It has definitely been an addictive and somewhat indulgent pastime – with 68 million active users worldwide, 65 billion page views per month, and Canada as the third largest country with 7 million users.
So I found it interesting when told that Facebook was in fact “old news.” So in the spirit of debunking Facebook’s existence in a previous post, I now find myself defending its contribution to the world of PR & Communications.
Has Facebook actually passed its prime? And here I was thinking its momentum had only begun.
Two questions came to mind:
1. What has Facebook actually contributed to the world of PR & Communications?
2. If our beloved Facebook has fallen as the next best trend in the Communications world, where can it go from here?
In trying to discern a more practical and legitimate use for it, I became increasingly curious about the role of Facebook in PR Practices and have chosen three areas to briefly examine.
PUBLIC RELATIONS & MARKETING
In the 9th installment in the “PR-Squared’s Social Media Tactics Series” by Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications, he highlights the use of social media practices including FB, in current and up-to-date PR & Marketing practices.
Defren outlines relevant and useful FB groups recommended to PR pros, highlighting new social media forms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as forms of social media measurement. Also mentioning mainstream publications with an FB presence, and popular reporters with FB profiles. Defrens says,
“In other words, whether you’re reaching out to bloggers, consumers or mainstream media, Facebook probably should be a consideration.”
He also outlines strategies to using FB and provides a useful slide outline “Facebook Group Rules of Outreach”, which seems intuitive, but still probably requires mentioning.
The series also mentions the use of other forms of social media such as, blogging, twittering, social bookmarking like del.icio.us, RSS feeds and podcasts – used as marketing tactics for highlighting news releases for example. So perhaps alone FB would be less effective, but in combination with other forms of social media – a powerful social media cocktail.
UNVEILING ‘THE CORPORATION’ & EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS
From the post “Putting a Face on Social Networks: Corporate Facebook Pages”, by Dan Greenfield of Bernaise Source, he highlights what the corporate FB page does, and examines the dynamic of that platform.
With the emphasis this type of corporate transparency, Greenfield says,
“Corporate FB pages and social networks serve different audiences and different purposes. They both however are intended to engage customers in a conversation and leverage the power of the network to have users virally spread the word.”
Clearly this exposure explores how ‘the corporation’ has assumed a new sense of responsibility, as well as become more targeted regarding their publics. And it also it bears repeating, corporations have been forced to become more accountable for their actions and forced to both interact and disclose their practices to their public.
Greenfield highlights corporations such as Paramount Pictures, Lush Cosmetics and CBS Sports who use FB to connect with their target audiences. He also highlights success stories of small businesses taking advantage of FB and actively engaging in viral marketing.
His conversations with communicators Blockbuster, Verizon Wireless, Sprite discloses their strategies for success. Greenfield also outlines his own strategies for success using FB, and asks pertinent questions. Again, may be somewhat intuitive – but are very useful and relevant.
THE FUTURE – WHAT’S NEXT?
There could be a thousand conversations about the future of social media, here are a few:
An article published by the editors at Inside CRM shared a series of itemized reasons supporting FB outlining, advertising tips, marketing opportunities, ways businesses can use tools & applications, ways to target your demographic, how-to guides, small business strategies, the dangers of FB and miscellaneous resources.
A word from the creator himself, in an article by Caroline McCarthy of CNET News.com posted on Australia’s ZDNet.com.au, Mark Zuckerberg admits that the way to compete is to keep innovating and says,
“I think that what we’re watching out for is not one specific company, but just how the whole trend goes and what our role is going to be.”
After absorbing quite a bit of information – I’ve come to the conclusion that FB is not really dying. There is emphasis on other forms of social media, but FB almost always has a presence.
It’s definitely relevant and definitely current, has contributed substantially to the world of PR & Communications, and can be considered a valid part of an intricate web of tools for future communicators – as long as it adapts to the next wave of social media trends. Not “old news” at all!