a blog by Liz Johnston… just a 20-something PR girl trying to find her way

Freeing Facebook Fan Features

To immerse myself into the public relations industry I volunteer at a local nonprofit, HIV Alliance, as its social media intern, managing the Facebook fan page, Twitter account and blog. When I began my internship, it was clear that social media had been pushed to the back burner – the development team simply didn’t have enough time to manage it all. HIV Alliance wanted to utilize social media to connect to the community as a whole but specifically wanted to have a deeper connection with current and potential volunteers and donors.

 

Enter new Facebook fan page features.

 

I can now breathe a sigh of relief because Facebook has now made it so much easier to communicate, along a two-way communication highway, with our publics. Previous to these updates, an organization as unable to comment or post on a user’s profile. This made it extremely difficult to cultivate meaningful relationships over cyberspace. If a volunteer posted on the HIV Alliance fan page, as an organization, we would only be able to comment on that post, which is on the HIV Alliance wall. But last week, everything changed for the better.

 

According to Facebook:

“Facebook pages are getting an updated layout and several new features to help you engage with your fans. Here’s some of what you’ll be getting:

  • Notifications when fans interact with your page or posts
  • A place to showcase photos along the top of your page
  • A news feed for your page
  • The ability to Like and post on other pages as your page”

And Facebook has it right! All of these new features will help organizations engage with fans. As a nonprofit we solicit time, donations and support – all of which align with our core values, and direct two-way engagement is necessary to communicate those values in cyberspace. Simply posting content to the HIV Alliance fan page does not attract potential “fans” and a simple post will not convey why people should care. The ability to post as HIV Alliance on pages opens the door to a much wider audience. If you don’t “like” the HIV Alliance fan page and place the page within your network, you will never see our content we post. With the new features, posting on a fan’s page allows us to reach everyone in that fan’s network ­– a huge increase in the number of potential views and impressions.

 

These new Facebook fan page features are freeing. Now, HIV Alliance has the ability to break out of the small network of fans and enter the entire Facebook network of users.

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Comments on: "Freeing Facebook Fan Features" (2)

  1. Liz, these new features are excellent for companies and especially for nonprofits. The problem with this is who is going to stop companies from abusing this new ability? I wrote about this blog http://www.pr-squared.com/index.php/2011/02/pr-only-as-strong-as-the-weakest-link by Todd Defren about public relations practitioners using social media to send spam messages to their followers. Do you think companies will use the new features to successfully have two-communication or will the new features result in consumers hitting the “unlike” button faster? I think this has the potential to stop companies from spewing random spam all over their Facebook pages, but they might turn their focus on their followers walls. Whether it works for the better or not I think we will see a change companies strategies using Facebook.

  2. I like your thinking and totally agree that the new Page features are going to be beneficial and a game-changer. However, I think you’ve misunderstood the new commenting system. You can comment on pages that you like as a page, but not on your fans’ personal walls…unless I’m misreading your point 🙂 Just thought I’d clear that up!

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