The Facebook Platform

4 minute read

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Hello!

Having recently joined Sign-Up.to as “Media Coordinator” one of the areas I will be looking at is how we can use social networks as a marketing tool and more importantly how we can synchronise content across the various platforms.

The need to promote across these platforms is instantly apparent: nearly 80% of UK web users are signed up to a social network and Facebook is one of the most widely used.

As Neil mentioned last week Facebook have made a change to the way fan pages are handled. This was part of a wider change to the Facebook platform and has many benefits, two of which Neil touched on in his post. Firstly the ability to create cohesion between Facebook and other platforms makes my job a lot easier, by linking the page status to Twitter it means that they can both be updated at the same time and thanks to the recent changes to Facebook this can now be done from a desktop application.

The second benefit is that these status updates and in fact, anything that happens on the page, is instantly added into the live feed on all of the fans’ home pages and they are free to comment on or “like” any update. This then adds the item to their profile which can be seen by their friends, therefore pushing the content to a wider audience.

Another way we can make the most of this technology is to link an RSS feed to the Notes section on the page. This will pull in external content, for example from a WordPress blog, and create a feed item for each update, bringing the blog to a wider audience and keeping the brand feed active.

As well as allowing external applications to access the API to post updates Facebook has thrown open the doors to Google and other search engines to allow indexing of status updates and other page content. This is at the users discretion and by default they are hidden but by opting in to this change the content of the page feed will be indexed by Google and will appear in search results.

This is a much needed change which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on page views but the best way to increase the Facebook fan base is to interact with the existing fans. There are several ways to do this, some examples would be tagging audience members in photos and videos after a gig or show, inviting fans to comment on status updates  through the use of open ended questions and using events as a call to action for product launches or asset blasts. These are all great ways of involving your fans and keeping your feed fresh, as well as pushing your content into the friends of friends feeds as I mentioned earlier.

There are other viral marketing opportunities available through Facebook. Any application that is created and added to the page can be used by the fans of this page on their own profiles. By creating an app that pulls in HTML content from an external source it is possible to create a viral advert which would sit on fan’s profiles and can be changed to reflect the latest promotions.

Next time I will talk more about Facebook and the options available for customising pages in order to turn page views into new fans. Speaking of which, did you know that Sign-Up.to are on Facebook? Check out our page!

Thanks,

> Gareth.

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