I stated this topic with a typo and thought the discussion is dead! And now its featuring in the WebmasterWorld home page. Thank You so much.
@tedster: To add to your list I have Starbucks, another nice example I guess :)
Let's also think about theme based pages with millions of fans.. say a popular event page of Halloween, or just consider the football world cup [facebook.com
...] If I search for updates with the "Good morning" or "Happy birthday" I see so many Facebookers are wishing each other. Me as a user will be (very frankly) least interested to go to a search engine to find a way to wish my friends when I have Facebook which is reminding me of Ron's birthday tomorrow. The one and only Michael Jackson also has his presence felt at Facebook with millions of fans (a classic example of celebrity page). So much of engagement activities going on around innumerable topics. So much of stickiness and connectivity.
Let me make an attempt here by comparing a 2 online marketing activities: i) newly launched website(W) and ii) a Facebook page(F) of a not-so-popular product say A.
Step 1 (W): Acquire a good domain name which is easy to remember, less than 6 characters, etc. Find a good web host, find a good webdesigner, a solid content writer, a SEO guru, blah blah.
Step 1 (F): Create a page in less than 30 seconds, upload a product image, write a couple of lines about the product and you are on.
Step 2 (W): Finalize the design, content, a cool punchline, a good logo, keywords, meta description, etc.
Step 2 (F): Start posting updates, suggest to your friends and try to engage them (almost like a mini-forum).
Step 3 (W): Wait for the search engines to crawl, SEO, Web Analytics, A-B Testing, Web Engineering, etc.
Step 3 (F): Review engagement rate (likes, comments), post, post, post, build a landing page, invite more friends, try to build a buzz in the neighboring social circles, import contacts from address books and send invites, start Facebook advertisement, etc.
and so on...
Above, I tried to make a dry run which might not be the best one. And clearly a FB page is way ahead in terms of cost and efforts, ads being the only paid item. While the website will take X years (maybe) to build a base of N thousand loyal users, the Facebook page might achieve the same target in X months (power of virality, engagement rate being the key to success).
[In regards to the content, one must make a plan of how to increase the engagement rate since too much of talking about a certain item might be too boring.]
Now if we come back to the marketing plan and use the marketing activities of Facebook page along with the website, IMHO Google will surely take the website into it's notice since the site has a set of loyal users coming back and visiting the site being referred from Facebook (and not Google). That's the power of community, power of social influence. Community building efforts did took place in the past as well Bebo, MySpace being some of the pioneers. But the way Mark runs Facebook is way too better than the rest.
Google a couple of months back did try Google Buzz, Google Voice. Did it sensed some kind of urgency? It actually do feel the same and hence we saw 'updates' as a search option, social search implementation. I do not think Facebook will get wiped off early and if some ABCbook manages to launch something similar in terms of a social platform in the near future, we an be very sure it will add to the power of SMM.
Did I write too much? I maybe wrong and that's why I asked the question.
[edited by: getxb at 8:24 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2010]