Business communications on Facebook



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, BBCyoutube, 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?


1. Vide e Caffe Group


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 so group members can keep up to speed with major events and global initiatives that the cafe is rolling out.


2. Goodhope FM Group


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.


3. The South African Film, Television, Theatre and Radio Network


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 application which also exists.


4. Activism and Causes


” They are trying to shut down facebook- petition to keep it! invite all! ” 


Size 1,571,169 

Type Common Interests

Netowork Global  


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)


Size 1,737

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.


Applications may also offer solutions to companies. Red Bull was one of the first to develop Roshambull, built on the same rules as the game “rock, paper, scissors.”



Lee Aase  (National Media and Media Relations Manager for Mayo Clinic) highlights the following as the top ten business solutions for Facebook:

  1. Crisis management – creating “dark” sites in Facebook (or on a blog) that can go live quickly to communicate effectively with affected constituencies. Communicate meaning two-way conversations.
  2. Limited profiles – how to set a division between what you reveal to close friends and family vs. business and professional networks.
  3. How Facebook makes everyone a “connector” and why Facebook has reached a Tipping Point
  4. Facebook vs. “White Label” social networking software, and why and when organizations should consider each.
  5. A case study of a group spontaneously formed in Facebook surrounding the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis.
  6. How Facebook can put the “relations” back into Media Relations
  7.  Examples of organizations with Facebook groups, official and otherwise
  8. Why organizations should get in on the Facebook groups land rush
  9. 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.)
  10. And another related post, Toward a Medical News community
  11. The Facebook/social networking session at the Frost & Sullivan MindXChange
  12. The application for the Facebook platform, which ties what I put on this blog into my Facebook profile (and you can “friend me” here)
  13. To make it a Baker’s Dozen, here’s one more, my initial thoughts as I started this Facebook trek.

Nick Jag

Facebook marketing is an upcoming venture in the promotion world. The website has been expanding drastically, and, with the recent launch of customized applications, the site harnessing more page views and traffic time then ever before.

The networking capabilities of Facebook are very powerful and with total integration of information. News feeds allow you to track what all your friends are doing. Powerful search options allow you to target with extreme details. Open platform development will continue to allow Facebook to grow, and quite possibly, overtake MySpace in time.

Word of mouth seems to be one of Facebook’s strong areas with such powerful integration. Viral promotion is one of the fastest forms of promotions and specific, creative campaigns to provoke such promotion can be extremely effective. Such is the case in many positive public relations campaigns, such as when Holiday Inn declared towel amnesty day, or with Oprah’s big Car Giveaway with Pontiac. Most creative marketing strategies that use viral promotion can be very effective within the Facebook network.

Advertising Exodus- Facebook

The Top 5 Viral Facebook Techniques

Posted by Nick O’Neill on July 26th, 2007 4:04 PMThe dynamic of Facebook application marketing is rapidly changing. What once was an environment in which your application was practically guaranteed to go viral has shifted to one in which you need to come up with creative ways of marketing your application. The MyBucks application is a perfect example of this. After Aryeh Goldsmith (the creator of the MyBucks application) added the “Top Referrers” feature, the application immediately turned viral. After seeing all the applications go viral I have decided to do a brief overview of a few key features that help your application go viral. While this is not an exhaustive list, it covers the majority of tricks of the trade that are currently being used.

  • Forced Invite – The first instance that I saw this implemented was by David Gentzel when he launched the Happy Hour application. Within a matter of weeks the application has already become the 13th most popular application on Facebook, which is no easy feat. This method was duplicated by other applications with varying success within a matter of hours. What exactly is this method you ask? As soon as someone decides to add the application they are forced to invite 10 friends. This is a risky tactic but David Gentzel was able to leverage his other highly popular applications to drive traffic to this application. Personally, I don’t recommend this tactic. It is a brute force method that can be used by those with popular applications that don’t have rich feature sets. I have a feeling that most happy hour users don’t return to the app on a daily basis, but then again I don’t have statistics to back that up.
  • Invite after action – When the Facebook platform first launched there were no restrictions as to how many people an application user could invite per day. As a result many of the initial applications that took advantage of the checkbox invite forms grew rapidly. Since the launch, there is now a limit of 10 friends per day by each application user. While it has been significantly limited by Facebook, it is still a useful form of marketing. When building your application you should definitely come up with an effective way of allowing users to invite other people.
  • News feed – The news feed is the most powerful component of Facebook. Period. There are two ways that applications can leverage the news feed. The first is naturally built in. Most of the time, when a user adds an application it is displayed in their friends’ news feeds. While it is not a guarantee that it will show up in other people’s news feeds (due to a number of factors pertaining to news feed optimization), this is the primary thing that helps applications spread virally. When I launched my Bush Countdown clock I added no viral components and relied completely on people’s news feeds. This has spread the application to close to 8,500 users. While not spectacular, it is hardly something to sneeze at. The second way of using a news feed is by leveraging the news feed API calls that Facebook has provided. Within reason, you can regularly post news items to a user’s mini-feed within their profile. A small percentage of the time that item will end up on their friends’ news feeds. While this is severely limited, at least you can get it on to your users’ mini-feeds. Every form of exposure you can get (within reason) for your application, you should strive for.
  • Referrals/Giveaways – This is the most recent form of viral marketing on Facebook. I am seeing a number of applications adopting this technique. The referrals tactic is to come up with an effective way of encouraging your applications users to market your application for you. They can market your application on blogs, websites, forums, Facebook walls, messages to friends and more. The bottom line is that you end up with your application users being the ones that get scrappy with the marketing, not you. Giveaways are usually combined with this to provide an incentive for users to promote your application. There is a risk though in making your application look cheap, but for now I think this is a great technique.
  • One-on-One – Used alone, this technique may not result in viral growth of your application but combining this technique with one of the others I have listed can result in exceptional results. The concept is straight forward. Reach out to people that you think will find your application useful. This technique is more for targeted applications, not for generic applications such as poke wars or zombie biting or any of the other generic applications out there. Reach out to those individuals that you think will benefit from your application and then follow-up with them once they’ve added it. The result is passionate users that become your own brand evangelists. This technique has been used by countless communities to help generate passionate users. If you nurture your application users you will see positive results in the long-term.

While each of these techniques can provide varying results, all of them are targeted at creating the viral effect. Ultimately that is what makes the Facebook platform so appealing currently. You can rapidly reach thousands to millions of individuals in a short span of time at minimal cost. The problem with these viral techniques are that many of them will become practically useless soon after I release this post. That is the nature of viral marketing. Viral marketing techniques lose their appeal after they become adopted by the masses. While the techniques that have been used until now are far from revolutionary, I have a feeling that we will begin to see truly creative techniques in the coming months.

Posted in Advertising, Analysis

Facebook an effective communicaton source for Business

Can Facebook be used as an effective communication source by businesses? Many bosses are banning their staff from using Facebook. I’m busy with a varsity assignment to prove Facebook can be used by businesses to communicate effectively to publics.