mark zuckerberg

Anyone can create a Facebook brand page. Or can they?

confused

I’ve learnt over the last few weeks that Facebook do not make lives easy for page managers!!

I have a wish list of things I think Facebook should do – Mark Zuckerberg, if you’re listening, take heed.

Wish number 1 – stop making things so hidden!! What I would like is a list of rules that clearly state: you can do this, you can’t do this, do this and you’ll get closed down, don’t even dream of doing this…you get the point. Credit where credit is due; it is all there, but you have to be some sort of MI5 spy to find it.

Take for example, the cover photo rules. So I know that no more than 20% of my cover photo can be text – easy enough. And I also know that I can’t have a call to action in my cover photo. But, my definition of a call to action and Facebook’s definition could be very different. It’s a term we use a lot in PR to get a community to take action – usually around a disease area or some type of health activity.  My interpretation of what the Facebook rules do not allow is some kind of ridiculously large arrow pointing to the like button…which is fair enough. I would say, two pretty different takes on the term ‘call to action’.

Then there’s all the different default settings – not letting other people share on your timeline, the notifications settings, the positioning of images…to name a few. All things you need to think carefully about – but first of all you need to know that these exist!

Wish number 2 – have insights on posts that others share to the timeline.  Whilst insights is amazing, and almost a bit freaky in terms of the data it pulls, I really would like to know how posts by others are fairing. But hey, maybe I’ve become data spoilt!

However, on the plus side, once you’ve done it once, you’ve gone through so many different scenarios, you’re a pro!

And actually, whilst there is a bit of leg work in terms of getting to grips with the settings, there are some really nice features that work so well for the kind of work we’re doing. Timeline lends itself so nicely to telling a story –  you can go right back to when you launched and call out any key milestones, share historical content and generally get your positioning out there. Who said we couldn’t rewrite history?!

Then there’s the posts themselves and all the different features – back dating, post dating, location tagging, people tagging, pinning, marking as a milestone…the list goes on. What you want your community to see, they’ll see.

And then there’s the satisfaction of hitting ‘publish’ on the page. After the blood, sweat and tears that goes into deciphering Facebook’s Ts and Cs you get to sit back and watch the notifications rack up.

If you ever need ratification of the power of social media, it gets displayed right there in front of you: content sharing, organic engagement and likes without begging for them!

So I think my conclusion is page managers need a check list as reassurance before hitting publish. And just in case Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t follow my blog,  I’m going to make one. Stay tuned! 

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A little about the Facebook updates

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Facebook seems to be announcing updates as frequently as its users are updating their statuses. But the latest one is the first one that I see as being relevant to everyone’s day-to-day use.

The main update that seems to be getting all the chatter is the change to the newsfeed. Today it was announced that no longer will there be just one news feed, you will soon be able to choose whether you are seeing the photo feed, friend list feeds, music feeds, or updates of your liked pages – the Following feed.

Who cares? Well I think it will make for a much nicer browsing experience– and I am aware I’m saying this without actually having tried it out – I think it will cut down on all the junk that our feeds have become so full of. We’ll be able to pick and choose the information we see, with the click of a button. Goodbye to the endless baby pics and hello to content that we actually choose to consume.

And for companies? Well I think there’s certainly something in the ability to choose a feed of updates from the pages you’ve liked. Perhaps we will start reverting back a little to looking at those vanity metrics of how many likes our page can get, as ultimately that means we sit in someone’s dedicated feed. Of course we could still be one amongst hundreds, but we wouldn’t be competing for attention with the photos from last Friday night…

And what about the other updates? Well there’s the appearance of the newsfeed itself – images will appear much larger, multiple shares will appear as one and the thumbnails of shared links will appear bigger with more information, making for a much easier browsing experience.

Mark Zuckerberg said at the announcement today that they are trying to give us ‘the worlds best newspaper’ and I think they might just be getting there. This is the first update in a while when I think, yes, that totally makes sense. We are moving to a much more visual word where images are now telling the stories that our words once did. When time is now our luxury, we are ever more selective with how we choose to spend it online. And Facebook is now slotting nicely into these behaviours. Well done Facebook. Well done.

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So where did you two meet?

heart blog

I truly believe that social media has changed how we behave as a society. ‘That’s ridiculous!’ I hear you cry. But let me explain.  Over the last ten years as social media has grown to what it has become today, the way in which we interact with people has changed. And I don’t mean that we now interact online – it actually goes beyond this. Look at our offline behaviour and how the online versions of us have become our reality.

I think a perfect example that demonstrates my point is when you look at online dating. I remember a time not so long ago when admitting to having met someone online was very much taboo. If at all possible, you’d try and quickly think of an alternative story when someone asked ‘so where did you two meet?’ But now, it’s no different to meeting someone in a bar on a Friday night. It is no longer judged, but commonly accepted as part of the dating process of the 21st century.

Even greater than this is the way that social media now adds value and credibility to our offline lives. By this I mean the way in which popularity is now the number of friends/followers/connections, and the number of likes you can get on a post. Being opinionated is triggering 50 comments on a post and evoking heated debate. Cool is now being the social media hipster (check out this video of these hipsters +50 years) who shares that awesome content that you haven’t seen yet. ‘Did you see the video Lauren posted last night?’ ‘Yeah, where does she find this cool stuff?’

Social media by its very nature gives us access to people that ordinarily we may not interact with on a daily basis. It’s changed our expectations in terms of social interaction, the opinions we form of people we are yet to meet, and our perceptions of human behaviour. It has made us more informed and taken away almost all elements of surprise. Before we meet someone – either on a professional basis or a personal one – we will almost certainly have looked at their respective LinkedIn or Twitter handle. And if they don’t have one? Well, we begin to question whether we should be meeting them at all!

I wonder if sat in his college dorm room Mark Zuckerberg ever imagined he would be shaping societal behaviour? Can we go back and find the time where our online lives began to shape our offline lives? To our offline and online selves: ‘so where did you two meet’?

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