Facebook Focus

Launch 2012 (Part 8)

More Than 800,000,000 Active Users

More Than 50% of Same Active Users Log-in EVERY Day

Average User is Connected to 80 Community and/or Business Pages, Groups and Events

Average User Has 130 Friends

Yes, those are Facebook statistics, from their own statistics page (which leads me to believe they are a little low). Current numbers suggest one in every seven people in the world are on Facebook.

Why did I list them? PARTICIPATION. I'll go on. If you're only going to take the time to work with one socially driven (Linkedin doesn't count, it's B2B driven) online networking platform, Facebook is the one to choose. Why? Audience. Community. Users with a knowledge and savvy about how the platform best functions.

Google+ has been touted, and still might rise to a level of real competition with Facebook. It's not there yet. Twitter, while incredibly valuable when used correctly, still stymies a large percentage of the population. Facebook has the numbers, the ease of use (even though some people are still quite unhappy with the release of the timeline) and the atmosphere.

So, making the most of Facebook, participating and engaging can be valuable as a means of promoting your brand, your company ideals, your products and services, and even your company's value sytem. Let's continue by talking about how and why that is so.

We're going to use my personal Facebook stats to make some points. I have 631 friends. Some of you may be thinking, "that's nice, but what does it have to do with my business putting time and effort into a Facebook campaign?". I'm getting there. If I like a branded page, a business page, and proceed to like a post or comment on a post, that like or comment has the potential to be seen by 631 friends. Of course, you won't hit every one of the 631 targets, as they won't all be online at the exact moment that I take part on your page. But, say you have 100 fans, each with around 600 friends - then what happens. On any given post you have the potential to be seen by 60,000 people.

You're correct, I did say potential. You won't be seen by every one of those friends. But, can you ignore those numbers?

It requires the initial like - of your page - and then the continued likes and comments to gain access to those numbers. How do you get that initial like and build an active and participatory audience? You can invite your friends and family, but that has varying levels of success. The best way is to like other pages and take part in their activities. Like the posts on that page. Comment on that page. The page owner and/or admins will click through to see where that comment came from. If you comment as your business page, they'll go right to that page. If you comment as your personal profile, we'll hope you have your business page linked from your wall profile.

What kinds of pages should you like? If you're a smaller business, say part of a large office park, it's a good idea to like the pages of the other businesses that share the business park. It builds a connection and a sense of belonging, and those other businesses will have more impetus to name you if they're asked for a recommendation for a product or service you offer.

If you're a larger business or company, working in a more targeted or niche business, a great page for you to like would be a distant competitor. Not a direct competitor. I use the term distant to mean a company outside of your target demographic. Liking this kind of page will keep you up to date on industry news and can also build a connection should a client of that company move or should they be asked about your services by someone they know living in your area.

I'll continue to discuss Facebook best practices in future posts, so don't worry if a specific questions remains unanswered. The idea I want you to leave with after reading this post is simple and requires your time and effort. In order to build your Facebook page following you are going to have to participate. You'll have to post great content, answer questions, like fan comments, much as we discussed in our Participation is Paramount, post.

You'll also have to participate and engage with other business pages. You can't buy a mailing list. You can't ask people you've never met to like your page, sight unseen. You have to give to get. Give them your like, take part in their engagement activities, and watch your own numbers start to rise.