How Did You Hear About Robin Williams’ Death?

Posted on: August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, one of my favorite actors, died on August 11, 2014, but I’ll bet you didn’t just learn this via my blog.

So, how did you hear about Robin Williams’ death?

I found out that Robin Williams had died, in an apparent suicide, via Facebook. A few years ago, I would have ended that statement with “… via Facebook, of all places.”

Today, Facebook is where I (along with millions of others) first hear breaking news.

With the shift from mainstream media to social sites like Facebook come all sorts of implications. Setting aside the scary ones—like only seeing news you agree with based on the natural filtering of your social network, or the fact that Facebook is running social experiments on you—there are also business implications.

There are five key marketing metrics online:

  • Impressions
  • Website Visits
  • Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rate
  • Leads
  • Sales

If you want to grow your business online, you need to think of the metrics above like a sales funnel. You can’t generate sales unless people know you exist. For people to know you exist, you need to get more qualified impressions. You need to get your company name and brand in front of people. You need to engage them.

Facebook is an excellent place to do this, but a lot of business owners are reluctant to try social media marketing. Some of their fear comes from the mistaken belief that the only people on social media are kids.

Social media is not just for kids.

Facebook might skew young, but according to a Business Insider post, the number of users from the 45- to 54-year-old age bracket has grown 46 percent since December 2012. Even more interesting, among U.S. internet users, 73 percent of those with incomes above $75,000 per year are on Facebook.

Do a little research on your own. Ask your friends how they found out about Robin Williams’ death. My guess is that “Facebook” will be one of the most common answers you’ll hear.

Smart marketers know that Facebook isn’t just a website, it’s one part …

  • News channel
  • Customer service center
  • Feedback portal
  • Review and testimonial site
  • Marketing and PR platform

Robin Williams’ death is a tragic reminder that we really don’t know the celebrities we watch and admire in awe. We really don’t know what’s going on in their lives or the private, personal wars they’re waging. It’s a reminder that comedic talent, fame, and money aren’t enough to defeat depression.

Not to turn a negative into a positive, but Robin Williams’ death is also a reminder that Facebook has altered permanently the way people consume news. With this come a number of implications—some personal and some professional.

Setting the personal side aside, if you own a business, you really need to be building up your company’s presence on social sites like Facebook. If you wait until the first case study is produced by one of your competitors—proving the value of Facebook—you’ll have missed an enormous opportunity.


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