I want to roll the clock back a few weeks to the announcement of an initiative by Facebook called – Project Titan.
At the time that I saw it and tweeted about it (of course) it really hadn’t hit me just how important this could be to any business. What seemed like a pretty basic message about an upgrade message of their current email system which is rather archaic (you know, the one that makes you delete messages one by one!) to a full POP/IMAP supported email account, which means users will be able to configure it with any e-mail client, including Microsoft Outlook, Entourage and Apple’s Mail applications.
But what does that really mean. Well first that means that Facebook will issue 400 Million email account – which is no small feat. Second those email accounts will be tied to your Facebook profile Vanity URL in my case PaulDunay@facebook.com. Third, Facebook says they will enable this feature for Pages (the business version of your Profile). And fourth those Page email addresses will be tied your you Page Vanity URL such as Avaya@Facebook.com (which by the way they significantly lowered the minimum number of the Fans you need to get a Vanity URL from 1000 down to just 25!)
Facebook made its initial announcement of Project Titan to the market on February 5th and was candidly thought to be a Google Gmail killer. So 3 days later on February 8th Google announced Google Buzz! This is clearly an all out war between Facebook and Google. Facebook quietly surpassed Yahoo last year to become the second largest website (according to Alexa.com) and is slowly closing the gap with Google which is now less than 10 million unique visitors per month!!
The point here for B2C and B2B Marketers is that as Facebook makes their platform rich in interaction and captures more users and hence more conversations about your brand – you will need to be there and engage with their user base. I still get questions from B2B firms asking if they should start a presence in Facebook and the answer is unequivocally YES. Facebook should be your social media hub of everything you have from company news, announcing events, offer tutorials, highlight videos, conduct polls and create community around discussions. But now with this new email feature you can upload your email lists and invite them to truly engage with you on Facebook.
If Facebook can create this type of rich interaction with their Fan Pages and now their email systems – then why would you need an external email vendor? Did I forget to mention all of this is FREE!