Should Companies Embrace Facebook?

bivI was interviewed for a cover article that appeared in this week’s edition of Business In Vancouver. The story reads “Surge in Social Networking Rings Corporate Security Alarms” and talks about the rising use of platforms such as Facebook and the potential negative affects it could have on the workplace. Privacy and security are increasing concerns as more people congregate, share and communicate online. I don’t disagree, particularly when it’s employees of companies disclosing corporate information not intended for the public on a ‘company Facebook page’. This is particularly true with publicly traded companies. The same careful administration bestowed to a company website, should also be taken with a Facebook page or Ning community site or Myspace space.

But this shouldn’t stop your company from embracing these social media tools and platforms, which allow you to reach prospects and customers in a meaningful and massive way like no other. First, you’re reaching them where they go and on their terms. At Facebook, a user will only get updates on your company if they opt-in by becoming a fan. At Twitter, a user will only receive your messages if they become a follower. They also have the power to share it with their friends, fans and followers instantly, giving you some viral love in return.

And second, these tools aren’t trendy, they’re cultural. More and more people find these tools to be just way too simple and powerful to ignore. And the price is right. Our raw and primitive need to communicate and connect will never change. How we do, does and will. And technology leads the way in helping us serve that need cheaper, faster and easier. These tools and platforms are revolutionizing the way we communicate and connect, and businesses may as well learn how to use them to their benefit, and not their detriment. Below is an excerpt from the article:

While a company may not be able to control negative comments that are posted on the Internet, the web’s interactivity allows companies to respond to them. “There’s a whole etiquette to social networking that not everybody gets,” said Rajan Sodhi, vice-president of marketing at PEER 1 Network Enterprises Inc. (TSX: PIX). One consistent rule is to communicate openly, honestly and often.

Vancouver-based PEER 1 uses a number of social networking tools and has an employee whose sole role is to cultivate the company’s online presence. PEER 1 also monitors the Internet for content that mentions the company. “It can be positive or negative,” said Sodhi. “If it’s something [about PEER 1] they aren’t happy with, we acknowledge them right then and there.” As well as reacting publicly on a blog or network on which a negative comment was posted, PEER 1 will usually follow-up with a phone call.

“We’re a real believer that these social media tools and platforms are here to stay,” said Sodhi, who is the administrator of PEER 1’s Facebook site. “You can be fearful of it and not embrace it, but I think you’re going to lose one of the best tools for communicating and reaching your market.”

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Filed under Business, Communications, Facebook, Internet, marketing, MySpace, Ning, Online marketing tactics, Selling, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, social network, Technology, Viral

8 responses to “Should Companies Embrace Facebook?

  1. lplank

    Great article! I work for Hollister in Boston ( and we have had a Facebook page up for quite a while now. It has been a great way for us to communicate with the younger generation, and I would recommend that every company uses it. Thanks again!

  2. I think this is a great post and as a social media professional know that it is very important for companies to be accessible online. Facebook can drive sales and create buy-in from a younger generation. However, more important than facebook will be the rise of Twitter– check out what organizations like Whole Foods are doing or even my organization (!).

  3. Yes Facebook can be used by businesses, but it should ultimately be used to socialise. That’s what it is there for.

    The best service is one that can make it easier to share things on Facebook, because that’s what it is for.

    I’ve written quite an extensive article on this, concluding that Facebook is almost it’s own Internet world, with each comment/post increasing the probability that someone clicks on your profile link…

  4. I think it totally depends on the product or portal or website that you want to market. Some products can’t offer anything new or attractive to normal user, then it should not be marketed on facebook or twitter.And, on the other hand, facebook or twitter can be really helpful to gain traffic for some sites.

  5. Congrats on the publicity! Our design co does have a FB page, but I’m not sure how useful it’s been. It is probably almost essential these days to have a FB presence but I find our e-blasts more valuable in terms of connecting with people.

  6. Thanks Yvette. There are many social media tools out there for all of use to integrate into our marketing and communications. Having a presence in Facebook or MySpace is just one more place to have your presence felt where your customers or potential customers congregate. I think the key to any tool is testing, testing, testing… and to see what works best for you. I’m glad to hear your email campaigns have worked well for you. Cheers.

  7. After reading this article I went ahead and created my own Facebook page to promote my blog that I have put out to help business professionals communicate together and network. I created a group added my picture and started communicating.

    Progress? yes slowly but surely, I have 6 friends and there is an additional member in my group other then myself (funny) while my blog has not been read so many times I feel like if I stay active in this new generation of social networking and blogging I am out to find other individuals who may share the same interests.

    One thing I have not done is try to find similar groups out there trying to do what I am doing and that is because I have a different vision for what I am doing. Although virtual communication is key in this world I would like to eventually have people meet each other face-to-face, organize gatherings with food and activities and hopefully one day be able to bring people from all over the world from all industries and created a band of professionals who understand that sharing success is the only way to grow.

    So with good intentions I welcome enthusiast to view my blog, input their thoughts and ideas and always keep in mind that there are good people out in the real world who may need your professional advice and you may need theirs.

  8. I could not agree more. Companies need to utilize social networking tools, that are so much apart of many people’s lives, to directly reach their customers on “their terms”.

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