It’s been a while since I wrote a post on Facebook. Simon and I have been working with one of our clients lately, and that work has lead to much research on the limitations of what Facebook can do. We wanted to share some of our findings with you, because this information appears to not be widely available. When I sat down to write this post, I quickly discovered that it was too much to cover in just one post, so today’s post will focus on Facebook Groups, and Wednesday’s post will focus on Facebook Fan Pages.
Facebook is not set up for business
Here’s the greatest limitation of Facebook: of all the social networking sites out there, it is the most social. What that means, is, that as a method of keeping in touch with your old high school friends, your college roommate, or your kid’s grandma, it’s the best. It has morphed and changed to help people with business, and is, to some degree, successful in that regard. But there are still many limitations, the most major one of which, is, you can’t really be on Facebook, unless you have a personal profile. Many people in business that we work with don’t want to have a personal profile, they only want a page dedicated to their business. It is possible to do with a fan page, but more about that in a later post.
Starting a group
I regularly create group pages for my clients. If they are planning on doing more than one theatre production, I recommend it. If you are not planning on having a series of events, then the group is probably not the right tool for you. A fan page may be better suited.
To create a group, go down to the left-hand bottom menu on Facebook, and click on the icon that looks like two people. This will take you to the application to create a new group. The first page is basic information, the second page is website URL and image for your facebook icon, . Next, you go through your own personal contacts and invite people to join the group. ONLY invite people that you think might be interested in joining, don’t spam all of your friends. Give that a week or two, to allow people to check thier invites and accept or ignore your invitation, then reassess where you are at. It’s really important to start this process well in advance (a couple of months if you have it) of your event.
Next, reassess. How many people do you have in your group? If you have over 100, you are getting there. If you still have under 100, you need to do some more work. Put a link to the group on your website, or send out an email to your newsletter list inviting them to join. It might help to sweeten the pot with an incentive–a draw for free tickets or something of the like. You have to prove that you are going to be offering value through your Facebook group. It can’t just be some dead group that a bunch of people will join, and then forget.
If you still need to build up your numbers, send emails to key people in the group, asking them if they wouldn’t mind going through their own personal friend lists and asking people that they think might be interested to join. This can help to boost your numbers in a short amount of time.
Post your event
Now you’re ready to post your event. Because you created the group, you are its administrator. You will see a menu on the right with a bunch of options, one is “Created related event”. The first screen will take you through all the nitty-gritty: times, dates, a short blurb, etc. The second screen will allow you to upload a photo or image, and set security settings (I usually disable the “allow members to upload photos and videos” option, although you want them to be able to post on the wall. Use your own judgment for your specific event.) The third screen is where the magic happens. If you scroll down to the bottom, you will see a button that says “Invite members of (group)”. Because you have done your prep work, you can now invite every member of your group (whom you know are already interested in what you are doing, otherwise they wouldn’t have joined) to your event.
This feature is specifically the one great advantage that creating a facebook group has over creating a fan page.