35 bookmarkable links to help you use Facebook better

by Dan Slee

So, in the four months since we started Comms2point0 we’ve read and wrote quite a lot.

We’ve posted more than 1,000 links on Twitter and we’ve posted a couple of dozen posts on our fine website too.

Now we’re getting a bit excited about this Facebook event we’re helping with we thought it a pretty good idea to take a look back at some of the things we’ve written and linked to about this behemoth of a platform.

Like it or not, it’s here to stay for a while and it’s not a case of ‘if’ we use Facebook, it’s ‘how.’

We’ve re-arranged the links we’ve spotted and liked in a bit of order just to help you navigate your way. Because we’re like that.

Starting out?

If you’re planning to use social media it needs to be joined up to the offline things too. Otherwise it’ll be wrong before you start. You’ll need to think about whether or not to use it and if you think it’s a golden bullet you’ll probably be wrong. You’ll need to think about the relative merits of each platform. Maybe even as doughnuts.

You may need some deeper background reading that you’ll need time and a cup of coffee to mull over like this one. Or this one on predictions that most US newspapers won’t exist in five years.

You’ll also need to dispel a few myths to remove obstacles that get put in your way. You may even feel a bout of ‘trend fear’ and worry that there’s stuff out there you need to know that you just don’t know.

You may want to think about the advice from SOCITM about opening up social media access.

You may even be working for a forward thinking organisation that has opened-up social media access.

You may want to take a look at these good collected examples of local government using Facebook.

Okay so can you amaze me with Facebook stats?

There’s a rather terrific UK infographic that talks about Facebook and TV. About how the average user spends six hours a month on Facebook, how seven out of 10 Britons have an account and 73 per cent would rather be on Facebook than watching TV. You can see it right here.

There’s also some rather good UK Facebook stats here with more than 30 million accounts. Amazingly, Burberry with 10 million likes is top brand.

More people get their news from Facebook than Twitter, according to this research.

How about a broad approach?

You may want to think about a broad approach and the things that work best in social media.

You’ll need to look at digital marketing trends to see if what you are doing is relevant.

Facebook is a pretty regulated place. Mention keywords and you’ll find yourself in trouble.

So, how do I get started?

The excellent Mashable is a good place to start. There’s a stack of resources to read, study and digest. Online training people Learning Pool also have a good guide if you are using Facebook in the public sector or third sector.

Think about what you are looking to communicate. Don’t be tempted to fall into the JRR Tolkein trap of one to rule them all. Don’t have one Facebook page. Have lots. Make them really, really niche.

There’s lots of advice out there. If you are representing an organisation then a page is where you’ll want to be. Don’t be tempted to create a profile and shoehorn your organisation’s name in. It’s against Facebook’s terms and conditions. You’ll get taken down.

Once you’ve put the basics up, think of how you’ll get it started. Inviting your friends is always a
good idea. It creates an instant network. But try and limit it to people who you know will be interested.

Men use social media differently. As this research shows, women are more likely to talk about a brand and discuss it online. Not only that but a careless update may cost you your job in future.

Once you are set up, don’t be tempted to auto-post via a third party. The chances are your comments will dip as Facebook doesn’t really like third party applications.

You’ll need to know what parts of Facebook are most popular. As this study shows, it’s pictures and profiles that help get people engaged. Not just the newsfeed.

In fact, not just pictures but calls to action too.

Facebook case studies

For making a dull subject interesting and really connecting the landmark and brilliant Icelandic constitution Facebook page really take some beating.

You can read Claire Bustin on how Sandwell Council used Facebook as part of their comms strategy for Snow Champions.

You can read Helen Reynolds on how Monmouthshire County Council are using Facebook well.

You can read Dawn Groundsell on how Friends of the Lake District used Facebook as part of a wider strategy.

You may want to look at how Ally Hook pioneered the Coventry City Council approach to good Facebook use.

But look outside of the public sector. There’s great examples in the private sector too. Look at this Intel case study.

The future?

Things on Facebook are always evolving. Timelines for pages are the next step.

Al Smith’s work on going off the Facebook page and into the wilds of the platform and talk to people on protest groups is timeless stuff.

Besides which, it’s fine to have a Facebook page. What we all really need to do is get out of the comfort zone and take a look at talking to people in their own groups and pages.

A rather fine event

The event we’re helping with Facebook for the Public Sector staged by Public Sector Forum with Comms2point0 is held on March 14 from 10am to 4.30pm at Birmingham City Football Club. With some of the best cutting edge case studies from the sector this is a chance to get up to speed on the best in class. We’re a bit proud of it and it would be rather lovely to see you there and say hello there. You can find out more here.

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