Conclusion


Conclusion

Facebook is like a big happy online jamboree tales, we are all drawing our pictures on this big stage.  As facebook can interact with consumers and customers, and know their behaviour , and also can get  quick feedbacks and responses. As a business technology, facebook is successful.  Because facebook has its fan page and group page which is efficient and economical.

By comparison, phone and email business is expensive and cumbersome. Secondly, it is incredibly useful  that Facebook’s  photo feature is embedded in a broader social network. Also Facebook can connect to other   social networks , so Facebook users can easily access to other social network websites from Facebook, without setting up more that one accounts.  Finally, I’ve been noticing that Facebook is beginning to displace Evite as the preferred vehicle for party invitations among my friends. This is another case where having a pre-existing social network is a huge advantage.

But at the same time, Facebook also has been through its shortages and risks, such as its privacy problem, unstable social information for some high-requirement level business issues.

All in all, facebook as a successful business tool is getting more and more popular while we are hoping to see its improvement for business in social media environment.

Here are some tips for people who want to create their business on facebook:

  1. set up your fan page profile picture :  this picture can be updated frequently on the different sale season or new product/ theme coming. This is the first step to give facebook users the first impression about who you are.
  2. Remember to have your company website link and the introduction about your business on your profile page
  3. upload photos of your products or something relevant to your business
  4. update the statuses frequently: so people will notice your business and know the latest news
  5. build a good friendship with other facebook business users and build links with each other
  6. organize some social events and invite people to join , then upload those photos of your business activities to gain the trust and interests.
  7. Be active and interactive with updating status and involved in discussion
  8. be creative and innovative

Why is Facebook chosen as an advertising and promotional platform?

With well over 400 million active Facebook accounts used to communicate with friends or to extend the network there are many reasons for companies to use Facebook as an advertising and promotional platform. Based on the definition on what it means to be a successful business too and the judgment of Facebook as a social media promotional tool we were able collate information from various interviews, research from the Internet, academic books, journals and case studies to provide a respectable answer.

There is a research study called ‘2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report’ done by Michael A. Stelzner who is Founder, SocialMediaExaminer.com. This study is about how social media is a tool for marketing. In terms of the results of this report, most of the people think that social media can generate exposure for their businesses and reduce the marketing expenses. On the other hand, they think social media can help in building new partnerships and rise in research rankings. Almost all interviewees agreed that Facebook can generate exposure for their business within such a short period. Half of the interviewees were able to look for new business partnership within few months using Facebook as marketing tool. Moreover, they thought social media can achieve selling to other businesses more than to their customers. Furthermore, they all thought social media can reduce marketing cost both on selling to businesses or customers.

1. Easy networking and communication tool

First of all, Facebook is an easy networking and communication tool for everyone. Compared with other social media platforms, Facebook is more user-friendly communication tool. According to some statistics from Gigya a company can share widgets on more than 5,000 content sites; people can click a share button on these sites and send an article link, photo, or video via a menu of different services including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace. There are also some statistics about items that people share. Facebook dominate with about three quarters of all shared items between different social media website such as Twitter, MySpace and Yahoo. That means Facebook is a service that allows sharing information to be easy.

People can update his or her recent life easily by just uploading photos, videos, status, and links. In additional, they can communicate with each other by using wall, inbox message and pop-up chat box. There is a function called ‘News Feed’ which provides updated information that includes profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays, among other updates. Also, there is a function for Facebook Page which is Facebook Insight. According to Facebook Help Centre, it will measure reach (e.g., impressions, clicks), viral impact (e.g., fan adds), responder insights (e.g., gender and age), and engagement (e.g., video plays and wall posts) of visitors to the Page. The benefit of using Facebook Insights is free, regular, detailed updates on the growth of the page. Therefore, business companies can know detailed analytic about the demographics of their fans and amount of the fans interacting with the Page.

2. User popularity

Due to Facebook being user-friendly, there are many people utilizing it as their communication tool with their friends. According to a Google release on Web Traffic data on 28 May 2010 “Facebook is the King” when it comes to online visitors despite its criticism about privacy within the social media sphere. Currently there are around 540 million accounts (active and non-active), which is slightly more than 25 percent of the Internet population. Within these 540 million accounts, there are 350 million active users. In a research report from Nielsen Scan done in October 2009, the number if Australians accessing social media sites has continued to grow in the past year, with unique audience for Australia’s most popular social media site, Facebook, surpassing eight million for the first time August 2009. According to Melanie Ingrey who is Director of Market Research of Nielsen, social media was always going to be success story, but the range of that success has made many people by surprise. Ingrey states, “To see a category double its time online numbers in a year, off what was already a considerable base, is truly phenomenal and the mind boggles at where we can go from here.” And as customer demand for social media continues to increase advertising and PR agencies are looking for ways to help their clients stay in touch with online customers. Based on ‘Top 50 Australian Websites June/July 2009’, Facebook was ranked fourth as the one of Top 50 Australian websites. Due to many users of Facebook, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to market their products and services to their customers and also attract new customers.

3. Instant customer engagement

Facebook can provide instant customer engagement for companies. Businesses can interact with customers by setting up a Page. Facebook provides a platform to present multi-media information to their customers such as photos, video, latest updates and events. Therefore, customers are able to know the details of the products and services straight from the source. Moreover, companies can set Fan permission to let people post some relevant pictures or video of their products. In addition, companies can engage community members by tapping into social capital within friend groups. Therefore, companies can comment back to people commenting, it helps build trusting relationships with customers and gives a competitive advantage. It is because they can adjust marketing and business services to reach customers’ needs and improve their products and services. When people ‘Like’ business companies’ Pages, they will get updates from Pages immediately. Therefore, people will know the companies’ information updated and can link to the Page of the business by clicking the posts.

Not only is there instant customer engagement for business companies, but they can also engage with in business partnerships, clients and potential clients. It is because all of the potential partnerships, clients can know the feedbacks and companies’ detail from Page.

4. Information immediacy and fast feedback

Traditionally, when a business wanted to get feedback on their products or opinion for services from customers, they need to run a voting poll or conduct call surveys. Now with social media, Facebook provides an active line with their customers. Therefore, companies just need to post a question on their wall or status and it is here where hundreds of people can respond within minutes. It can be good research for companies and their products and brand image. Time is money; if businesses can get different kinds of feedback as soon as possible they can improve their products and services in an instant.

5. Achieve higher search engine ranking

For all the Pages, they will have their own unique URL. For example, here is some of the Pages’ links:

ABC:               http://www.facebook.com/abc

RMIT:             http://www.facebook.com/RMITuniversity

Lady Gaga:     http://www.facebook.com/ladygaga

Therefore, when people search on Google by using key words, for example ABC and Facebook, they can get the Facebook Page link easily. Therefore, companies can increase their exposure to the public by setting up their own Facebook Page. In addition, Facebook Pages can increase in product or brand visibility because a Page’s updates show in the News Feeds of Facebook users who is friends or fans steadily.

6. Free/ low price

One of most important reasons why Facebook is helpful is because it is free or low price for people setting up their business Page on Facebook. Pages and Groups are free for everyone to promote their business. On the other hand, advertising is another good choice for the business. Facebook will help the business set target audiences by their demographics, psychographics, and techno-graphics of their profile. And the minimum budget is US$1 per day. Therefore, Facebook can reduce the marketing expense and businesses can use that money on other elements of development for their business.

7. New technologies

Advance development of new technologies is also an important reason for using Facebook as a business tool. Nowadays, “smartphone” is immensely popular as it enables people to use the Internet whenever and wherever due to well developed mobile Internet networks. For example, there are many mobile caps including unlimited social media surfing usage. These particular deals offered by many mobile companies, such as Optus, 3 and Telstra, attract mobile phone users to incorporate social media in their daily lives; creating an interaction between businesses and customers much stronger. This advancement in mobile technology enables companies to promote their products and services while they are on the go and not be stuck at a desk; in addition as customer feedback can be expressed while they are up and about therefore giving another dimension of immediacy.

8. Customer psychology

Besides the different advantages for businesses, there is also the other spectrum; customers and clients. Pages have many functions and applications engage with and close the gap between business and client; therefore it is more interesting and intimate than a company’s official homepage. In addition to this, customers want to be heard, they want to express what they want and share their opinions on particular products within their social networks. Moreover, with evidence proving that customers want to show their friends what their favourite products or companies are with a simple ‘Like’ it is imperative that there is an advantage for business because Fans will share their Pages to their friends.

9. Strong connection with other website

Businesses can show their company’s detail in the Info of the Page. They can post their official homepage of the companies, Twitter, blog, YouTube channel, etc. Therefore, when people ‘Like’ their Page and look at their Info, people will know other information of the company. In addition to this, there is a function called Badge for businesses to post on their homepage or blog, this enables their customers to observe and link back to the company’s Facebook Page. Also, some of the social media can sync the updated status to Facebook such as Twitter and Xanga (Blog service).

Compare and Contrast Facebook with other popular Social media

According to ‘2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report’, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top three social media tools used by businesses. Although Facebook and Twitter are almost same percent of the interviewees using it as a business tool most of the companies use Facebook for starting their social media marketing. Actually Facebook and Twitter are both popular for businesses marketing, but Facebook is more multi-functional than Twitter. Here is a table comparison between Facebook and Twitter:

Facebook Twitter
Target for potential clients in the B2C Stand-alone website that allows for the inclusion of photos, detailed information, videos, and other business applications. Limited in this area. Need to related Twitter accounts link to a website or Blog to gain this kind of flexibility
Target for potential clients in the B2B Only allow people get the information who have Facebook account Viral Marketing flexibility and create a greater domino effect even do not have many followers and it can distribute to everyone even who have no Twitter account
monitor what people are saying Same feature as Twitter but not user friendly Provide search feature that allows you to enter a subject and good for tracking increasing or declining trends
Internal Viral Marketing benefits Greater internal reach because Wall feature is much more interactive Less internal reach of internal communication devices
External Viral Marketing benefits Less external reach Greater external reach, because Re-tweets are externally measurable and their broad based Internet search impact is stronger
Ability to build a large network Able to build a large network of qualified followers in the shortest amount of time to help brand and market a product or service.
Best platform for direct Internet communication Instant message feature that allows you to communicate globally Direct message component that allows you to alert or update a select follower but it much slower than email

After comparing these two social media platforms, it is evident that they have their own advantages to better a business. Although Facebook seems like a successful business tool, the platform needs to be engaged with other social media platforms in order to be used to its full extent. Therefore, there is a Facebook application called Twitter; an application that Sync Facebook together with Twitter. That means people do not need to write the same status separately, every status on Twitter will be also posted on Facebook and vice versa.

In addition to Twitter, LinkedIn is used as another popular social media platform for marketing. The services of LinkedIn provides more professional for businesses such as job seeking, InMail service (contact friends of friend services, not free). Unlike LinkedIn, having a Facebook account is a free for membership and can be a business oriented form of social media while also being, well, social. Therefore, the use of LinkedIn is not very cost effective, does not offer broad socialising and does not provide a large range of the customers for businesses. Also, LinkedIn’s advertising service is not as user-friendly as Facebook. Linkedin is not bad for the marketing, but it does not cover both B2B and B2C marketing.

In conclusion, according to different research reports, articles and case studies, it is no doubt that Facebook is a successful business for companies. Facebook can generate exposure for their business within a short period. People think it is able to look for new business partnership within few months using Facebook as marketing tool. And they thought social media can be achieved selling to other businesses and their customers. And one important reason is that they all though social media can be reduced marketing cost both on selling to businesses or customers. However, facebook is not totally perfect and it still has some of the disadvantages as a business tool. Therefore business companies should use other different social media website to support and connect with Facebook. It is sure that making Facebook be more powerful business tool.

References:

See References Page

Through the use of Facebook as a business tool, how do we judge its success?

Success is often seen as purely numbers, and in many cases this is true. For radio, the success of a station’s overall performance is measured by ratings, how many listeners a station has at particular times of the day. But is this how we judge success in terms of social media? The number of fans your Facebook page has certainly comes in to it but is not necessarily the sole and only way you should judge success on or by.

According to Ross Hill, an Innovative Analyst at Delloite Australia, before we can judge our success on Facebook we need to ask ourselves what statistical information is available and what matters to us. (Hill, R, 2010, video). We also may need to be creative in how we derive this information, comparing statistical data from Facebook with other website data to ascertain what we need to know.

Another key element of judging your success on Facebook, according to Keith De La Rue, founder of Acknowledge Consulting, is to look at the level of engagement you are experiencing through your Facebook fan page. Interaction with customers, clients, listeners, viewers and consumers is a very effective aspect of the new form of social media and social business design.

774 ABC Melbourne – as of Friday 11 June 2010, has 6,172 fans on their Facebook page. In a 24 hour period, 6am June 10 to 6am June 11 2010, they posted four topics, averaging 36-43 comments per topic. 774 ABC Melbourne has a high level of talkback on-air therefore places high values on interaction, with listeners. The interaction on their Facebook page appears to be strong and consistent. In this example it is important to look closely at the interactivity, including the level but also the quality to judge the success of their Facebook presence.

As a contrast, 702 ABC Sydney, which is the sister station to 774 ABC Melbourne, use their Facebook page more as a promotional tool. Their page, as of June 11, 2010, has 1,444 fans. But posts are around station events, promotions and events rather than phone topics like 774’s page. So in a typical 24 hour period, they may post 3-4 events, and people ‘like’ their posts, the number of ‘likes’ is proportionally lower to 774’s page, but they have a lower number of fans. But it would be unfair to say that it is not a successful tool for them, as the underlying reason for having the presence seemingly is more for promotional purposes rather than interactivity. Success for them is measured more by number of fans of the page (how many people will read their promotional messages), and number of ‘likes’, as well as studying audience levels and participation in events which would happen externally to Facebook.

How Do We Judge Facebook As A Promotional Tool?

In order to be successful as a promotional tool there are particular aspects that need to be fulfilled. These elements of marketing are fundamental for any sort of platform, whether it be traditional or modern forms of media. However, social media is not like traditional media where people can see a billboard or an ad and think about it for a few seconds. Therefore, in view of the fact that we are focusing on social media we must look seven essential questions to ask in order to gage Facebook’s success as a social media promotional tool.

Exposure

The most imperative aspect for any business is exposure so the question business should ask is “Does the use of a Facebook Page help my business gain exposure?” Any business wants to disseminate information about their company efficiently and effectively. Facebook offer many niche ways of gaining exposure on the social network, whether it be an update of a picture, video, link or a simple status update the business must ensure that this particular action causes a ripple effect within the network. (See Case Study: Supre Clothing)

Increase in traffic/subscribers

Businesses want to be able to see results online through their exposure so in order to measure this they must ask, “Does the Facebook Page increase my business’ website traffic, subscribers or opt-in list?” Depending on how often the Page updates with an external link to their webpage then there will be increased traffic. There is also a Facebook Page tool that enables businesses to add a sidebar for email subscriptions. If by using this tool increases subscribers and the opt-in list then the Page is deemed successful.

New business partnerships

B2B is essential for any business in order to climb the corporate ladder therefore companies using a Facebook Page must ask, “Does Facebook enable my business to gain new business partnerships?” Facebook enables Pages to “Favourite” other Pages. If businesses use this method correctly it not only creates a virtual relationship between businesses but it also strengthens its corporate image on the social network.

Search engine rankings

The higher you are on the search engine ranking the better. Any business that knows this should ask, “Does the Facebook Page increase my business’ search engine ranking?” Facebook Pages have the tendency to rank higher on any search engine due the fact that rankings are based on the amount of links that particular webpage has. Therefore, the more connections the business has on its Page the higher it will be on the any search conducted.

Qualified leads

Potential customers who show interest in a particular product or service are important for any business. Companies should ask, “Does the use of a Facebook Page generate qualified leads?” In other words, does the amount of Fans have indication that my Page is successful? The answer is yes.  Fans are your potential customers; they are those who are exposed to your services and products. Therefore, as a result of the Fans responding to the picture and video updates it gives a good indication of what they consider buying from the business.

Increase in sales

Profit through sales is what drives any business to success so businesses should ask, “Does the use of a Facebook Page help the business sell products and/or services?” This is hard to predict as linking sales to Facebook Pages are yet to be absolutely determined. However, if the Page is used correctly then products and services can be catered to the business’ target audience therefore increasing sales amongst the desired demographic. (See Case Study: Supre Clothing.)

Reduce in marketing expenses

Investing into good marketing is an expense business’ pay in order to stay in ahead of game therefore they must ask, “Does the Facebook Page reduce my business’ expense on marketing?” The answer is yes. High results in Return On Investment (ROI) is essential to any success, such little effort goes into updating and engaging on a Facebook Page and so much can be achieved. (See interview with Keith De La Rue)

So, now that the Facebook Page has been created, what now? How do we make the Page a success? In light of all these different key aspects let us look at what Facebook says about Facebook Pages:

The Pages with the freshest, most engaging content stand to gain the most from this new product—since each track played, video viewed, review written and event attended can generate News Feed stories that propagate through the social graph. Facebook will accelerate the rate at which unknown entities become popular, and it will also fortify the position of those who are already recognized highly among users. Whether large or small, all artists, businesses, and brands have the potential for exponential distribution through the graph if they can engage users.

–          Facebook Help Centre

Therefore, a Facebook Page has great potential to be a useful promotional tool for various businesses. Although, businesses must not rely on Facebook or any sort of social media alone just to gain success; it is only one tool amongst the many that can promote any sort of business. They should utilise it together with whatever existing means they have marketing their business. Consequently, the result of a Facebook Page’s success comes down to the level of maintenance, engagement and content that the creator or administration intends to implement.

What is a Successful Business Tool?

Successful business relies on a strategic approach to outline the main goals and focuses for that business. This means having a clear understanding of your customers/consumers, and identifying their needs and ensuring that you can deliver your products or services to your customers in a competitive yet sustainable way.

New social media including tools such as Facebook present business with an opportunity to explore new tools to communicate with consumers in a more dynamic and interactive fashion. Given that this medium is in its infancy, there is contention among theorists of whether this form of business tool is as yet an effective and strategic medium.

David Armano, who works in the areas of digital marketing and social media, says: ‘Design is the planning that lays the basis for the making of every object or system. It can be used both as a noun and as a verb and, in a broader way, it means applied arts and engineering. As a verb, “to design” refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component with intention.’ (Armano, 2010). For any tool to be successful within the business context, it must sit within the design and framework.

Armano goes on to refer to social media in a business context as ‘social business design’, an area that has attracted worldwide interest from PR people, marketers and executives around the world.

Armano also warns against reactive tactics in business design. A business tool must be thought of ‘as something that can evolve the way we work, communicate, interact and collaborate at a core business level.

Good design is strategic, intentional and profitable.

Wasting Time!

Wasting time. Facebook is addictive whether you are using it for personal or business and too much valuable time is being wasted on Facebook.  So high-efficient professionals may not use facebook as their business tool.

Some facebook users keep checking their facbeook profile as soon as they get up, or before they go to sleep. And when you click on a friends photos , it is easy to open other things which are related to also.   So you spent on facebook and then it turns to be a procrastinating from doing other tasks at hand such as your job/study,doing something valuable. It is like taking away from quality time spent with significant others.

Wondering that why some people always have to check your Facebook profile and to see who has written on your wall, and check comments on their  photos or on their status etc.  Actually it is taking away from the real  time spent with friends and family. And the popularity of new technology such as iPhone and Blackberry phone also are “helping” facebook to take away from  quality time with real people.

8) Which is your favorite Social Media site ? Again give us reasons why you like it.
I probably should not say this, but I do not find Facebook that useful. Susanne says it is because i do not appreciate the social grooming side of it. I like twitter better, not for the grooming but as a tool for finding and disseminating information about useful stuff found on the Web. I think Linkedin’s professional discussion groups have potential.

My favorite Social Media site is the Wikipedia, though. It has become an amazing source of information. Here’s a tip: If you are going in deep on a particular topic, read the Discussion section, where you can see the contributors argue about what should be included and what should not. You can find interesting arguments and links that do not make it into the published text there.

- Per Koch (Owner – Pandia.com)   “I do not find Facebook that useful”


References:

Nisha Gandhi Small Business and Entrepreneurs

Thoughts on: AFL Facebook Pages

Click to play audio

Click to play audio

So, someone in their household has a football fanatic, right? Mine is my brother, Charles. Like any other footy fan he likes to say up to date with what’s going on with his footy team, Port Adelaide Power. Initially, he would go to the Official AFL website or the Port Adelaide FC website to read the latest news and see who’s on the injury list but now he just logs on to his Facebook and reads all the recent Port Power news through his Newsfeed.

Become a fan of the Port Adelaide Football Club on Facebook. Get all the latest news as it happens, find out what the players are up to and interact with other fans.

–          portadelaidefc.com.au

It’s great to see that every AFL team is now so immersed in a social network and embracing social media; it helps communicate with their fans with immediacy while creating a community where fans can give their support! However, being a part of an online community is just one aspect of a social network, it’s the content of media that the Page produces that draws the fans in and breathes life into the community and network. Therefore, in order to keep the footy enthusiast happy they must ensure that these Pages are up to date; it’s a long term relationship. At this point of time, fans like Charles seem content, the news coming through to him are amongst all his news from his friends, creating this sort of “one stop shop” for his daily news.  “Handy,” he calls it.

References:

Charles Bagundol interview conducted by Leila Bagundol

Image from Port Adelaide Football Club Facebook Page

Quote from Port Adelaide Football Club website

Thoughts on: MasterChef Australia Season 2

There is one particular TV show that has really utilised the benefits social media, and that is the Channel 10 show MasterChef Australia. This Australian made TV program is currently employing Twitter and Facebook as a means of marketing and promotion. This year the cooking reality TV show premiered on April 19 and was able to pull in 1,692,000 viewers Australia wide; ranking MasterChef at number 1 that Monday evening. The first week of the show – “Top 50” – saw an average of 1,502,400 viewers a night, cementing the show within the top 5 of that week. As MasterChef progressed over the weeks so did the ratings. The show is now in its 7th week and the average viewers a night currently stand at 1,724,600. This amazing result is not by traditional advertising alone, it is also thanks to social media.

By observing the TV program’s Facebook Page, which currently has just over 95,000 Fans, it is clear that the level of engagement is astounding. From the very beginning the Page was promoting the show’s premier to create a sort of anticipation, buzz and hype amongst the Fans.

However, the Page does not rely on the show and its contestants alone for engagement. By posting up external links to the contestants’ recipes published on the MasterChef website it enables hundreds of likes and opinions as well as drives traffic flow to their website. It is certain the Page sparks conversation but there is also a personal level that the Page developed with its Fans, asking them questions like “What’s your favourite meal of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner?” or “What’s your favourite dish to cook?”

These sorts of conversations on the Wall create a kind of intimacy with the show as well as Fan devotion. As the week’s developed contestants were being voted out one by one and the level of compassion and attachment the Fans had to the contestants vastly grew (see below).

Consequently, it is evident that MasterChef Australia’s Facebook Page is a success story, and as the TV show’s second season draws to a close in the next few weeks it will be interesting to see how the Page develops. Due to their solid social media relationship with their 95,000 odd Fans it would not be a surprise if hundreds of comments and likes generate into thousands.

References:

Pictures from MasterChef Australia Facebook Page

Ratings from TV Tonight