You can use Facebook to get your message out into the community – but you have to build that community first. The most important thing to remember when using Facebook is that it is a SOCIAL media platform. This means that the flow of communication should be very much two (or more) ways. You have to build conversation to be truly successful.
There are several different ways to create a presence on Facebook. You can set up a profile and use it as an individual. You can start up a page for your organization, and write status updates and comments on the organization’s behalf. Or you can join or start a group where like minded people discuss issues/ideas about a common theme. You can comment in a group as an individual or as an organization.
This 20 min video will help you understand the basics of Facebook.
You should also know that Facebook is changing all the time. The way it interacts is basically the same, but the changes around the edges can make a considerable difference to the way the interactions take place. For example, just this week the traditional “Like” button has been expanded to allow people to choose from a number of emotions about a post – like, love, haha, wow, sad or angry. It seems subtle, but this change will provide you more information about what people ‘feel’ about your post.
Using Facebook as a productive media tool
One of the most important things to know about any social media tool, is that you can quickly turn off customers and supporters by not being “social”. That may mean different things to different people, but if you are trying to get people to support your message, it’s important to build an image of you or your business as positive, helpful and supportive.
Some quick and easy tips to help you stay on that track on Facebook are:
- Don’t just put up links to your blog or website – provide stand-alone information and try to start a conversation
- Try to provide constructive, well thought through and fact-based information rather than just opinions not based on solid experience.
- Provide positive comments on other people’s posts – be a positive social friend.
- Avoid negative comments on peoples posts – don’t be a troll.
- If you need to correct some mistake or misrepresentation, do it in a positive way.
- Always acknowledge a person’s feelings and concerns with a positive voice.
When can I use Facebook to promote my organization
Following the tips above can really help you earn a following or build a community. Once you have a solid following of 100 or more people, then you may start posting more links to your blog or website. But don’t flood people with multiple posts. A slow leak of links, such as one a day, seems to be acceptable as long as the links are to new information and not repeated more than once in a month. If you go beyond that, you will lose audience. Also, you’ll want to intersperse the links with stand-alone posts and continued conversation back-and-forth with your followers.
Once you get into the swing of it, using Facebook can rally make a difference, especially if you start to use the buzz and hype Facebook can generate to boost the power of your message.