We wind up our week-long survey of Facebook with a look at how it can be used as a business tool, and how people are using it as such. Even if you do not yet have a Facebook site, the impact of the technology on our language is unmistakable: ‘Friend’ has become a verb. The ‘Like’ button has found its way throughout the internet. Posting or tagging someone’s wall no longer has any relevance to spray paint or graffiti… Certainly Facebook has changed the ways companies and nonprofits reach out to their customers and constituents. If your organization has set up an account, or if your organization was convinced to do so by yesterday’s posting, then you will want to see how to disseminate your site and to see how it is being received. Moreover, you want to be ready to take on the changes that social media have ushered in over the last few years, and – more importantly – the changes that are still to come.
One need watch only one or two episodes of the AMC series Mad Men to get a sense of how much has changed in the world (of advertising). Hank Wasiak of The Concept Farm has been through most of those changes, and he is thrilled that social media have ‘blown up the box’ of what advertisers needed to do for so long: talk at groups.
Marketing has traditionally focused on the four “Ps”: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Social media has morphed into the fifth, and possibly most important “P”: People. A people strategy is at the center of today’s dynamic and fluid social marketing mix. John Janitsch of Duct Tape Marketing has another take on the four Ps, and has turned them into four Cs for the social age: Content, Context, Connection and Community. A people strategy is much broader, deeper and more profound than consumer targeting. It involves listening to and engaging with everyone who can touch or influence current and potential customers at all stages of brand interaction.
Wasiak calls social media ‘a disruption’ – an unsettling but creative shifting – in that it encourages the traditional talkers (the businesses, charities, etc.) to become listeners and to tailor their products and services toward individuals rather than mass demographics. He gives us some takeaways that should be applied to your organization’s Facebook page:
- Lighten Up. Stop lamenting the end of advertising as we know it. Celebrate the emergence of advertising as the consumer wants it and as it was meant to be — the art of one-on-one persuasion.
- Listen Up. Grow bigger ears and become an expert at listening to what people feel. Value response and engagement skills as much as creative abilities.
- Loosen Up. Get comfortable with giving up control to gain confidence and traction with clients and consumers. Client relationships ought to be rooted in trust, transparency and creative programs that are built on a strong positioning and responsibly deliver what is promised.
- Ladder It Up. Embrace “collabetition.” Resist the urge to say “we can do it all” and openly collaborate with like-minded competitors to add value to an idea or program.
- Live It Up. Everyone at an agency has to immerse themselves in the “social circles” in which consumers live and move everyday. Observation and understanding have been trumped by participation and engagement.
Thus inspired, we want to see if our Facebook page is doing the engagement and collaboration we want of it. Thus we need to have some understanding of ‘Search Engine Optimization‘ (SEO). Facebook is built to share, as we have discussed, but to optimize that sharing, the right page setup and the use of some standard terms (‘keywords’) go a long way to help get your word out. A great of ways to get some sound and easy SEO on a Facebook site can be found from Justin Smith at InsideFacebook.com. At its most straightforward, your task should be to establish as many recognizable links and ‘Friends’ and keywords on your site as automated systems like Google can spot, track, and post on their search engines. Then, when someone ‘googles’ your product or service, up pops YOUR Facebook page at the top of the list!
Facebook has ways to calculate some basic metrics of one’s page/account, and your organization’s communications team should keep an eye on those metrics. John Haydon at SocialBrite.com lists five metrics he considers important: Daily Active Users – Total Fan Growth – Removed Fans – Daily Story Feedback – Comments. Haydon also has a pretty commonsensical approach to keeping one’s perspective on the forest, not the trees: “If you’re like me, you try and avoid getting too deep into the numbers. Save yourself an aneurysm by focusing only on the peaks and valleys in the data. In fact, limit yourself to three peaks and three valleys for every two-week period. This will give you enough data to provide insights about your content.” Where there is a peak of people who clicked the ‘Like’ button or of people who unsubscribed, for example, you might want to check the content posted in the previous couple of days to see if you can find a particular topic, comment, photo, whatever, that might have led to the spike.
Finally, be prepared to tweak the ways you use your FB site for your organization (Though we ask you to consider Justin Smith’s advice to establish a brand and a series of keywords, and stick to them.). Not every aspect of FB is appropriate, and some could be especially valuable for your particular needs. Check them out, and keep an eye on the metrics. If you want a great checklist of things to consider, check out Meryl Evans’s “.” To pick just a couple, points 12 and 14 are fairly simple to arrange, but can offer a great ‘multiplier effect.’
We hope this series has proved useful, as we have tried to give a bit of history and context to the Facebook phenomenon, to show some of the warts of the new technology, to walk you through how to setup a business/organization site, and to get that site to as many people as possible to get the conversation flowing. If you have an idea for another series, please let us know through the comments on our blog, or via!