“LIKE” US! “SHARE” THIS! “FOLLOW” ME! “PIN” IT! What does it all mean? Understanding and deciding to use one or all of the different kinds of social media out there is a lot like standing in Dunkin’ Donuts trying to pick just one. Frosted, not frosted, chocolate, plain, with jelly? Get one or a dozen? Do I buy them for home or bring them into the office?
EIL decided it was time to put together a guide to the heaviest hitters in mainstream social media to help you make the right decisions. Here's a closer look at Facebook from January's Social Media Primer. Once you get familiar with the social networks out there, get yourself a dozen, and start posting, tweeting, following and being followed. EIL is already there and we will be looking for you.
Facebook is the leader of the social media pack. In October when releasing its quarterly financial statement, Facebook announced that it had surpassed 1.19 billion monthly active users – making it a country in and of itself. An estimated 728 million people log on each day and more than 73% are accessing it via a mobile device. What does that all mean? It’s much more than a popular fad. It’s a way that people connect, communicate, learn and share information every day from anywhere they are.
So, if you’re not familiar with it, how does it work?
First, you set up a personal profile for yourself. Facebook prefers that you use your real name and it must be attached to a valid email address. Provide a little basic information about where you live, education, and you can even add likes, dislikes, favorite quotes, movies, music, TV shows, sports, if you’d like. You can be as detailed or as limited as you want and you have options to allow this information to be public or seen by only those you allow as “friends” or an even more limited audience.
Choose a photo to be your icon. You can use an actual photo of yourself or anything else, and that’s what will be seen by others on the network. Now it’s time to find your “friends.” Facebook has a number of tools for locating “friends” by using email or phone contact list information. You can also search for people by name. Once your profile is active you will receive“friend requests” from other user that you may or may not know. You can choose to accept or deny those requests based on your knowledge of the person and your personal comfort level. If you’re worried about privacy concerns, there are ways to group “friends,” label people as “acquaintances,” and tools to restrict the level of privacy of your posts to certain groups or categories while excluding others. But it is always important to remember that no system is foolproof, so a great general rule to follow is that if you don’t want something to be seen by the whole world, don’t post it on Facebook. It’s that simple.
What is a "post"?
It’s something you write and share. Facebook calls it a status update. You type it in the status update box, choose your privacy level, and publish it. It will be seen in two places: on your “wall” and in the News Feed. The News Feed is where you see all the posts made by your friends and any pages you may have “Liked.” So, when you post, your updates are seen by your friends in their News Feed. Facebook uses information about how often you interact with others and your activity on the network to filter what you see, so whether people actually see your posts in their News Feed is a subject for a deeper discussion, but essentially that’s how it works. You can choose to share photos, videos, links to news articles, and that can be as easy as clicking a “Share” button or uploading from sources like YouTube or Instagram. Want to talk to someone else? You can post on their wall by going to their page. If you want the conversation to be private, use Messages for chatting and email-like message capability.
Those are the very basics on getting started with a personal account. If you are a business or artist/musician, you do not want to set up your business as a personal account. Facebook has changed extensively since it started and initial guidelines for general accounts, fan pages, and groups have all changed as well. Features that were once available in groups, like group private messaging, no longer function as they once did, and new business tools and analytics are available to users who set up business pages. Additionally, there are many other applications, like Twitter, and website program features that interface with Facebook and require a business page to be set up as a page (not a personal account) to work properly. If you’re a restaurant or business, you want a page to allow your clients to “check in” and provide reviews. Yes, this is where things start to get complicated, but the bottom line is to create a page for your business that is separate from your personal account.
Setting up a page is simple and choosing “Create a Page” in the Help section or from the menus on your home page will get you started. As a personal user, you will want to find your local businesses and restaurants and “like” their pages to get their information on your News Feed. This is how information is shared.
Delving deeper, you can also join and create “Groups.” These are groups of friends or individuals that are united as an organization or are connected by similar interests or a common purpose, they can be alumni associations, social groups, music lovers, people who grew up in a certain town, people joined together to promote a cause. In the current state of Facebook, groups are really more casual groupings and associations because most structured organizations can establish a page, like a business page.
Facebook can be downloaded as application for any phone or tablet, making it easy to connect anywhere. Many people use Messenger (a stand-alone application version of Messages) as a replacement for texting. You can upload photos directly from your smartphone to post and most phones pop-up Facebook notifications as on-screen messages and texts. In a breaking news context, many people first look to Facebook to see what’s happening. It’s a phenomenal tool and not just a way to pass the time with games like Candy Crush. (We’re not even going to discuss Facebook games!)
So there you go. That’s the bare bones explanation of this behemoth social network and how to get started. Elegant Island Living has a business page with more than 2000 followers. We use it daily to promote our advertiser’s messages, sales, products, and events, and to inform our readers about local news and events, and to actively engage our readers. We stay on top of current trends and analyze the interaction with our posts to determine what works and what doesn’t with our audience. We can help with our advertisers’ marketing needs by getting their message to a larger audience. It is an excellent tool for us to promote our website content and supplement our print content.
If you'd like to learn more about setting up a Facebook page for your business or organization or effectively managing a Facebook page, join us for a Lunch & Learn workshop at the King & Prince Hotel either January 23 or 30. Editorial & Social Media Director Kathi Williams will share her expertise in a casual group setting. Learn from someone who has hand-on experience. Call 912.399.8797 to reserve your spot or email email@example.com.
For more information about Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media applications, pick up a copy of our January issue to read the rest of our EIL Social Media Primer or click on the link to the digital issue on our homepage to read it online.