When I started Blue Cat Design back in 1995, the forerunner to what has become “Social Media” was called newsgroups, You would join these email groups whose members had similar interest; back then, most newsgroups were based on internet techy themes. The mode of group communication was to send an email to the group email address which then spewed it back to each of the members, then when members replied to the topic, their reply emails got spit out to all the members, and this communication pattern kept repeating. Sometimes member replies would get overheated and insulting, what became known as “flaming”. But by comparison to today, generally people were polite, not anonymous and not too self-promotional as that was definitely frowned on.
Fast forward a decade ahead from newsgroups and you have MySpace launching in 2003, Facebook in 2004, and Twitter in 2006 – and the social side of the Internet has been transformed. Add in blogs and sites with comment fields and you have a loud global din of mingled social interactions and opinions online.
Whether you want to participate or not, realize that you are already part of social media whether you like it or not. Others have already discussed you or your product or brand on various social media sites, in comment fields and in blog posts. (If you’ve been the victim of reputation damage, here’s how to repair your online reputation.)
Rather than having your personal persona or business image created online by others, take control of it and be in charge of your message and image. It’s really quite straightforward. However the approach varies for individual and businesses.
Social Media for Businesses
Yes, you do need a Facebook business page. And don’t confuse Facebook accounts for individuals which allow you to send and receive “Friend” requests with a business Facebook page; the former is strictly for individuals and primarily used to keep in touch with family and socialize with friends.
It’s free to create a Facebook Business Page account. Here are the initial steps involved:
- Choose a main category from the six primary groups and then a subcategory (100’s of choices)
- Choose a Page name that represents your business
- Upload a logo or another image that people associate with your business to use as a profile picture
- Write a sentence about your business so people understand what you do
- Choose a memorable web address for your Facebook Business Page that you can use on marketing material or website to send people to your Facebook page. Example: http://www.facebook.com/businessname
- Choose a cover photo (for the top portion of your Facebook page) that represents your brand and showcases your product or service
After your business Facebook page has been created and customized, then a Facebook icon and “Like” link can be added to your website so that site visitors can “Like” your Facebook account and therefore become “followers” (the Facebook word for subscribers) and receive Facebook postings you make. Your postings will appear on your subscribers “news feed” when they log into Facebook. It is a very effective way to deliver your message to an opted-in interested audience. After it is set up, it does require a commitment – no postings equals no social media marketing message to your audience. And the postings need to be the right message, based on your marketing strategy goals – this isn’t a task for an intern, after all, you don’t want your social media marketing attempt to trigger a need for online reputation repair.
If you need help setting up a Facebook page, customizing it, developing its strategy, training staff on how to make appropriate posts and monitor comments, or if you want to outsource the ongoing posts, I’d be happy to discuss how I could help to make it easy, painless and effective.