The best thing about Facebook for the business user is the ability to “connect” with your clients in a way never before possible. All for free. It costs nothing to join and Facebook vows to keep it that way forever. Because most people use Facebook on mobile devices as well as computers, you have the ability to broadcast messages, specials and information at any time. The effect is far bigger than your own “friend list” as friends of your friends also can see information. And things that your “friends” like may be shared and even encouraged to their friends. This can include special pricing, policy changes, additions to your company. . .the list goes on and on.
There’s no hiding out from Facebook anymore if you are serious about marketing your business. It’s the fastest growing source for effective advertising and connections, capitalizing on the universal human desire to be social animals and interact. Last month, I gave you three main points to understand about how Facebook works and can help you. In this article, I look at three ways it creates a buzz and has impact.
Why Do People Check-In?
While people might think it screams, “Hey, look at me, I am at Disneyland,” or other fun places, the value of a “check-in” to a business has major marketing power. “Checking In” on Facebook is an application that allows you to show people in your social network where you are at the moment. Checking In places a dot on a street map showing the name of the place where you are located, such as a restaurant or theme park. You also may “tag” people that might be with you to share with the world who you are hanging out with. More important to businesses is the creation of “top of mind awareness.” For example, regularly checking in at your favorite restaurant makes your friends think about going there. As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together, so chances are, if you like it your friends will too. Reading that one of your friends is at Disneyland might cause you to think about the last time you visited Disneyland and prompt you to plan a trip through the power of suggestion. Yes, even Disneyland has its own Facebook page.
Effects on Community Philanthropy
It isn’t called “social media” without good cause. Think of your Facebook page as your own electronic newspaper. Your subscribers are your “friends.” They come to your “wall” to read what you are doing or they see it in what is called a “news feed.” In a traditional newspaper, you might read about a charity event in the community and think nothing more about it. When you read about it on Facebook, it is your friends, clients, co-workers and people you actually know who are involved in community events. Whether it is a walk for a cure event, a comedy show for charity or a black tie event, people have a natural tendency to want to help their friends in their causes. Events are posted on the event section of a person’s wall and can be made a private or public event with invitations sent to targeted friends. In just a small example of social change, if your child is selling popcorn or cookies for a school fundraiser, there is no need to stand in front of a store hassling customers or dangerously going door-to-door. Throw up a post on Facebook and watch your friends and even friends of theirs flock to help your kid be the top salesperson in class. On that note, don’t just post your own needs but take the time to actually read the postings of your friends and support them. That is how charity gets spread.
Effects on Politics
Never before have citizens had such personal access to politicians. You want to speak to your elected representative? Send them a Facebook message. Chances are they have a Facebook page. You want to change something in local government? It is easier than ever to post your message and watch the number of “likes” you get. If someone likes something you post on Facebook, they can click the word “like” next to your “posting” and a thumbs-up symbol displays how many people like what you have to say. This is true grassroots politics in the age of the Internet.