Tag Archives: friends

Facebook as a marketing tool

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Photo by Marcopako on Flickr used under creative commons licence

What is Facebook? I’m sure most people are aware of and use Facebook regularly but here is a little recap. Facebook describes themselves as a way to help you connect and share with the people in your life. Unlike Twitter Facebook operates in closed networks. Generally most people on the social network have private profiles and can only interact with others if they have been accepted as a Facebook friend.

The rules are slightly different for organisations – organisations can set up a Facebook page which is public, and anyone can view it. Individuals can like an organisations page and anything the organisation posts will appear in their Facebook feed, along with posts from their friends.

Facebook’s strengths lie in its numbers. More than 1.26 billion people are on Facebook and more than 757 million log on daily.  Facebook is also very visually focused – photos and videos generally the most common content uploaded to the site.

For small organisations, one of Facebook’s biggest advantages the ability to create a Facebook page. Websites can be costly to develop and maintain, while a Facebook page is simple and low cost. Organisations can run competitions, offer deals, post photos and update information on Facebook with minimal staff training. It provides business who previously didn’t have the capabilities to host a website to share information with their customers and the general public electronically.

So what about large organisations? I work for a large organisation but we are fairly new to Facebook. We are still in a bit of a learning curve about how to promote our organisation through our Facebook page.

Our Facebook page is used to inform our members of our policy, news and activities. We post two news articles from our internal news publication a day – this includes not just articles about our organisation but national, international and political news articles. We also post all media releases, audios and video grabs we issue as well as photos from events.

The Queensland Federal Police Facebook page is a great example of how an organisation can promote their organisation.

They recommend having a well thought out communication policy, which states clearly the relationship you expect to have with your audience – no swearing, etc. To build an audience on Facebook they recommend posting both the hard hitting news and the soft news. For example Queensland police asked for help solving a homicide case in a Facebook post, but later the same day they posted police officers stopping traffic to assist ducks. They also post news articles, both the good and the bad, and use humour to engage with their audience.

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Twitter as a marketing tool

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Taken by Mark Beale on Flickr used under creative commons licence

What is Twitter? In Twitter’s own words they describe the social network as something that helps you create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. Twitter say that Twitter allows people to stay in touch with friends and family, follow what’s happening in your neighbourhood, your profession or your hobby and to understand life from the perspective of actors, musicians or sports stars.

One of Twitter’s strengths lies in its ability to disseminate succinct information in real time. Twitter only allows posts of 140 characters so everyone has to be succinct and to the point. Because the length of a tweet is so short, it is easy to broadcast news quickly. A study by University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics found that while traditional newswires still dominate the dissemination game, Twitter scoops old media on certain stories, usually large ones dealing with sports, major disasters, and sometimes riots.

Another strength is Twitters ability to connect like-minded people together virtually. It is a more refined version of a chat room. People can be watching a sporting game live and connect with someone watching the same sporting game from their lounge room – they can celebrate together or commiserate and bond over their similar interests.

So how can we utilise these strengths to promote an organisation. The organisation I work for uses Twitter in a variety of ways – we have four accounts.

  • One account is run by the CEO – he will tweet regularly about his movements – because of his high profile people want to understand life from his perspective – because of his profile he can advocate the organisation from his own perspective.
  • The second account is used for distributing media releases, audio and video content and is aimed at interacting with and informing journalists, politicians and other associations, as well as the general public. This account only discusses the organisations official positions.
  • Our third Twitter account distributes all material that appears in each edition of our internal news publication. The publication is issued fortnightly and is very extensive. It includes what the organisation has been advocating, as well as what is happening nationally, politically and internationally in the health space. This account is aimed at engaging members and the general public.
  • The last account targets a select group of members and is coordinated more like a public forum. It is a space where they can discusses changes, ideas and concerns with each other facilitated by information that we distribute.

I have found these methods to be effective in promoting our organisation. We talk to media to spread news, we discuss health topics with like-minded people and raise our profile, and we provide insight into the life of our high profile CEO.

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