$100 Billion and Counting

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

$100 Billion and Counting

Facebook is intending to go public in 2012 and the target valuation is a staggering $100 billion. Whether or not the figure is accurate will be determined over time but there are several things both positive and negative to note. First, Facebook has over 700 million members. That is a very large audience for advertising and information distribution. Second, Mark Zuckerberg and team are generating promising revenue, albeit, the valuation would be sixty times revenue. As for the bad, missing revenue targets while private will be devastating to the stock price once public. And there remains the question of overreach. Look at the post IPO stock performances of Groupon, and LinkedIn. Groupon struck a new low yesterday of $15 per share after a first day close of $26, and LinkedIn is at their new low of $59 down from an opening close of $94. Lastly, the FCC has sentenced Facebook to 20 years of biennial privacy audits for unfair and deceptive business practices. As this occurred yesterday, one can only imagine what services, features and strategies the company will change in response.

However, today I am more interested in how telecommunications companies and professionals are using social media than whether an investment in Facebook might payoff. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the undisputed champions of social media for the telecom service provider community. According to Light Reading’s 2011 Social Networking Survey telecom professionals view these three social media sites as the most useful. A quick summary surmises usage as Facebook for “personal connection”, LinkedIn for “professional networking”, and Twitter for “information sharing”. Broadvox maintains a presence in all three domains and is proud to have over 1000 followers on Twitter. While this activity does not easily translate into revenue, it is very useful to update partners on company personnel changes, product information, breaking news or a great blog. Personally, I am currently exploring how to use LinkedIn to hire sales personnel in Los Angeles and Washington DC as job searches is listed as one of the best uses for the site.

While the IPOs of social media and related sites have not had the success envisioned by their founders and investors, the interest and usage of the “products” continues unabated. I will continue to encourage all of our partners to explore establishing presence on all three of the major social media sites. LinkedIn is perhaps the most important for both a company and professional presence. Next would be Twitter and finally, Facebook. Once you establish a presence, remember to be active and provide interesting and updated information.

Social media sites are essentially cloud applications that are made available to all of us. How a business employs these applications or tools will determine the derived value or measure of success.

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