My Facebook Coach House Experiment

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With all the hype about Facebook in the media these days, some people may be inclined to dismiss it as the flavour of the month. That would be a mistake.

I think we, as marketers and consumers, have barely scratched the surface of what Facebook is capable of. Here’s just one example of another Facebook marketing experiment I conducted a few weeks ago.

My friend Jane was trying to rent her beautiful coach house in Toronto’s Cabbagetown district. She placed an ad on Craigslist and sent around an email message to her friends, but she didn’t get too many nibbles.

So I offered to help. Using Facebook’s status line feature (which tells your friends what you are up to), I told my network of Facebook friends, "Bill is looking for someone to rent a friend’s Cabbagetown coach house." I did this for about a week, and I updated the status line several times during the course of the week.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive five different inquiries from friends who were interested in the coach house. That may not sound like a big number, but when you consider the fact I ‘only’ had about 250 Facebook friends at the time, that’s a 2 percent response rate. How many Internet marketing campaigns these days do you know that get a 2 percent response rate? Not to mention the fact the cost was zero.

Now I’m not for one second suggesting you run out and start pitching products and services using your Facebook status line. In fact, I am discouraging that.

What I am suggesting is that you think about the fact that thanks to Facebook, my little experiment found five additional potential coach house renters for my friend that she otherwise would never have known about. In less than a week. For free.

And that, dear reader, is why Facebook’s potential is huge.

P.S. The coach house has now been rented.

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