Tuesday 25th September 2007 17:15
I’ve spent the past three weeks exploring the dynamic world of Facebook and the communication solutions which it offers to businesses – I must confess I still feel like Alice in Wonderland, and the rabbit hole seems never-ending on this topic. After searching through sources like CNN, BBC, youtube, google and reading up on what some industry professionals in the new media space have to say about Facebook, I have arrived at these conclusions. Facebook, whether we like it or not is here to stay and so is the medium of social networking. Even if company bosses and universities block Facebook users, they will inevitably find ways to access Facebook in their spare time. Many South African business owners and universities have used a blanket approach and have decided to ban their staff and pupils from using Facebook . Rian Groenewald (Operations Director of Multimedia Solutions, a mobile marketing company) recently wrote about how mobile phones were being used more frequently to access Facebook
(Mike Stopforth, entrepreneur, writer and speaker on Web 2.0 recently also commented on Bizcommunity why employees should use Facebook) I guess the real question is how we can adapt to Facebook, social networking and marketing using user-generated content?
Common Interests- Food and Drink
Size 923 members
The Vida e Caffe group uses the recent news section to post short news snippets. The Vida e Caffe page uses the recent news section to post short, punchy news snippets. Members can also post their own questions, videos and photos to generate interest and initiate conversation on the discussion board and wall post. Vida e Caffe has included http://www.caffe.co.za/ so group members can keep up to speed with major events and global initiatives that the cafe is rolling out.
Common Interests- Entertainment, arts and radio
Size 1,231 members
Goodhope FM unlike Vida e Caffe has the advantage of being a radio station and an existing communication source. Its link to music content enables it to target messages to its listeners via the airwaves and Facebook. This can be observed on the photos and videos of events that its listeners post on the group page.
Common interests: Film, Television, Theatre and Radio
Size: 2005 members
This was created for networking purposes to members of industry. Similarly other industries can also set up a networking portal like this one where ideas can be exchanged via wall posts, discussion boards and/or emails. Even journalists are communicating in a group about relevant topics and developments taking place not forgetting the News24.com application which also exists.
4. Activism and Causes
” They are trying to shut down facebook- petition to keep it! invite all! ”
Type Common Interests
Many of you may have come across this group and its not hard to comprehend why there are so many members. They all share one common interets of course. 1, 571, 169 members is quite something when you consider that at any given time Ben Sinclair (the groups founder) can send an email to all the group members. This creates opportunities for businesses wishing to communicate in the corporate social investment space (whether they trying to assist with breast cancer, feeding the hungry, or world peace initiatives). Companies and politicians have also started using Facebook to lobby and rally support.
5. A local event ( Africa Burns- Burning Man in South Africa)
Event Date 22-25 November 2007
Venue: Ceres Karoo
This group which was started in order to draw support for a local event taking place later this year is an example of how interest can grow and be generated arround an event. In a similar manner the official “Cape Town Facebook Party” has a following of 2, 284 members who are waiting in anticipation for the big event. Our National Braai Day managed to gain support from 6, 792 members and the “I love South Africa” group now stands at 11, 211 members.
Within all the groups mentioned, individuals form communities around special interests. Therefore, if businesses want to target these individuals they need to push key messages to maintain interest and participation in a similar manner as Vida e Caffe and Goodhope fm. Facebook communication strategies can be aligned with national initiatives as was the case with National Braai Day. Ideally a Facebook communication strategy should tie in with mediums like TV, radio, and advertising as these are also accessed by the same audience members. I found the Klipdrift “Met Eish Advert” on youtube (4,222 views) and thought this would have been a good advert to have posted on the National Braai Day group (6,787 members). It could have been posted on the fun walls of individuals in the group who could then have spread it virally to their friends.
The second video I came across on youtube was the Dove Evolution Video which has had 4,562,374 views on youtube.
Lee Aase (National Media and Media Relations Manager for Mayo Clinic) highlights the following as the top ten business solutions for Facebook:
- Crisis management – creating “dark” sites in Facebook (or on a WordPress.com blog) that can go live quickly to communicate effectively with affected constituencies. Communicate meaning two-way conversations.
- Limited profiles – how to set a division between what you reveal to close friends and family vs. business and professional networks.
- How Facebook makes everyone a “connector” and why Facebook has reached a Tipping Point
- Facebook vs. “White Label” social networking software, and why and when organizations should consider each.
- A case study of a group spontaneously formed in Facebook surrounding the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis.
- How Facebook can put the “relations” back into Media Relations
- Examples of organizations with Facebook groups, official and otherwise
- Why organizations should get in on the Facebook groups land rush
- A vision for how Facebook could become a “Cheers” for industry-specific journalist and newsmaker interactions (which is related to the “putting relations into media relations” post.)
- And another related post, Toward a Medical News community
- The Facebook/social networking session at the Frost & Sullivan MindXChange
- The WordPress.com application for the Facebook platform, which ties what I put on this blog into my Facebook profile (and you can “friend me” here)
- To make it a Baker’s Dozen, here’s one more, my initial thoughts as I started this Facebook trek.