Working with the government, I get a lot of questions about social media. A friend of mine recently asked my opinion about using a Facebook page to spread their content on the web.
My advice: don’t do it. And by that I mean your Facebook page shouldn’t be the source of information about your company or product. You should definitely be on Facebook, and several other social networks at that, engaging or monitoring your audience, but your Web site should still be the home for your information.
Why? When you want information on a product or company, what do you do:
- Login to Facebook and run a search for the information you’re after?
- Go to Google and search for the information?
As far as I can tell, everyone checks Google first. Facebook isn’t a search engine. Sure you can search the site, but it only searches within Facebook.com, and you need a username and password to view much of the site’s content. You stymie the spread of information by requiring users to login to view it. Additionally, search engines can’t crawl information that requires a password to access, further decreasing the chance of this info being found.
However, your spokesperson should join. People, journalists in particular, don’t turn to Facebook for news or information about a company, but they do hit up social networks to learn more about individuals. So if you list yourself on a press release, you can guarantee that someone is trying to find you on Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just be sure to put your best digital foot forward, because all your quotes and pictures will likely end up in print.
Your social network profile can further your message and provide people with additional information. Your profile could explain your company’s mission or present your credentials. Not thinking before you post could hurt brand. Case study: Bristol Palin’s Facebook account, or her baby daddy’s MySpace page. Unfortunately for the Sarah Palin, her kids ran amuck on the Internet hurting what should have been her mantronly appeal with America. Apparently no one in her camp thought to check social networks for Palin’s teenage children. Seeing that more than 33% of teens have sent naked pictures to other people, this should have definitely been investigated before she was announced as a candidate. Lord knows that the rest of the Internet was going to leave no .gif file unviewed.
In summary, social networks are used to search for individuals, but Google is still used to find information. Leverage social networks for things other than news dissemination.