RGA staff will be spending a lot more time on Facebook in 2010. Not managing virtual farms or playing competitive games of Farkle, but rather on helping companies make better use of a social media platform that is enjoying massive adoption. People seem to love being able to stay in touch with friends and family without actually talking to them. But can it work for business?
We'll be deploying our own Facebook Page in 2010 to find out what businesses can do to be more effective on Facebook, but I anticipate that one technique that's likely to play well with the site's users will be Facebook applications.
Right now, games like Farmville and Farkle are attracting large audiences, but aside from having something to do with idle time and using the games to provide status updates when they have nothing else to post, there doesn't seem to be a lot of value here. But some applications can add value.
One interesting new development I read about recently was about a Facebook app that helped people do a better job of saving money. SunTrust recently introduced a Daily Budgeting Application for Facebook that we'll be watching closely. I suspect that if it's properly promoted to the bank's customers, it could do the bank some good on the marketing side. I'm not sure how much new business the app will generate on it's own.
Regardless of how successful it is, the SunTrust app is exactly the kind of thinking that's likely to make Facebook work for businesses. I suspect that if the Treasury department launched a Facebook app to let people know if they qualified for a HAMP loan modification, we'd get an idea of what this social media site could really do.