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Facebook Gets Nostalgic with New Rooms App

 

Forums are one of the oldest social elements of the web. Essentially, forums are just threads of comments, links, and media that users can interact with. They are incredibly simple and their user interface usually leaves something to be desired. However, for niche audiences and those who want to dive extremely deep into one specific subject, forums have been the place to go. Facebook is now looking to bring that niche feeling to its new mobile app. Along with it comes a level of anonymity; users can choose to represent themselves by any name they wish.

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What Does This Mean for Marketers?

Aside from hundreds of brands likely scrambling to start rooms in an effort to corner the conversation for their product or service, it’s too early to tell if this app will gain enough traction to really warrant being addressed in most brand’s social strategy. There are a few things that all brands should consider before diving head first into Rooms.

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1. Rooms will undoubtedly become a haven for trolls

If you’ve spent 10 seconds on reddit you know that most brands don’t dare venture there with anything that feels like marketing. An AMA (Ask Me Anything) is about as far as most will go and even then those are usually Ask me a set number of a very few things I will answer.

2. You STILL don’t and won’t ever own your channel or content

Facebook still owns you, well, at least your content and audience, and that means that once you build a following they can do whatever they want with it. Including eliminating your ability to reach that audience almost completely. You’re much better off building a forum as a sub-domain of your .com than investing heavily in Rooms. If you’re looking for the niche detailed conversations that will happen in that type of setting.

3. You know nothing about your audience

Anonymity is great and all, but for marketers, information on your audience is the only way to determine if the people you’re talking to are the same people that buy your product (or that you want buying your product).

4. Rooms are invite only

Discoverability for a Room is based on invitation QR codes. Unless you have a code you can’t get in. That means no search function to make it easy to find rooms. This could be an advantage if you’re trying to target a specific group like Instagram users, but if you’re going for maximum exposure this app just isn’t designed for that.

5. It’s a shiny new toy

The urge to jump right into Rooms might be almost irresistible. I mean, I started a Whiskey Lovers Room feel free to join it if you’re of age. I am going to caution brands as I always do though. We don’t know anything about this new space yet and jumping in blindly (As some will undoubtedly do) could end in disaster. I recommend you evaluate your 3 W’s first.

  • Who– Who is there. What does the user base look like and are they even receptive to brands interacting within the space. Remember the reddit example above
  • What– What’s your goal for being in this new space? Is it to be the first mover for a new network? Are early adopters your target market? What are you hoping to get out of this.
  • Why– Why would users in the space interact with your brand? What value do you add? Why would they care about your Room or anything in it?

No one can predict if Rooms will be a success or if brands will flood to the new channel. However, if you can answer a few questions honestly you’ll have a good idea if Rooms is right for your brand. Stay tuned for more updates as we learn more about all that Rooms has to offer.

Let’s chat about Rooms! Tweet with me at @johnpatterson85! Be sure to join my Whiskey Lovers Room if you’re of age and like to indulge in a dram occasionally.

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