Today I’m going to be talking about an element of Facebook that most people don’t see, the management of a â€˜business page,’ or what they call a Public Profile. I’ll give you my thoughts, and then we’ll hear a bit of an interview I conducted at SXSW with Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com, and Helen Todd from TheKBuzz.com.
Download the interview from iTunes, or play it below:
When Facebook changed the way its business pages worked this spring, there was the usual outrage that follows any website redesign. But I think it’s changed for the better.
With 200 million people now using the social media service, there are plenty of individual accounts in action. But in addition to my personal Facebook page, I also help maintain the Wired Facebook page, at Facebook.com/wired.
This allows a company such as us to establish a brand presence on the service. The new change means it works much the same way as your personal page, as we are able to upload photos, videos, and update our status, but fans can â€˜follow us.’ Actually, it sounds a bit like Twitter.
For Wired, we’ve decided rather than use just a simple W logo for our main profile image, we’d swap out the new magazine cover each month. We’ve uploaded photos of everything from Happy Hours and Launch Parties to Music Spotlites and special Wired speakers to our Wired Photo galleries.
What I’ve really enjoyed the most, is finding cool stories to post to our wall. Under the new model, our wall posts appear directly in our fan’s news feed, and users are able to vote up something they like and leave comments. In this way, we’ve seen hundreds of our 15,000+ fans give us valuable feedback on the stories we’ve chosen.
I usually try to pick something regarding social media, and the most interesting stories on Wired that day. Since recent studies have shown that users are spending more time on social media sites like Facebook vs. in their email clients, it’s possible during a busy day that they also didn’t get to check in on the Wired.com frontpage. In this manner, they can see a cool story while watching the updates of other friends and family.
I try to include a photo with each story, which gets uploaded automatically to our Wall Photos. That’s given us a quite a diverse listing there, from Star Trek comics to Ford Mustangs to rotting apples.
One logistic that users might be interested to know, is that you don’t log into the Facebook business page with a separate account. For example, rather than logging in with some kind of Wired Admin account, the staff at Wired logs in with their individual accounts, and then are given admin access.
This often makes it very confusing, as you’re logged in with your personal credentials and updating the Wired page, but as soon as I click over to a header such as â€˜Friends’ or â€˜Profile,’ I’m brought to my own account. This definitely causes some extra attention as you make sure not to cross up any updates, but somehow it works.
Along those lines, they just released an important new bug fix in this area. After I posted a story on Wired’s wall as a Wired admin, often a dialog would develop. At times I wanted to jump in to reply to a user that had a specific question, but the default was that my personal account would be commenting back.
In that case, I would have to explain who I was and that I was the admin, which would be difficult to prove and confusing. But as of late April, after posting something on the Wired wall, any comments are shown as coming from the Wired account.
How can companies use Facebook?
You can do contests, you can drive them to content, you can try to sell them something, or you can talk about special events. But the most obvious is just keeping an open line of communication with their fans. Like we try to do with Wired, it’s best to keep a balance of useful information, and avoid constant marketing pitches. You should treat these fans as your best users. For example, our Facebook page is the first place that we announce when new magazine content is up, and we recently posted a Star Trek comic 4 days before it was available online.
I’ve found that it’s become the middle ground with communicating with our users.
– For something short and timely, we use Twitter
– For something brief but less timely, we can use our Wired monthly newsletter
– For an indepth story, that’s a blog post
– Which leaves Facebook, where you can respond quickly, be interactive, say something longer than a Twitter post, and include links, photos, or videos.
In the interview, we talk about
– What happens when you meet someone who is not yet on Facebook
– The “registered friend density” and “registration threshold” to new users on Facebook
– The “Geek Squad for Social Media”
– The story how Coca-Cola got their Facebook page, and the smart way they embraced the users that built it
– The unique shift in how brand pages are being used on Facebook, and what smart companies are doing with them
– The most important thing an individual user needs to know about Facebook
– The most important thing a company needs to know when building community on Facebook
Nick O’Neill’s AllFacebook.com
Helen Todd’s TheKBuzz.com