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Facebook, Explained

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Terry DohertyBy Terry Doherty

Verbs: Facebook (e.g., my brother facebooked me)
Users: “friends” or “fans”
Launched: February 2004

● A free social network where users can post information; upload photos and video; and send messages to friends, family and colleagues.
● A social networking service where users “friend” people and “like” pages.

Facebook is considered one of the “Big 3” of social networks, and remains the platform that most other social media tools are measured against. It is also the company that bought Instagram, the most popular photo-sharing sites in the world.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 5.01.27 PM

The Benefits

The ability to create two “products” – a personal profile and a brand page – users can separate the personal and professional content they’d like to share. That is particularly helpful for authors who want to keep up with family but also engage with fans.

Facebook posts last a lot longer than a tweet. You can post 2-4 times a week and still have a decent level of engagement. Questions are a great way to engage an audience and keep interest in your page.

When it comes to measuring RoI on your page, Facebook Insights is an incredibly powerful tool. Not only can you get useful, actionable data relative to your own page, but you’ll also receive suggestions for pages to watch.

The Limitations

Privacy, sharing, and security are frequent topics of discussion. Until recently, when you setup your Facebook account, the defaults were to offer the widest possible sharing. Now, users can add more privacy from the beginning. That is helpful, but now you have to take more time with each post to ensure that you have the privacy and security you want.

An early July article in WebProNews notes that “Facebook is apparently actively encouraging users to unfollow Pages, or at least going out of their way to remind people that they can do so.” At a time when opportunities to get visibility with your followers are already difficult, these actions will require you to put more time into Facebook with potentially less return.

When sharing photos and videos, you need to read the fine print on the Terms of Service. This informational article by Craig Delsak is quite detailed in explaining what happens to your copyrighted material when it is posted on social media sites like Facebook.

Other platforms – namely Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ – have moved into Facebook’s neighborhood. As a result, Facebook tweaks the user experience to meet the competition. The continual shift and changes have frustrated users, particularly businesses. It is becoming harder and harder to get “audience share” and engage your fans.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 5.03.06 PMThe Goals

Facebook is still the the most widely recognized social media platform. Even if people are visiting Facebook less, they are still checking in to see what’s happening with their friends, family, and the brands they love.

You might consider creating a Facebook page just to have a URL with your brand name in it … better you own it than someone else.

Understanding how information is shared and what you can / cannot protect is a critical first step in deciding whether to add Facebook to your marketing toolbox. If you have a company Facebook page, this data is also crucial in deciding how much time you wish to invest on this platform.

Repurposed content can be helpful here. For example, you might use a tool that has your blog posts go directly to Facebook automatically. Take the time to fill out the profile data completely. If you’re not going to engage with the page actively from Facebook, you definitely want people to know where else they can engage with you.

We’d love to know how you’re using Facebook and what you think its value is for marketing. Be sure to include your Facebook URL in the comments so we can “like” your page and become a fan.

Fun Facts

● Facebook the brand is actually spelled with a lower-case F.
● More than 1 billion people use Facebook daily, with more than ⅓ of those users over 35.
● 53% of people who clicked through from a friend’s page made a purchase.
● Posts published 8pm to 7am receive 14% higher interaction than posts 8am to 7pm

Reading Worth Your Time

An Easy Way to See What is and Isn’t Working on your Facebook Page on the Steamfeed blog, June 30, 2014
Word Science: The Best Words to Use for Twitter, Facebook and Blog Titles (infographic) on the Socially Stacked blog, January 23, 2014
Facebook Page Checklist (infographic) by Andrea Vahl, January 21, 2014
6 Facebook Reporting Tools for in-depth Analysis of Fan Pages by Kristi Hines (PostPlanner blog), December 4, 2013
19 Facebook Etiquette Rules for Business by Melonie Dodaro (TopDog Social Media blog), October 3, 2013

Terry DohertyAbout the Author: Terry Doherty is a voracious reader with a keen analytical eye and a lifelong passion for writing. Combine a passion for reading and kids, a natural affinity for analysis, and a love of solving puzzles, and you’ve got Terry. Before becoming a Mom in late 2001, she spent nearly 20 years as a research analyst, supervisor, mentor, trainer, and analytical program manager with the federal government. She has drawn on her acclaimed expertise as a national security analyst in her roles as senior editor and publishing director for an independent house; and mentor for both her consulting business & flourishing literacy nonprofit.

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