Wednesday, 21 September 2011 17:11

The social media holy trinity #3: Facebook

Facebook is still the big kahuna of the social media triumvirate. Facebook’s power as a business tool lies in the enormous penetration of global users, and the self-organising nature of the way that social networks operate.


What I mean by that is simply, if I like something, and you are part of my friends network, there is a good chance that you might like it too – or at least be part of a general demographic that has a predisposition to liking stuff.


So if I “Like” a Facebook page, then there is a good chance that some of my Facebook friends will have a look and “like” it too, and their friends and so on.


Our social and friend based Facebook behaviour, therefore, migrates easily into business based social network behavior.


A Facebook page for your business is similar to your profile page, except instead of “friending” you, users “Like” your page, building a profile of “Likers” in the left-hand column that indicate the popularity of your product or service.


Facebook as a business page is also interactive – users can comment on your posts, make posts themselves and respond to others, all in real time.


The activity on your page generates some excellent analytics too – all of which help you define and refine your target market.


The capacity for interactivity on Facebook pages is part of its charm. It means that you are able to constantly get feedback about your product and engage in a meaningful dialogue with current and future customers.


It also gives customers a sense of ownership with your brand, enabling them to develop a relationship and a brand advocacy that extends far beyond the reaches of your page.


Facebook business pages are a good way to differentiate your customers from your Facebook friends, although in many cases there will be crossovers.


Like my comments on the previous Twitter posting, if you are setting up a Facebook business page, it is important to keep it, the images, and posts, on brand message, and have a consistency in the way your represent your product/service that is reflected across your website, Twitter feeds, etc.


There is a capacity with most blogs and websites to link them all together with widgets or as part of the web platform, so a special sale for instance or new product that you post on your website, can be posted to your Facebook page and tweeted simultaneously to ensure maximum saturation.


Third party advocacy of your product by friends-of-friends or likes-of-friends is incredibly powerful free advertising, and in the chains of likes and friends, you can communicate very quickly and grow your user base exponentially with the right content and networks.


Like Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook isn’t strictly a sales channel, it is a brand building opportunity, and more so, an opportunity to direct traffic to your website.


Authenticity and the sense of giving something special and exclusive to your “Likers” is the key to Facebook page success – as is plenty of content and images and new information to keep your customers interacting.


Much of what you will actually give will be the insight into you as part of your brand, and the opportunity to share that in real time as your community grows.

Dr Polly McGee a co-founder of Startup Tasmania, which aids fast-growth start-ups in the state. She’s behind the MumpreneurIDEAS program, a one day workshop that assists women to start-up and is also a senior lecturer in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Tasmania in their MBA and undergraduate program. 

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