First, I'd like to take a second to apologize for the lack of Client Corner posts over the last two weeks. A family emergency has disrupted our schedule a bit, but now we're back to normal (and thankfully everything turned out well). So this week, you're getting this post a bit early. Let's dive right in to it....
What is it? Facebook (along with Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace) is among the most recognizable and highly-used social media platforms of today. It is a free website where users can join networks, connect and interact with other people. Unlike its famed predecessor, MySpace, Facebook tends to be more professional, although not quite as much as LinkedIn. I recently attended a conference where I heard the following statement and I found it to be a very good descriptor. “If MySpace is a bar, and LinkedIn is the office, Facebook is a backyard barbeque.” It is a more casual, relaxed place to connect with people.
What does it do? Like many other social networks, Facebook allows you to create profiles and share information, photos, videos and links. You become “friends” with other people who have profiles and it’s a great way to keep up to date on what they are doing.
In addition to these personal profiles, Facebook also offers a few tools for businesses to use. As a company you cannot create a personal “profile”. (If you do so, Facebook will eventually find it and delete it.) You can, however, create a Facebook Group or a Facebook Fan Page.
Facebook fan pages work very similarly to personal profiles. They allow the page administrators to share videos, photos, links, etc. Facebook Groups are slightly different. When you create a group, you can decide whether joining is open to all of Facebook or just specific networks. You can choose to have administrators approve someone before they join, make it available for anyone to join, or make it so that someone would need to be invited to join. There’s a good post by our friends at Mashable where they compare and contrast Facebook groups and Facebook fan pages. This post is great if you want to read more in depth about the differences between the two.
Once your group or fan page is set up, it’s up to you to figure out how to use these pages to best connect with your fans or group members. Just as with other social media platforms, you have to figure out how to give them some value on your page. You have to figure out how to get them to engage.
Here are a few examples of what some brands are doing on Facebook Fan Pages and Groups:
Coca-Cola: They post videos and pictures submitted by fans and allow fans to participate in discussions. They currently have 3,487,039 fans.
Barack Obama: If the president of the United States is using Facebook, you know there’s something to this! Mr. Obama used social media throughout his campaign and continues to use it to stay connected with the online community. Last week he posted an invitation to join a town hall on health care reform. He also used his fan page to ask people to submit questions for the town hall meeting.
Digital LA: Digital LA is a group that hosts networking events for marketing and advertising professionals in the Los Angeles area. Their Facebook group lists upcoming events, allows administrators to post recent news, displays group members and allows members to start discussions and make general comments in the “wall posts” area.
And lastly, I hate to keep going back to her, but I find what she’s doing in the social media space so great. Miss Britney Spears.
She uses her facebook fan page to give fans first peeks at upcoming campaigns and new music videos, she posts concert photos and photos of fans. She connects with fans by letting them know what she’s up to and thanks them their support. She makes her fans feel like she’s really interested in sharing with them and makes them feel special by sharing things that haven’t been shared elsewhere.
There is another tool that Facebook offers businesses and that is Facebook Ads. This will be covered in the second part to this post this Thursday, so be sure to come on back!
Why should you use it? Facebook is another great medium for connecting with people. As a business it allows you to share your company’s personality and gives you the opportunity to turn strangers into brand advocates and fans.
Next Week's Term: Facebook Part 2 (Facebook Ads)