Facebook is an excellent social networking tool for Public Relations. Many of the features integrated into Facebook can be used to advertise events or products without being too intrusive. Here are some quick and easy ways to market to your friends on Facebook:
- Creating Facebook Groups: This application is perfect if you want to promote a company or a non-profit organization. The Facebook groups application is by default activated on every Facebook user’s profile. Most people have at least two or three groups that they are a part of. It is pretty easy to get Facebook users to join groups; all you have to do is create the group and invite people on your friends list to your group. The invitations that you send out through the group are low pressure. Facebook does not notify you when somebody declines your invitation making group invitations non-intrusive.
- Creating Facebook Events: Facebook Events are similar to Facebook groups except that they’re usually used to promote one time events, such as Magazine Release parties or casual social gatherings. Events are great because they can be used in tandem with Facebook Groups. If you are the owner of a group, you can make an event where the group is the sponsor and, with the click of only one button, invite everyone in your group to your event. When setting up an event, you select a start and end time for the event. Facebook will notify users who have confirmed they are attending your event on Facebook when the event is drawing near.
- Posting a website: I feel like this is a Facebook application that people haven’t yet realized the full potential of. Facebook members who find interesting websites can “post” them on their Facebook profile. The poster’s friends will see the website that was posted in Facebook’s news feed that shows up every time a person logs on. This also works with Facebook groups and events; highlight the event or group’s URL and paste it like you would a web page.
- Facebook Pages: This will probably be the most controversial Facebook marketing tactic. Pages is an application that Facebook created in 2007 to be used in conjunction with Facebook Advertisements (check out their Facebook Pages blog post) . A page is created similar to that of a normal Facebook profile except that the page represents a company or a non-profit instead of a person. A page has a larger profile image, an about box, the ability to create notes and post items, and a wall for people to write on. I feel like the pages application has two drawbacks. The first is that you have to add the application in order to be able to view a Facebook Page. The second is that pages is not nearly as established as Facebook groups are. Nearly everybody checks out what groups a person joins; almost nobody looks at their Facebook pages. Having said that, you can post your page on your profile and create events for your page just like you can a Facebook group. Tiffany Derville at the PR Post and Tim at Tim’s Blog discuss the pros and cons of Facebook groups and pages, while the author of Uncontrolled Vocablulary talks about how hard it is for people to switch over from groups to pages.
Of course, establishing rapport with your audience is essential to making any of the above marketing tactics work; otherwise, people will not pay attention to whatever you’re inviting them to or posting on your Facebook profile.
There are many more ways to market on Facebook. If you have any tactics you like to use that aren’t listed, or if you disagree with anything I’ve posted, please feel free to discuss it in the comments section.