Monday, July 1, 2013

Social Media: The Basics Part 2 (Facebook)

Facebook provides an opportunity for people to see who you really are as you interact with friends, family members and colleagues. This sets the stage for you to build stronger, more immediate relationships with them. Currently, Facebook is the undisputed leader of social media, but that could change over time. It was originally created as a tool to let college students share personal information about themselves. The emphasis remains on self-expression and personal interaction. Each member has a profile that includes:
  • Cover photo
  • About (contact number, email, birthday, location, activities, interests, etc.)
  • Timeline (posts made by the user and by Facebook friends)
Facebook also gives you the ability to send messages, play online games, and use other applications. Facebook is used to:
  • Communicate with friends and family members
  • Share opinions
  • Provide updates on friends and family members
  • Share photos and videos
  • Plan meetings and events
  • Send birthday and holiday wishes
  • Recommend restaurants, travel destinations
  • Promote charitable causes and events
Here are some helpful Facebook tips.

Use Facebook lists to customize your audience. Lists allow you to organize your friends on Facebook so you can determine who gets to see the information you post or that is posted to your Facebook timeline. For example, I have four Facebook lists -- relatives, close friends, coworkers and acquaintances. 

Posting for the sake of posting can hurt your chances of being seen. Let's face it. Nobody really cares about what you had for breakfast unless you had something really unusual. Make sure your posts are tuned in to the psychology of your followers. Your posts should naturally prompt your followers to share your content

Try not to use the word "I" too much. Too many "I" statements can come across as egotistical. Keep the focus on your viewers rather than on yourself. The second you post something that is not engaging or relevant, EdgeRank will stop amplifying your posts and placing them in your friends' newsfeeds. What is EdgeRank? EdgeRank is Facebook's algorithm that personalizes users' newsfeeds and inserts posts it thinks will interest them. In other words, if users or their friends are interacting with you on a fairly frequent basis, you show up; if not, you get dropped. Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm rewards pages in the newsfeed based on the number of interactions a page receives. An interaction can be a summary of "Likes," posts, or comments about the page. 

To show up in as many users' top newsfeeds as possible, your content must be fresh, engaging, current and compelling. Visual content is critical to sharing and maintaining EdgeRank. On Facebook, people love sharing visual content, so make sure that you are leveraging something that is visually stimulating.

How do you increase interaction and sharing? To boost interaction, you need to post compelling content more often and try to engage people in a two-way dialogue. More than 70% of interactions occur during the first hour after a post is made. Keep your interactions up by posting more often and by being online and available right after you post. In other words, don't post and go to bed. A post posed as a "question" tends to drive more interaction than one written as a statement.  

It's important to never lose sight of the image you want to present so be careful about what you choose to post. People have lost job opportunities after employers viewed their social media content. As a general rule, if you think your content would make your parents feel uncomfortable, don't post it! 

Facebook plans to launch a new feature called Graph Search. Graph Search lets you search your Facebook social graph for people, places, photos and interests. With the new search engine, users will be able to ask specific questions, such as "which of my friends attended Indiana University?" I plan to use this new application to find out if any of my Facebook friends (or their friends) attended any of the colleges is interested in exploring. Graph Search is also integrated with Microsoft's Bing, meaning it will offer web search results if it can't find anything useful in your graph.

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