My opinion of Facebook has changed quite a bit over the past few years. I began with a general level of skepticism and resisted joining for a long while. Eventually, I set up an account and slowly started to use it more. It was fun to reconnect with people I hadn't spoken to in a long time, and it actually became a great way to keep up with family. I used it to share a ton of content that I ran across throughout my day, including blog posts and newsletter content from Newfangled (if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook, here's a link to my profile). Although I did connect with many people within my professional network, my interactions with them never reached the level of frequency or importance of those on LinkedIn. At this point, I think it's a good idea to be on Facebook as an individual, as well as to set up a page for your company, to make sure that your content is sharable among its users. However, Facebook does not compare in terms of the helpful business-related functionality offered by LinkedIn. This, of course, may change, which is why I'm not at all suggesting that you ignore Facebook. To the contrary, maintaining company pages, sharing functionality, and even advertisements should be important aspects of your social media strategy.
Company Pages on Facebook
We've set up a company page and added our site's RSS feeds to it so that they are automatically displayed as wall posts. We don't get a ton of activity from our "fans," but I did want to point out one feature that you may end up using. Once you've set up a company page, you can send messages to all your fans (see the screenshot below). You can even target these messages by location, gender and age.
Sharing Website Content on Facebook
Just like LinkedIn, giving your readers the ability to share your content on Facebook is critical. While it's not nearly as important as a functional satellite platform to your website as LinkedIn, it is significantly more important in terms of the number of users finding and sharing content within its network. We've listed Facebook as the first item among the list in the general sharing tool that sits beneath all of our blog and newsletter content. Like LinkedIn, Facebook provides some really nice sharing code, which, when implemented, links to the pop-up screen shown below. One thing that it does really well is automatically format your post to pull either the introductory text content or the meta description for the page you're sharing, as well as any images, which you can choose to use as a thumbnail to your link.
Advertising on Facebook
Because it lacks a focused audience, expertise sharing and polling tools, I don't think that Facebook presents the same level of "free advertising" potential simply by using it as LinkedIn does. However, not taking advantage of the significantly larger audience on Facebook than LinkedIn by setting up a simple paid advertisement using its Ad Manager would be a missed opportunity. In the screenshot below, I'm showing the Ad Manager setup screen, which allows you to target your audience by various means, including location, age, and interest. As you can see, we've set up our ad to appear to users living in the United States over the age of 20 who have listed advertising, marketing, or web development among their interests. Facebook also allows you to determine how much you are willing to spend per click. In addition to showing stats, the Ad Manager also previews how your ad will appear to Facebook users, which is helpful considering the fact that you should not see your own ad while using the network.
Referral Traffic from Facebook
As I would have expected, our traffic numbers from Facebook are higher. In fact, at 320, the number of unique visits to our site coming from Facebook over the course of one month is almost double that of LinkedIn. The average time spent on the site is just about the same as the LinkedIn users (3:36 minutes), the bounce rate slightly lower (47%), and the number of pages per visit also just about the same (3.24). The only glaring difference is in the percentage of new visits. With the LinkedIn group, only 25% of the visits per month were new visitors, which means that about 75% of the LinkedIn users coming to our site had come before. That's a good thing, but it also makes sense given the smaller, tighter network that we have on LinkedIn. With Facebook, 57% of the visits were new, but this seems to be in line with the nature of our network on Facebook, which is structured more like a family tree, stretching out from general Newfangled "fans" to friends of Newfangled employees, and even outward to their friends. In simple regard to generating traffic, it is clear that Facebook presents just as good an opportunity to promote our website content as LinkedIn does.
Next, I'll talk a little bit about using Twitter...