This is the first in our AHA Social Media 101 series.
While it might seem that everyone else in the world has a full grasp of social media and is using it to grow their business, to raise the profile of their organization, and to generate new customers or clients, the fact is – there are many, many smart, accomplished and successful people who are confused, overwhelmed or who just don’t quite understand social media.
We are often asked basic questions about the value of specific social media networks, tools or technologies and we want to share some information here to help busy professionals understand if and how social media might help their organization.
This blog series can’t possibly tell you everything you need to know, but it will give you a brief overview of some of the more popular and emerging social elements. Once you understand what each social network is or does, the key is to ask yourself a few questions to see if the network, technology or tool will be useful for what you need. There are plenty of organizations using social media that are not seeing any kind of return on investment and, in our experience, that is because they are using them because they can and not because it was a decision made as a part of their overall strategic plan.
Facebook is the first social networking site in this series. It is a social networking site that doesn’t cost anything to join or to set up a business page, but it does sell advertising in the form of sponsored posts or ads.
Today, we are focusing on Facebook for business, not a personal page. Facebook has an estimated 1.5 billion (yep – billion, with a “b”) monthly and 1.03 billion daily active users. Canada has the most active users of anywhere in the world and according to a 2015 survey, 59% of Canadians have a Facebook account (I expect that number is higher today). You can see the breakdown of age and gender here too.
If you think about the purpose that Facebook serves, it provides an opportunity for organizations with consumer products or services (manufacturers, producers, retailers, etc.) to connect with your target market and stakeholder groups. Your target market has to come and “like” your Facebook page, which means that they are showing an interest in your organization and what you do.
Facebook provides the opportunity for you to share information, news and updates with a group of people who have taken an action – liked your page. You can share how you are an active, contributing member of your community, you can share product or service news and updates, you can showcase behind the scenes – spotlighting the people who work with you, you can ask questions and get feedback from your community, and so much more. You can share photos and video, you can choose to advertise (which is quite reasonable), and you can link this community to your website blog posts.
What you don’t want to do on Facebook is spend all of your time trying to sell your products or services. Think of Facebook as a coffee shop, where people who have an interest in what you do have come to check in and see what’s going on. Facebook is about sharing, responding and engaging. It’s about creating discussion and having conversations. The more you engage your Facebook community, the better.
Is Facebook right for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Who is your target market? Is that demographic active on Facebook?
- What will your purpose be in engaging with your target market here – to inform and build relationships or to sell?
- What are your resources? Do you have someone identified to build editorial schedules, to create content (including images and video), someone who understands messaging and positioning, who can write in your brand voice and who is capable of responding to both positive and negative responses from your stakeholder groups?
- How will you engage your target market to like your page?
- How will you define and measure your success on Facebook?
- If you are not getting engagement – likes, shares or comments on your Facebook page – are you able to clearly do an audit and revise your approach?
Facebook is a great social networking site. It is popular, with active users. To effectively make use of Facebook, you need to fully understand what your target market or stakeholder group would like to hear from you and how they would like to connect.