The Facebook Era Has a Strong Business Angle

Social networks not only give companies broader access to new customers, they do it at unprecedented lower costs, according to Clara Shih, author of “The Facebook Era.” In a speech here Wednesday at the Web 2.0 Expo, Shih explained that she refers to the Facebook Era because the company dominates the social networking market with more than 400 million users.

“People spend over 20 billion minutes a day on Facebook — you have to be there,” Shih said. But it’s the broader social network movement, including Twitter, LinkedIn and a growing number of social networks in other countries that represent “a cultural movement” and a “new psychology,” she added.

Before Facebook, companies would have a hard — or at least expensive — time tailoring their marketing to the best projects. But Shih said Facebook profiles are a marketer’s dream because users reveal so much about their interests, such as favorite sports, hobbies and product preferences.

“When we moved from in-person meetings, to phone calls to Facebook, each time the cost of that communication goes down and our network grows,” she said. More