Monitors show the value of the Facebook, Inc. stock before the closing bell at the NASDAQ Marketsite in New York, May 18, 2012. In late trading, Facebook shares were only a few cents above the company's initial public offering price of $38, after opening 11 percent higher, rapidly heading south to touch their initial price and then rebounding by several dollars.

Spoilt for choice in the social marketing landscape or is it just a maze?

“Trying to navigate through the various new social media categories, blogs, sharing sites, and social media firms is an absolute mess,” writes Charlie Mintao, a Business journalist.

The above depiction of the Facebook-linked digital marketing landscape was shown at a Buddy Media event marking the launch of the social marketing software agency’s new suite of measurement tools on the eve of the Facebook share offer, which went to market on Friday.

Facebook shares gained as much as 18 percent to levels of more than $40 (R333) a share when it began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market in the US.

The shares advanced 11 percent to $42.18 at 11.30am in New York, after earlier surging as high as $45, giving the social media network a valuation of $123.4 billion.

Facebook sold 421.2 million shares at $38 each to raise $16bn on Thursday.

The public offering price valued the company at 107 times trailing 12-month earnings, more than every Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 member except and Equity Residential, and made it the largest by any US internet company.

Premarket orders for the stock were said to reach the equivalent of $70 a share in Frankfurt. Facebook priced at the top-end of its range of $34 to $38 a share, valuing it at about 26 times sales in the 12 months to March. As of Thursday, that was more than twice as much as AvalonBay Communities, currently the most costly company by that measure in the S&P 500.

At $16bn, Facebook’s sale surpassed that of General Motors, making it the second-largest in US history, excluding so-called over-allotments, which let underwriters buy more shares at a later date, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Locally, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange said on Friday it had listed a single stock future contract on Facebook Incorporated, through which South Africans could gain investment exposure to the social media site.

South African citizens could purchase contracts on Facebook through their local brokers without having to use their foreign allowance allocation.

Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of World Wide Worx, a technology strategy and research firm, said on Friday many South Africans (close to 5 million) had become dependent on Facebook as a social tool. He said most users accessed the platform via cellphones as many handsets were automatically sold with a preloaded Facebook application.

“(Facebook) is going to be able to invest heavily in improving their mobile offering. Its mobile options are still limited,” he said.

Dirk Dijkstra, a Johannesburg-based marketing manager of Ensight, a UK marketing solutions firm, agreed that Facebook would need to strike deals with the likes of Microsoft and Nokia to improve Facebook’s cellphone offering.

A benefit of Facebook for South African business was not only as a marketing platform but enterprises could harvest a new client base.