Communications Management in the 2010s: Strategies for Navigating Game-Changing TrendsFebruary 25, 2010Breakfast Round Table Topic: Facebook for Business: Fan Pages, Groups & Other OptionsTable Host: Gina Spadoni, a Market Intelligence Consultant at Premera Blue Cross, and CommunityManager for the Seattle chapter of the Social Media Club. Facebook Community Primer Key items to understand: • Facebook changes their guidelines and rules very regularly and often without warning; understanding how Fan Pages and Groups work is an ongoing, continuous learning experience. • As a business, the choices for a Facebook presence are limited to two: 1. Form a Fan Page (quite often referred to only as “Page”) 2. Create a Group Note: Facebook explicitly forbids setting up a personal account under a business name, and regularly deletes such accounts. Don’t try it – all your effort could disappear. • Fan Page vs. Group Pages are generally better for a long-term relationship with fans, readers or customers and offer more flexibility. Pages are better for brands, businesses, bands, movies, or celebrities who want to interact with their fans or customers without having them connected to a personal account, and may have a need to exceed Facebook’s 5,000 friend cap. Groups are generally better for quick publicity. They can support smaller scale interaction around a cause; they are limited to 5,000 friends. Groups are faster to set up and require less time & technical skill. • Key challenge for page/groups: Facebook does not provide a business email account for business users: An administrator must use their personal Facebook email if they want to converse privately with fans or group members, or send group messages. This is a limitation which should be actively planned for. Suggestions: Communicate publicly via the wall or discussion forum whenever possible. Have a specific company email account for Facebook administrative use & provide this to fans or group members should a non-public discussion be required. Quick tips: 1. Think about your goals when deciding on permission settings for your page/group. The general rule is to make your page or group global, open, & public, but there might be special cases for defining it more discretely. a. Options for groups: Open to anyone, Closed (where users must get administrator approval to join) or Secret (invite only) b. Options for pages: Published (open to anyone), Unpublished (admins only), Age-band, Country-specific 2. Fill out the information areas for the page/group entirely 3. Ensure all page/group information is checked for spelling & grammar 4. Allow members to share & post media 5. Use descriptive key words that will help people find you via Search 6. Participate on the page – post Links, Photos, Videos & respond to fans/members who are posting 7. Monitor the page at least daily 8. Use the wall for quick comments and links; use a discussion forum for lengthier, ongoing topic areas 9. Let people know, via wall posts, to check the discussion area when something new is there 10. Consider cross-pollination: Leverage your other channels as appropriate. If you have a blog, LinkedIn group, web site, or YouTube channel -- help people find them via your information profile, and consider occasionally making a wall post about unique content – just ensure the tone is useful and
conversational (you do not want to use the wall as a press release page, or merely as a place to re- post content you’ve got elsewhere; keep each channel or community as distinct as possible).Feature Comparison: Fan Page versus GroupsFeature Page GroupVanity URL (username) Yes (with 25+ fans) NoDiscussion Forum Yes YesDiscussion Wall Yes YesApp Ad-ins Available Yes NoMessaging to All Fans/Members Yes (via wall/event Yes, up to 5K members updates which go to all (via FB admin’s individual fan walls – not via profile email to inboxes) inbox)Visitor Statistics Yes (“Page Insights”) NoVideo & Photo public exchange Yes YesEvent Creation Yes YesEvent publicity to member wall streams Yes NoPosts appear from the business Yes (posts come from No (posts are attached to the Fan Page entity & an admin’s individual logo) profile & profile photo)External Search Indexing (e.g. Google) Yes NoAdvertising available Yes (pages can benefit Yes from social ads that publicize the fan connection between a Page and a specific user)Facebook Markup Language (FBML) coding Yes YesoptionsIndividual post privacy controls Yes (customize by No language spoken, geography, etc.)Fan Box for web site Yes (widget for web site No that drives fans to FB fan page)Sources: Facebook Help; Facebook Developers Page; Facebook Group vs Facebook Fan Page: What’sBetter? Search Engine Journal, October 1, 2008; Facebook Pages vs Facebook Groups: What’s theDifference? Mashable, May 27, 2009; HOW TO: Manage a Facebook Group, Mashable, October 7, 2009;HOW TO: Use Facebook Privacy Controls on Your Fan Page, Mashable, December 20, 2009.