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Google+ has already made Facebook better

Everyone knows that competition is good.  While that’s obviously true for the consumers of products and services who enjoy lower prices and better quality of service, it’s ultimately true for producers and providers too.

Take Facebook.  Riding high in a near social network monopoly, Facebook has hardly gone out of its way to explain and communicate with users.  Don’t think I’m complaining about this – I’m not.  It’s been running a tight, fast-growing ship, which must be challenge enough without the headache of building a highly responsive communications function.

But, just as you may have read more and more about Sheryl Sandberg in recent months, it seems Facebook is slowly cranking into gear a marketing and communications function that befits its global position.  And we blame competition for this turn for the better.

Trying harder

Today, Facebook has launched Facebook for Business.  On the face of it (no pun intended), this is little more than a web page that will help Facebook sell its wares to small businesses.  It’s not that big a deal.

But the surprising thing is that, for many small businesses, this will be the first time they’ve been explicitly catered to by the social networking giant.  Until now, keeping track of changes to the Facebook platform has been like trying to decypher a coded message.  You have to reverse engineer the way it works, and spot unannounced changes by listening to people moaning about them on Twitter.  In converse to this experience, from today, it seems small businesses are starting to feel the Facebook love.

There was a similar experience recently when Twitter launched Twitter for Newsrooms.  It contained nothing new at all, but rather packaged up in one place everything a media organisation might need to know about using Twitter.  TfN contains some great, handy hints about using and searching Twitter, and is worth a look.

Why has Facebook launched for business now?

Both these are simple, old-school PR tactics and they work nicely.  But why are these Silicon Valley behemoths getting so personal now?

Arguably, it’s not before time.  But for social media watchers like us, the timing in itself contains some intrigue.  Could it be that a little bird told Facebook that Google+ for business will launch within the next few days?

Watch this space, we say.  And in the meantime, enjoy the competition.

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Peter Sigrist wrote this on July 27, 2011
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