Day 3: Facebook

Facebook, at it’s core, is a tool for people to build reputation through education. Whether you are educating based on your experience in your trade, or sharing websites devoted to photo mash-ups of birds with human arms, you’re teaching your constituent audience about you and your place in the world. In spite of all the hoopla around Facebook as a platform, at it’s undiluted center, education is why Facebook exists

Day 3 Recap

For many of us, it doesn’t matter how we feel about Facebook. You know who is on Facebook? 

Our customers. 

And they're on Facebook in droves. They love Facebook. If you want to be found by them, you’d better get around to building a presence on Facebook. For me, people love to look at photos. If I want them to look at my photos and share them, I’d better be where people are actually looking at and sharing photos!

This is not so much a discussion about how we feel about Facebook personally. In brand-building mode, the market has limited our choices. With over 1 billion active global users on this platform, Facebook has become tough to ignore.

So when Facebook gets ugly and frivolous, it’s because we have forgotten why it exists.

There are three modes of existence on Facebook.

  • The personal account. The personal account is the standard profile for Facebook users, and the default profile that exists when you create a new account. With a personal account you are able to build 1-to–1 relationships with friends and family and begin sharing with your peers, or with the public. Sharing with your friends limits your content to only those with whom you have an approved friend relationship. Sharing publicly means your content is discoverable by those with whom you do not have a friend relationship.
  • The public figure account. Personal Facebook accounts are limited to 5,000 friends. To open that up and give individuals with larger following a chance to use Facebook for broader personal branding, they opened up the Subscriptions feature. Visit your general settings panel in Facebook and select the “Followers” option to activate and accept followers on your account. This will allow people with whom you have no prior relationship to subscribe to your public updates, as opposed to the standard Facebook function requiring you to accept or deny a friend request to make a connection. Anything you post to your friends would not be visible to subscribers—only content you mark as public. There is no limit to the number of followers you can have once you activate this feature, so for personal branders, it’s a coup.

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  • The brand page. Building a page for your brand, company, or project allows you to separate your relationship with your friends completely and build a dedicated page that is discrete from you. A brand page supports multiple administrators, meaning you’re not alone in managing and posting content on the page. With the focus that comes from a brand page, you’re able to limit the content you post to those topics truly related to the brand; if you have enough content around your brand and enough of a story to tell, creating a brand profile can be a great way to build following around your product.

Whether you build your brand around a personal account, a public figure account, or a custom brand page depends on your use case. As a photographer, I use the public figure approach and take subscribers on my personal account. However, for my podcasts, I have created a brand page that is home exclusively to those broadcasts as a place to hold discussion and other ephemera.

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As I’ve said before, Facebook is, at it’s very core, a tool designed to share personal information and build our network — Social Graph — based on the relationships that emerge. Trying to use Facebook in a way that functions too far afield from that core mission is tilting at windmills. That’s where the philosophy comes in: if you’re not comfortable with what Facebook is asking of you, it’s not the right tool for your promotion. That’s OK — remember, Facebook isn’t the center of your universe. By the time you get to a discussion of Facebook, you’ve already put your website in place and you’ve started building your search efficiency through Google tools; Facebook may simply not be a tool that fits in your unique wheelhouse.

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We talked about Facebook Advertising Analytics for brand pages, which are quite similar to the measures you see in Google’s analytics tool.

  • Targeted: The total number of people your campaign could possibly reach, based on the demographic segmentation you’ve defined in your campaign.
  • Reach: The total number of people your campaign has actually reached, meaning your ad has displayed on their page at a time in which they were looking at it. Note, that does not mean they were looking at the ad at the time, noticed the ad, or took any action on it whatsoever.
  • Social Reach: The total number of people beyond your direct connections that have seen your ad. It’s this last point that brings home the social multiplier that comes with sharing, and encouraging shares of your content.

Beyond advertising analytics, Facebook does offer some robust participation analytics on your page as well. They’ve named their tool Facebook Insights, and you can see an awful lot about your users and their behavior preferences using it. 

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In the above screenshot, for example, you can see a breakdown of people who Like this page by gender distributed by age bracket. As it turns out, males aged 18-24 are the biggest fans of our show … who knew?

From the Facebook ads section, if you visit Audience Insights, you're offered a wonderful view of behavioral characteristics of people connected to your page. Take a look at the Lifestyle data: 

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You're looking at audience segments. This segmentation data can be extremely useful, telling you not only demographic information — how old they are, where they live — but behavioral information — what they read, drive, eat, etc. Understanding this can help you better tailor your messages and posts in and outside of Facebook. 

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This information comes from Facebook's own tracking, but the methodology comes from Nielsen, the ratings company. They established the set of behavioral characteristics long ago, which you can browse today for fun using their Claritas tool. Check it out!