Facebook’s Future: Certain or Not?

According to a survey by Reuters, four out of five Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the site. The poll also found that 34 percent of users were spending less time on the website than they were six months ago. Only 20 percent were spending more.

These results seem to confirm concerns about Facebook (especially by investors) that arose after the IPO and subsequent 29 percent decrease in stock value. Advertisers were also concerned after GM pulled its paid ads.

According to Reuters (read the full story here), Facebook, while declining to comment, referred to case studies of Nutella – which found a 15 percent increase in sales that can be attributed to Facebook – and Applebee’s, whose ads on the social networking platform generated a threefold ROI.

What does this mean for Facebook? Or social media marketing in general?

Perhaps the point isn’t to look at what’s going on with Facebook, which is certainly making headlines, but rather what’s going on under the radar: the booming market of social business apps, as Ryan Holmes, the CEO of HootSuite points out in a blog on the Huffington Post.

Two major social enterprise apps (tools to help big businesses capitalize on social media) – Virtue and Buddy Media – have in the last month been bought for hundreds of millions of dollars. And in the past year, two others have also been purchased, also for large amounts. While consumer social media is being questioned, social business apps are only growing. Social media, Holmes says, “has gone company-wide.”

So if companies are increasingly using social media to connect with their suppliers, advertisers, and applicants, why is there a disconnect with customers?