When Facebook introduced fan pages it was a great addition to the site as it allowed companies/celebrities/bands etc to have a real presence and pass on dynamic useful content to their fans. This development was seen as another step that Facebook were taking to combat the increasing threat from Twitter and other sites that have a more "live stream" feel to them and was widely acclaimed as a great step forward.
Today Facebook have taken it a step further by allowing people to embed a really nifty little widget with the content from their fan pages into their own websites and blogs. Now this may not seem like a massive step at first (oh its another widget is what people will say) but I am hugely excited about this development as it is another extension of the Facebook connect platform and presents a huge range of opportunities to content producers and people with a large following. I think people need to be smart about fan pages though as there are very few people who can actually make them interesting or who have the content to carry them off but unfortunately at the moment the mentality with brands seems to be "get a twitter account and a Facebook fan page set up and you'll be laughing".
I have embedded the fan widget from LookandTaste as an example and as you can see it has HD video (try playing one and clicking full screen, you can watch HD quality here without going anywhere), is easy to navigate and you can become a fan as well as linking through to all the sites I have been promoting on the group. I only discovered these new embeds 30 minutes ago but already just off the the top of my head I am thinking about some of the possibilities....
- How many people would become a fan of your page if it was embedded in a site with lets say 100k uniques? You would have to think quite a lot. This in turn would push your content into many "friends of friends" streams pushing your message even further.
- Could this be the first stage of an even more ambitious strategy by Facebook to power sites all over the globe? Could we all be running mini Facebooks with all their wonderful functionality very soon in a more professional version of Ning?
- Where else could this widget be embedded? Could it be filled with professional content and embedded into newspapers that needed good dynamic content? How many fans would that attract?
- How long before we see some sort of revenue model around this? Branded widgets? Sponsored embeds?
This really is a very exciting development and when you take into account that Facebook is the 250 million tonne elephant in the room the potential here is massive! Watch out for a whole host of these widgets popping up on your favorite sites in the next week!