Archives for posts with tag: facebook pages

Thinking about social media in terms of apps and virality goes against what’s best about this technology. The beauty of platforms like Facebook is that brands and people can have a social exchange, not just a business exchange.

But this only happens when you have humans assigned to monitor the web and respond on behalf of your brand. It doesn’t happen through Facebook apps, Twitter contests or YouTube videos. Those things might supplement a campaign, but they are not a social media strategy and they are not a substitute for quality community management.

What Is Community Management?

Community managers maintain a brand’s presence online, sharing content and responding to feedback. This usually includes making posts to the company Facebook page and replying to tweets, but should not leave out monitoring and commenting on blogs, YouTube and other places where your brand is mentioned.

Community managers simultaneously serve the people and the brand, understanding the two aren’t at odds and finding ways to provide value to both.

Why Is Community Management Important?

Community managers allow companies and individuals to relate in a very human way, a connection that is not possible through mass marketing. Think about the love and loyalty people feel toward certain restaurants, salons or cruise lines. People feel stronger about these services than they do about products because of the human difference.

Apple brilliantly created Apple Stores with ‘Geniuses’ to help you find new products and fix your old ones. Forget the “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” ads; this gives you the clearest idea what type of person Apple is and creates a deeper connection to the brand than someone would get buying a laptop from a general electronics store. A person might have a great experience buying a Dell at Best Buy and return when they need a new computer, but their loyalty is then likely stronger to the store than to Dell.

The point is human interaction does the most to affect how we feel about companies. Social media platforms give all brands the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with people and turn any product into a service. For instance, Kotex uses its Facebook page to answer questions about women’s health.

For now, good community management is something that will set a company apart. Think of the attention Southwest has gotten for their diligence on Twitter. Most people are still surprised and delighted when a company responds to them via social media, but soon it will be an expectation.

All the apps and contests and Facebook ads can’t replace the benefits of human interaction. Companies need to invest in community management.

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I like to keep my Facebook Wall tidy. I delete all those one-line stories about pages I like, photos I comment on, walls I write on, etc. I used to have to X each of these stories out one-by-one. Then I got the Better Facebook plugin, which let me delete them at all once. Now Facebook itself is offering the option to not only delete the all activity, but to prevent future stories of this type completely. As a user, I appreciate this.

As a brand marketer, not as much. Part of the rationale for certain types of posts is knowing that fan actions have visibility to the rest of those people’s networks. Beyond aiming to please fans, I want my posts to get likes and comments so that my page gets more organic impressions. If Facebook makes it easier for users to hide all this activity in advance, the network effect is reduced.

Though I wonder if Facebook is still showing this activity in my friends’ News Feeds, just not displaying it on my wall…


Things are looking up for brand marketers on Facebook. Last year was a major one for new products and changes to enhance the user experience, occasionally at the expense of marketers. But beta tests and launches of new Page admin features indicate that Facebook is focusing on improving the experience for advertisers and community managers in 2011. A new advertising platform and tools for Page activity notifications and analytics could help improve moderation and promote engagement.

Facebook’s big announcement last week was Sponsored Stories, a new ad format that allows brands to highlight organic News Feed items, such as Likes and checkins, to increase the chances friends see these stories and take actions to connect with the brand.

It’s too early to know how well these will work, but the announcement suggests Facebook’s self-serve ad platform will be getting a much needed update in the next few weeks. The interface for creating ads is not as functional as it could be, and the ad preview is outdated since Facebook changed the layout of profiles. Facebook advertisers should look forward to improvements for both ad creation and reporting.

Page Insights have already gotten an upgrade this year, with admins now able to easily select a date range for data. There’s also a movement toward real-time impressions data for posts. Page admins will be served well if this is part of a greater push to provide more up-to-date analytics. Page Insights are often a day or two behind.

On the community management side, a major new feature will be the ability to receive notifications about fan activity on a page. (Some admins got a preview of this when a bug accidentally revealed prototype features in December.) Admins of popular pages know how hard it is to keep track of new comments and posts. Third-party apps don’t track all activity, but Facebook’s pending feature is likely to be more complete.

Other things Facebook has in the works include a top posts filter for pages and a new way to promote page updates in the latest Facebook Messages product.

On Friday, the company redesigned the interface for creating new pages, further signaling that Facebook is putting more thought toward the experience of people who use Facebook for business.

2011 could be the year admins have been waiting for.

As the year comes to a close and I reflect on the work I’ve done, I can’t help but think about how different Facebook was at the start of 2010.

Facebook’s own timeline isn’t very helpful, except to show that Facebook gained 200 million users since December 2009.  Even Flowtown, maker of many great infographics, failed to show just how much Facebook did this year. That’s why I put together this comprehensive, but probably still not complete, timeline of Facebook in 2010.

Some changes helped marketers, others seemed to be direct attacks against us. The introduction of the Open Graph Protocol and social plugins like the Like Button have, in only a few months, begun to reshape the face of the web. With Places and Deals, we have major new features to incorporate in our campaigns. We have more analytics about the Pages we manage and the apps we implement. We can share larger photos and Like our fans’ comments. And Facebook ad targeting is becoming increasingly more effective.

There were many other additions, tweaks and redesigns that have changed the way we all consume and interact with Facebook. It’s mind-blowing to think of what next year could hold.

But I’m excited to find out.

Facebook Timeline 2010

January

February

March

April

May

  • Added ability to create Events from the homepage
  • Launched 0.facebook.com, a simplified mobile version of the site that can be accessed free to international users with certain carriers
  • Changed the privacy settings dashboard in wake of controversy from the Open Graph and Instant Personalization announcements (Facebook claims to have simplified the process for controlling privacy, but the interface still needs work)

June

July

August

September

October

November

  • Announced Single Sign-On, which is like Facebook Connect for mobile apps
  • Introduced Deals, an addition that lets businesses offer coupons or other deals to people checking in with Facebook Places
  • Announced new Messages product, which combines text, chat and email to make communication more seamless. This feature has not been released to all users.

December