- How many times have you liked something without even taking a peek inside?
- How many Groups have you joined and do not participate?
- Are you a page fan of a brand or product, but do not engage in action?
- How many Polls, Quizz, Kisses, Hugs and Farmville requests have you received?
- As a company, is your fan participation and engagement level very poor or weak??
These brief questions raise some of the behavioural typologies in Facebook that I share with you, focused on a much wider concern: the enterprise marketing activity and the construction of social powered sites in opposition to Facebook stand alone presence. Recently, a very interesting question was placed to me, by a client, in the process of requests and specs analysis in building a Social Networking community around a college (university). My client, pretty sure of what he was saying, said: “why build a social powered site to my university when I can have a Facebook group that will do the same?”
The under laying idea to that referred student, researchers and teachers community (with engagement and relationship building purposes), was to act as a social web 2-0 powered communication network around all members of the pedagogical universe, not only in a social manner, but also as a research hub and interface. The answer to the client questions is far from simple, but is poses some interesting problems and typical interaction schemes within Facebook and their users “click practices and habits”.
We must view Facebook as a large and worldwide penetration channel that must be faced as a precious off-site link and visits generator to some companies and not a miracle community which will solve all social enterprise needs. The much wanted and so-called “digital presence” has to be placed in perspective: the overwelming variety of subjects, themes and gaming possibilities unveils the difficulty to create a strong and active profile with an effective engagement ratio. You should not cave into the temptation of believing that a Fan Page, Group or Profile will do Miracles for your Digital Marketing Plans or site traffic. Neither will it be a replacement, but a complementary communication channel.
The large number of members and huge amount of activity possibilities makes relationship engagement between companies and consumers to fade very easily and quickly, so much like a click by sympathy stream. “Do you like it? So do i”. And that’s it. The fidelization approach strategy makes Facebook a valuable partner, but not a replacement. The main identity must be built in the brand, product or service main website. The click by sympathy theory shows a deeper lack of real activity, participation and engagement: it’s a real and harsh truth to see thousands of groups with millions of fans (that join almost in a compulsive way) that do not engage in action. It’s quite easy to create a thousand fans group. All you need to do is to find yourself a nice controversial topic or common appealing subject and work a bit on the invitation button. The same must not be said about building a strong brand digital presence. Which leads us to the early text question placed by a client of mine: “Could we have a Facebook group to replace a social community?” Yes, but with will not solve your problems in one million years.
Social Media Advice: do not expect Facebook to be the platform of your business social presence. Expect it to be a mainstream channel that will give you voice to shout out what you do.