The online community has been speculating about a Facebook IPO for months on end. There is talk of it taking place in April of next year, though some say it could happen before 2011 comes to a close. And even though nothing has been confirmed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the latest news to come out of the rumor mill has given the IPO speculation more life than it has ever had up to this point.
According to an unidentified source, the Facebook IPO could be in process as soon as next month with the papers filed before Christmas. The source, who is supposedly close to a few people who work for the social network, told Business Insider that Zuckerberg said for the first time that the company will go public soon. However, Business Insider is not sure about how soon the papers will actually be filed since their own source close to the situation said that Facebook has yet to decide which banks it will use to handle the underwriting of the public offering.
Facebook’s IPO Implications
Regarding Facebook’s seemingly inevitable IPO, the bulk of the focus thus far has been on the employees in terms of the affect. Seeing that going public could make several key members of its staff very wealthy, some observers are speculating whether some will leave, and for those who stay, whether they will have the same motivation after being treated to a big pay day. What is getting lost in all this is the potential impact on the entities who use Facebook, so here are some implications for social media marketers to chew over:
More Privacy Concerns – One of the biggest issues plaguing social media in general is privacy concerns. In many instances, Facebook has been at the center of the privacy issues, which could get even bigger should an IPO be in the future. Marketers will likely want access to more data to monetize and justify their investment in the public offering, while consumers may be reluctant to part with more than they are already giving.
Greater Demand From Users – If Facebook thinks its users ask for a lot now, the demands they make when the company goes public may seem mind boggling in comparison. It is very common for consumers to feel like they should have more involvement when a company is publicly traded. Things could get dicey for social media marketers should those users become disgruntled over their demands not being met.
Lack of Relevance – It’s hard to imagine the mighty Facebook crumbling after going public, but it could very well lose some of its relevance. After all, it isn’t the only viable social show in town these days. If it doesn’t retain its innovative ways, users and marketers could end up fleeing for the competition.
A Facebook IPO could be so huge, that it changes the face of social media as we know it. Will that change be for better or for worse? The answer may be revealed sooner than later.
Daphne Gledhill is a freelance designer, writer, and marketing consultant. She is also an advocate for a company that provides outstanding free email marketing.