Continuing this series about how social networking and blogging work together, today’s post delves into the world’s largest social network, Facebook.
For expert insights, I went to Rebekah Radice. Rebekah is a social media strategist, content developer, trainer and community manager for Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, serving as “the voice” behind the brand.
1. How would you describe Facebook overall as a social networking site?
Marketing a business online continues to evolve as more and more consumers turn to the web and social media for information. Facebook is an excellent conversation facilitator. It’s also excellent for eavesdropping. Listening to the needs of our consumers and then meeting them in real-time is one huge benefit I see to Facebook for any business owner.
It also allows you to focus on building relationships as opposed to simply pushing out information. On a daily basis, we can create engaging conversations around an existing business or brand.
2. What are Facebook’s unique characteristics for business and lead generation?
Social media has undoubtedly changed the way we interact with consumers and Facebook has been leading the way since its inception. Not only does it offer business professionals the opportunity to transition an established offline brand to the online world, but a way to create a vibrant and memorable online presence.
Consider this: According to recent Facebook statistics, 510 comments are posted, 293,000 status updates are posted and 136,000 photos are uploaded every 60 seconds. What an enormous opportunity for any business to connect and engage customers in a comfortable and relaxed environment where they are already actively spending their time.
3. What are the best methods and tools for businesses to find interesting content (to generate blog post topic ideas and share with their networks)? I call this the “Expand your mind” step.
The beauty of the web is that interesting content is everywhere and can come from a myriad of resources.
My favorite content curation tools are Feedly, a news aggregator that allows you to keep up with your favorite bloggers and websites all in one easy location. You can organize, follow and share your favorite content in the cloud-based platform or from the mobile app.
I am also a huge fan of Alltop, Google+ communities and Facebook lists. Each provides tailored content dependent on niche and the ability to make unique connections with other business professionals sharing similar content.
UPDATED AUGUST 29, 2013: I asked Rebekah to expand on her Facebook-specific suggestions for idea generation, and she shared these gems:
Facebook lists are a wonderful way to categorize friends and find relevant content that speaks to a select group of people. Lists also allow you to quickly view what that group is posting and talking about at any moment. You can step into the conversation or simply scan the feed to find topics that become instant fodder for blog posts.
Another great way to generate ideas on Facebook is through groups. Join groups that share common interests. For example, if you own a bakery, look for Facebook groups that talk about a love of desserts, baking, or any group catering to a niche such as wedding planners.
(Note from Linda: Here is a another helpful article by Cindy Ratzlaff about how to use Facebook lists to grow your business page.)
4. What are the best methods and tools for businesses to deepen their existing relationships and find new connections? I call this the “Expand your network” step.
Facebook is a very visual community. There are many ways businesses can capture the attention of their existing fan base using images. Adding an eye-catching image to posts will make the post more attention grabbing in the newsfeed.
Another method I find very effective is creating a post that will spark conversation. Is there something happening within your industry that others will be eager to discuss or maybe a question you’re dying to ask?
Allow fans to offer feedback and insight. It can be extremely valuable as a crowdsourcing tool and as you test out new products or services.
5. What are the best methods and tools for sharing original blog post content on Facebook? What are the benefits of doing this? I call this the “Expand your influence” step.
Cross promoting your blog post content is an extremely effective way to build thought leadership and expand your network. Use tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer to schedule your blog posts throughout the week.
Many business professionals tweet or post their blog only once on the day they hit publish. Make certain you are making the most of your blog content by pulling quotes and useful tips out of it and repurposing them into simple graphics, a quick video or even the incredibly popular infographic.
Thank you so much for your contribution, Rebekah! I’ve enjoyed learning from you.
Adding more visual interest to your blog posts also came up in last week’s Google+ post from Paul Biedermann, and Denise Wakeman suggests that images are a cornerstone of online visibility. The lesson seems to be that no matter how well you write and how relevant your topics, to get attention on crowded social media sites like Facebook you need to stand out and be noticed.