Facebook and the Front Row Experience
Why do consumers ‘LIKE’ brands and interact with them on Facebook? It is a simple question, but it is likely that no all-encompassing answer exists. I believe that one reason is that it gives the consumer an authentic ‘Front Row Experience’.
Recently on the Bill Simmons Podcast, Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard talked about the importance of everyone having the opportunity to sit in the front row and experience an event. Hubbard is wary that concerts, sporting and theater events have gone back to the Elizabethan Era class system where the rich sit up front, and the poor in the back. One of his goals as CEO of Ticketmaster is to find ways to help reverse that trend to a degree. He used his own personal example of how sitting in the front row of a Lyle Lovett concert as a teenager with his sister improbably turned him into a life long fan. Since that experience he and his sister have attended twenty-six shows.
At my very first concert experience I had the opportunity to sit in the front row of a Squeeze concert. At one point during the show I was invited on stage to sit in a semi-circle around singer Glenn Tilbrook while he sang a song. This experience has resulted in me being a Squeeze fan for life. It has also encouraged purchase – most recently, I bought their greatest hits album off of iTunes.
What does this have to do with Facebook? I think one of the reasons authentic consumers ‘LIKE’ brands and interact with them is that they feel like they are sitting in the front row at an event. They know there is a high probability that if they post something it will be responded to by the brand, or interacted with by a fellow LIKEminded individual. This experience should not be underestimated. When possible, each post should be intrereacted with in some way. Whether it is a positive comment or a complain – the Brand needs to respond and make them feel like they are are sitting front and center.
This could also be a hidden reason (in addition to the obvious ones) that consumers utilize Facebook over Twitter. On Twitter there is the feeling that your own personal ‘worth’ is dictated by the amount of Followers you have. A complaint or glowing review coming from someone with 10,000 Followers is inherently more impactful than one coming from someone with 14 Followers. This is not the case with Facebook – everyone is on equal footing, and everyone gets to sit in the front row.
I think it’s important for strategist, creatives and community managers to keep these examples in mind when working on a Brand’s Facebook identity. That being said, I do not expect Brands to start inviting consumers on stage for a rendition of their latest jingle or to contemplate the demise of their marriage to Julia Roberts.