How to make Facebook (and basic social media) work for you

Tuesday, 06 January 2009

A combination of things have made me realize that while I may not be a “geek” by normal internet standards, I’m a huge Facebook dork. I’ve completely confused my mother trying to explain that I don’t work for Facebook, I work with it, but I chalked it up to the age difference. But when the BF overheard me explaining Facebook, as a whole and as an internet marketing tool, (to someone several years younger than me) he pulled me aside and said I was in too deep. In a good way, but still.

Facebook has become a part of many people’s everyday lives, a social hub for many different circles of friends. Using it comes naturally to me, but I think where a lot of companies go wrong is thinking of Facebook as a mini Google.

Facebook does not exist in a vacuum and a profile or page on its own is not going to drive traffic, generate buzz or perform any kind of search engine magic.

For once, it’s what’s on the outside that counts. A Facebook page is more than what’s on it; what makes it cool and/or effective is what else you add to it, the outside stuff you bring in. A Facebook page by itself is a slightly social About page that people can vote for by becoming a fan. But who wants to be a fan of a page that’s a list of company goals and products or services? Boo-ooring.

My post on 5 Facebook apps you need for business assumes that you’re already using various social sites and have a certain level of social media proficiency. But what if all you know is that everyone Facebooks stuff and talks about a lot of tweets? Here’s how to get started–slowly–in the social realm.

These steps are in the context of what you can do to create a full Facebook page and represent some of the basics I recommend for clients; they are by no means set guidelines and can be greatly expanded. But, I use them when dealing with social media newcomers because they are fairly easy to grasp and are good “gateway sites” to deeper involvement.

Set up a Twitter account

Twitter takes a little research and a lot of listening. Use Twitter Search to find people talking about things related to your business and follow them to see their conversations; join in when you have something to add.

Post photos on Flickr

Some companies don’t have anything super photogenic to share, but if you get creative I’ll bet you can find a few pictures to put up. Optimize Flickr descriptions, include links and tag stuff correctly; create a Facebook album too while you’re at it.

Keep (or start) blogging

A blog might be the easiest place to start, but if you don’t have a lot of time it can be a daunting first task. Twitter is definitely faster, but you have a lot more SEO opportunities with blogging and can show off your smarts. If you can, do both.

Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and a company blog. Not a lot (unless you have none) but it’s a good, manageable start. I use these sites, and their Facebook counterparts, to set up basic Facebook business accounts and they work together very well. The three external sites can be pulled into Facebook in various forms to give an otherwise bland Facebook page a very “with it” look. Now all you have to do it keep it up!

2 Comments

  • [...] How to Make Facebook Work for You [...]

  • Alison

    I work for 2 small charities; one, JAMI, http://www.jamiuk.org, for people with a mental illness and I also run my own meditation centre in the City area of London, UK.

    I could do with some help using Facebook and other social media to get these organisations better known. Can you help? If so, please can you give me an idea of your most affordable rates.

    Sample query: according to Facebook guidelines for use, you mustn’t “register for more than one User account, register for a User account on behalf of an individual other than yourself, or register for a User account on behalf of any group or entity”. Does that mean only individuals can have an account rather than organisations? But lots of org.s seem to have them?

    Best regards

    Michael

    Comment by Michael — February 26, 2009 @ 6:25 am

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