I was recently at a party where a retired General came up to me and asked in frustration, “What is this Face book thing. EverywhereI go I hear Face book, Face book, Face book… is it a book of faces?”
Well, it is like a book of faces and much more. More accurately,it is a website where people and companies are allowed to freely create a set of pages about themselves (no technical skills required). People typically use a picture of themselves (their Face),along with a short biography. Many also upload pictures and videos to share with others. Businesses can do something similar, uploading their company logo or brand, upload photos of their products and, ofcourse, tell a little bit about their company.
What makes Facebook and similar companies unique is the ability tofollow things that are of interest to you. In the case of Facebook,it is finding friends, causes and businesses you like and attachingyourself to them. When you attach yourself to another person or to abusiness, their activity in Facebook is monitored and automaticallydisplays on your Facebook page.
This monitoring of activity of the things your friends do issometimes called aggregation. It means that you now can go toone place on the internet, your Facebook page, and there at a glanceyou will see what your friends and the business you follow or doing.You may discover a friend has uploaded some photos of a recent partyor a business may have a sale on your favorite item. The importantthing to note is you no longer have to visit multiple sites todiscover what is going on with the things you care about. Theinformation now comes to you instead of you going to it.
This ability for you to attach yourself to others is at the heartof Facebook. It is sometimes called “befriending” and it is oneof the components which makes Facebook part of another bigger buzzword showing up everywhere called “Social Media”.
Facebook is all about social media. People feeding each other newsabout what they are doing. The news in this case being of greatervalue because of the personal relationship you have with the businessor the individual involved.
So how does a business go about taking advantage of Facebook? Andwhy would you want to bother in the first place? And what does allthis have to do with the title of the article about fishing where thefish are? Let me explain using a lesson I learned growing up in alittle undeveloped fishing village.
Those who know me know when I was young I use to dive in the sea.Sometimes for seaweed, but other times for fish. We would fish usingan old umbrella my father rigged to act as a spear gun. It reallyworked! My father taught to follow the current. The secret tocatching fish is to fish where the fish are.
Well the current on the Internet is flowing into social mediaplatforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media isnot a fad. It is fundamentally transforming the way people use theinternet. So as a business you should consider creating apresence on each of those sites and providing a link from yourexisting website to that presence. That presence should be consideredas an extension of your overall marketing effort. But be careful.There are rules about how to interact as a business in these newsocial media environments that if you break them can cost you. Theyoung people in your company or organization can explain the rules.Nevertheless, follow the current.
Why? The answer is simple. That is where the fish are.
At last count, Facebook had over 500 million users. Over half of them log into their Facebook account every day. Over 65 million of them access Facebook via their mobile phone and that number keeps growing. That’s a lot of fish!
The trend is clear. If you want to market online or even viamobile, then Facebook and other social media platforms should be partof your overall long term strategy.
As always, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org