This is part 4 of my blog series entitled Set Up Your Tools.
Facebook is a monster in the audience development space. Facebook has grown into the biggest, most influential, highest traffic site on the Internet. Its reach is astounding, as it is the current reigning social networking site. I attribute this to a couple of things:
- Being in the right place at the right time – there was no other established social media site that came close in terms of knitting together all of our relationships.
- The price is right – classmates.com should have owned this space, but they charged for access and people weren’t that nosey about what happened to their old classmates.
Facebook hit the market at a time when MySpace was big. MySpace was the original glamour site for people to post everything about their interests and it faltered with the launch of Facebook, LinkedIn and the gang.
Facebook has emerged as the king of the hill. Alexa ranks Facebook as the top site on the Internet: Alexa Topsites
So… what does this mean? How should I use Facebook?
Well… for starters, you need to have a presence. There are a few ways to have a presence on Facebook:
- A Facebook account
- This is your main presence on Facebook. You enter some information about yourself (name, age, location, school(s) attended, etc.). You can upload photos and you can share pretty much anything you wish to share with your friends: status updates, big events, jokes and more! I am particularly fond of VagueBookers. Note: don’t be a VagueBooker!
- Facebook pages
- According to Facebook, Your page is your business or organization’s home on Facebook. This is a spot where you can create an awareness of a brand. People can interact with your brand through this page. You can build an audience by sharing content including stories, photos, upcoming events, etc.
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Groups provide a closed space for small groups to communicate about shared interests. Facebook Groups differ from Facebook Pages primarily in that groups typically have a small privacy-controlled audience whereas pages are generally open to anyone.
And, Facebook is constantly changing. So, not only do you need to build a presence, but you must also adjust it over time as Facebook changes.
Not only do you need to build a presence within Facebook, but it is also a good idea to integrate with Facebook. Embedding likes or comments on your blog or website helps keep your web presence relevant within Facebook.
Facebook also does a great job offering cross-platform support. Facebook is everywhere that it matters to be:
This isn’t unique to Facebook, as Twitter, Google+ and the gang all have a cross-platform presence as well. What that means is that you must have a presence across a myriad of platforms. You must have presence on the web and on the leading mobile platforms as well. More and more traffic is migrating to mobile devices, with some organizations seeing more of their traffic coming from mobile devices than from traditional desktop browsers.
And, just yesterday, Facebook announced their latest Facebook feature, Facebook Graph Search. Graph Search will allow people to harvest information from your social network. You could search for “favourite movies amongst your male friends aged 25 to 34”, for example. There is a lot of potential here, but, the biggest problem will be the quality of the search results. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook profile is far from complete or accurate. I think that I last updated my profile over a year ago. And, I think that makes me a keener. And, my posts are typically a collection of random items that I’ve found interesting online. Others are similarly skeptical as well: Jesse Brown in Macleans, “Why Facebook’s ‘Graph Search’ is not enough to woo this investor”, and others – just google Facebook Graph Search for more (wait… you mean a good search engine already exists? Who knew!)
Note: Facebook Graph Search is currently available only to a small number of users, but is expected to be rolled out to everyone shortly.
Bottom line: you need to build and understand your presence on Facebook. One of the costs of living online is that you have to be where the people are. And pretty much everyone is on Facebook. So make sure you build a presence within Facebook and then interact with your Facebook profile, page(s) and/or groups on a regular basis to help grow your online community.