Facebook continues to offer significant opportunity along with significant frustration for businesses. Here are a couple of recent posts that illustrate the point.
The View from 20,000 Fans (I Refuse to Say Likers)
Maggie McGary over on Mizz Information offers some details on the experience of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) with its Facebook page. The ASHA Facebook page has organically (i.e., with no significant promotion) attracted more than 20,000 fans and the big ROI is that Facebook has become a “HUGE source of traffic” to the organization’s Web site.
Maggie doesn’t really dig into the reasons for Facebook being a great traffic source, but given that (a) ASHA focuses on issues that impact a large number of people, (b) that the issues are of the sort that attract people seeking information as well as others with similar issues, and (c) that ASHA itself may not yet be well known as a resource to a significant portion of those people it makes sense that presence in a broad social network could attract new eyes back to the organization. The fact that human interest stories and content relevant to students has tended to attract the most attention on the page would seem to support this view.
Before moving on to the next post, it is worth emphasizing Maggie’s final bullet about the success of the page:
The success of the page is totally dependent on daily tending. During the month-long period when I left to take another job and the page was pretty dormant, traffic to the page and to ASHA website from the page plummeted. Especially if your’e not relying on Facebook ads to direct people to your page, the only way people are going to be aware of it is if they see updates from your company in their News Feed. The only way to make that happen is frequent posts to the page.
The lesson I take away from her post is that Facebook may be a great traffic driver for your Web site if, like ASHA, you serve a broad audience of information seekers and you can leverage the network to create awareness, but like everything else in life and business, you don’t get something for nothing – you have to keep the content flowing. (See also my earlier thoughts on Facebook fan page success.)
Read Maggie’s Post: The View from 20,000 Fans (I Refuse to Say Likers)
An Open Letter to Facebook
Now for the darker side. I posted a while back on the issue of not being able to transfer ownership of a Facebook page. Apparently I hit a nerve, as that post has attracted a lot of comments. Today, via @ConversationAge, I noticed that Tamar Weinberg has taken Facebook to task not just for this issue but for a whole range of other offenses that make the platform frustrating for business use. I won’t try to summarize here – just go and read Tamar’s full post if you are using or plan to use Facebook for your business. You need to know about these issues.
I’d like to say the lesson here is that there is an opportunity for someone or some company to knock Facebook off it’s throne when it comes to social networking for businesses, but Facebook has so much momentum now, it’s hard to imagine that happening. Still, no one thought that MySpace would fall so fast either. If Facebook doesn’t start addressing these issues soon, it would be surprising if Google – just to pick the most obvious choice – didn’t make some sort of play.
Read Tamar’s Post: An Open Letter to Facebook
P.S. – It was great to see Maggie’s post about an association. I am still looking for case studies involving small business Facebook success, though. Please share ’em if you’ve got ’em!