies converse with consumers, and has changed the way in which brands interact with their buyers.
“In commerce, Facebook reminds that platform providers need to get out of the way, enabling direct communications between companies and their customers,” Newmark said.
Joseph Jaffe, a marketing, new media and social media consultant and founder and partner of Evol8tion, LLC, an agency that matches early stage startups with established brands, noted, however, that Facebook’s IPO and its effect on brands “is a Catch-22,” especially when you look at headlines such as “P&G To Lay Off 1,600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On Facebook.”
“The real lesson here is that ‘marketing is a commitment, not a campaign’; the ability to build ‘slow burn’ community hubs, invest in community management and content strategy and ultimately engage in ‘Join the Conversation’ pays off … especially when it hits critical mass,” Jaffe said. “That’s not a paid media solution. It’s not even earned media. Or owned media. Or perhaps it’s all 3 PLUS what I call ‘non-media’ – i.e. humans interacting with other humans. It’s a good thing!”
Edward Boches, Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen, noted that Facebook is making money in advertising and apps. “And given that it’s on its way to 1 billion users, it has enough eyeballs to offer a ‘promising’ future, which is what people are investing in more than anything.”
Facebook hopes to raise as much as $10 billion when it begins selling shares. A valuation of roughly $100 billion would rank the company just below McDonald’s, which is currently 25th, at $101.5 billion.
We all know Facebook is great, and it has been doing well for itself financially, particularly with an influx of advertising cash. In 2011, the company’s net income rose 65 percent to $1 billion, while revenue rose 88 percent to $3.7 billion.
Facebook is not only taking the stock market by storm, but company executives are flying all over the country to bring more attention to global issues and health causes important to them, as well as, of course, the message that Facebook can help further global causes and brands.
Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year as a co-chair of the World Economic Forum, while the company’s Vice President of Global Marketing, Carolyn Everson, cycled for health as she led Facebook’s cycling team in the country-wide Cycle for Survival fundraising event to raise cash for rare cancer research.
Perhaps, therein lies the real value in social media: Connecting people, their values and their wisdom to make a difference. Facebook’s difference could be massive and priceless if implemented with good intention.
See our complete interviews with Craig Newmark, Joseph Jaffe, Elisa Camahort Page and Edward Boches here.
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