There are many different social network sites catering to different needs and interests. YouTube focuses on video sharing, Flickr and Instagram focus on photo sharing, and Twitter focuses on short messaging in real time. Facebook is a social networking service and website that allows members to create personal profiles, add friends, exchange messages, photo and videos, and join common interest groups. Pinterest members love sharing visual content on topics they are interested in.
Any business today needs to understand these networks and, if possible, participate in many of them to reach new customers, to stay connected to existing customers, and to actively monitor and manage their company’s brand and reputation. Participating in social networks where members that share common interests can connect with each other provides businesses with an opportunity to get the word out about new developments in their business to people who would be interested in knowing; participation also gives businesses an opportunity to put a human face on their business by actively engaging with communities and responding to customers comments about the business. How businesses should participate in these networks varies depending on the network and the goals of the business. We will focus in on Facebook but will also provide some thoughts on Twitter and Pinterest on future posts.
Facebook is by far the biggest social network. Here are some stats on Facebook that any marketer should keep in mind:
- Getting close to a billion monthly active users (500 million active daily users) who generate billions of pieces of content each month
- 50% of active users log in everyday
- Users are very engaged with an average of 130 friends, uploading an average of 90 pieces content per month
- 250 million photos are uploaded daily
- 20 million + videos are uploaded each month
- More than 2 billion videos per month are viewed on Facebook
- 80% of users are located outside of the U.S.
- 2/3 of Americans who use the Internet are Facebook users
- 500 million people per month engage with Facebook on websites external to Facebook
- 2.5 million websites are integrated with Facebook
- For some large websites, Facebook is now a bigger source of traffic than Google
- 350 million users access Facebook through iPhone
- ½ of Facebook’s users base is 25 – 64 years-old, 1/6 of users are 35 – 44 years-old
While Facebook got its start as a personal networking platform where friends could connect with friends, increasingly Facebook is now also being used for business networking and branding.
Setting Up a Business Presence on Facebook
If you don’t want to commingle your personal and professional life on Facebook but do want a Facebook presence for your business, you now need to establish a Facebook Page for your business. Facebook Pages (Pages) are a distinct presence that is separate from your personal user profile, and it is optimized to allow a business to interactive with and distribute information to fans (Page version of friends), and capture new audiences through their fan’s recommendations to their friends. Pages are designed to be a media rich location where businesses and artist can build their brand and following. A Page allows other users to become fans of the Page, but access to the individual’s personal profile pages is limited. Pages do not allow for the ability to invite friends; Pages can only maintain a fan list. Fans have to opt into being a fan of your Page. Pages do allow you to update your status, which your fans can see, and Pages allow for pictures, videos, wall posts, groups, applications and other interactive elements.