This tool has become a huge marketing platform for those that use it effectively; however Facebook can also negate a company’s hard work in brand enhancement if it is not done correctly. From a business perspective there are two options on Facebook, a page or a group.
The Facebook page allows one to create a specific profile (in this case this would be the business page), providing one with an Identity that members and other users can become fans of. By a user becoming a fan they will be able to follow updates made by a business on their profile page. Added to this is that friends of these fans will see that they have become fans which may encourage them to become fans and so on and so forth.
A website could use Facebook pages to one promote their organizations branding, and try to differentiate it from other similar businesses, by disseminating important information quickly.
Facebook Groups, carry a similarity to Facebook Pages, the difference is they are built around a group of people rather than your business or your brand. You must be a member of Facebook to create a Facebook Group.
You can use Facebook Groups to create awareness, but they do not have the feature that allows users to become fans, they only become members. The downfall of this is it will not share as much information with friends of “group” members as they interact with the group. However this may not be that big an issue if the group is being used to communicate specific issues to users.
Twitter is a free service that allows anyone to say almost anything to anybody in 140 characters or less – it’s what you doing right now, kind of micro-blogging that permeates online social communication. From a business perspective it can be used for the following:
- A way to connect and network with others in the industry or others who share similar views.
- A way to get instant access to what’s being said, this minute about, people, products, or online brands.
- A steady stream of ideas, content, links, resources, and tips focused on a specific area of expertise or interest.
- Monitor what’s being said about customers to help protect brand identity.
- Extend the reach of business leadership – blog posts and other content.
However maintaining a twitter account can be a time consuming process and ideally one would not respond to every tweet, also a Twitter account should be accessible to multiple staff members so that more than one user can respond. The big risk is ensuring the tone, and language is consistent with every tweet. Also there are many tools out there to simplify and assist with the tweeting process.
Some organisations are using twitter for supportive purposes.There are many sites out there that provide more in-depth details on how to effectively use twitter for business purposes.
Other social media solutions
OpenText, as do many other vendors, provide their own Social Media tools to accommodate many of the features mentioned above including Blogs, Wiki’s, forums, videos podcast sharing, Micro blogging, and Social bookmarking. All of this can be moderated and analyzed to ascertain the effectiveness and trends when using Web 2.0 (Social media) tools. A business needs to understand what drives the users and what they see as important to them so that content and services can be tailored to suit these requirements.