With 500 million users and growing, Facebook is a hotbed of information on professionals. A new service, Stik, aims to help users find recommendations of service professionals through your network of Facebook friends.
Stik helps connect you with service professionals who are friends of your friends on Facebook. If you were to search for a lawyer using Stick, you will see a list of attorneys connected to your friends. You could then further refine your results by location, shared connections, or recommendations. If you find a professional that you’d like to connect with, you can send them a message. Here is a video explaining the service:
I think these guys are onto something with this service. While the implementation of the idea is new and may need further refining, I think this type of service will, in the long run, prove more valuable than simply using Facebook's advertising platform to get new clients.
I've written before about some of the issues I have with Facebook's advertising platform as it relates to driving new business to law firms. The main issue is one of intent. Google works so well because people have intent when they are using a search engine. When people are looking to hire a lawyer or research a legal topic, Google is usually their first stop. People use Facebook to socialize, interact with family and friends, look at photos, etc. Most are not on Facebook seeking professional services. Because of this, slapping an ad up on the side on Facebook simply will not work the same as it does with Adwords or any type of search driven intent.
I think the future of professional service advertising with Facebook will combine search and the power of Facebook's social graph. Leveraging the information Facebook contains on the connections between individuals and the intent of someone actually looking for a lawyer will bring the best of both worlds together. You will be able to use the "trust factors" of knowing mutual acquaintances and at the same time connect with someone seeking legal services. This is a win win for everyone as opposed to simply using Facebook as a highly trafficked source of display advertising.
What do you think? Is this type of service the future of Facebook advertising for service professionals?