Facebook: Social Media Platform Summary

What is Facebook?

Facebook is the largest social media website in the world. This site is primarily used for social networking, such as keeping in touch with friends or following a business/organization. It started out mainly targeted at college students, even requiring a valid school email address to register at one point. However, the Facebook times have changed, and the age/occupation scope of users has altered dramatically as well. Now, you can find users ranging from preteen to grandparents, and local companies to retail giants.

Getting Started

Becoming a member of the Facebook world is extremely simple. Go to Facebook.com, enter the information they have requested, and then, besides setting up the profile or page, you are finished. The fields that are blank on the first page are for individuals setting up a profile, if you are setting up a page, there is a specific option for you underneath the ‘sign up’ button.

Brief Description of Facebook Components

  • Profile– Individuals create a profile which tells other users about themselves. Typical information found in this section: gender, birth-date, employment, school, home-town, current location, etc. Recent activity, friends, and photos are all found in the profile section. The timeline is also part of a users profile page. Please see below for more information on the timeline.
  • Page– This is similar to a profile; however, it is intended for businesses, organizations, or products. Typical information found on a page: founded date, description, related websites, history by year, company overview, etc. Having a page allows users to “like” business, organization, or product, which then shows up on the users’ timeline. Keep in mind that if you seem to be posting what others would consider spam, or simply too often, those users that have liked your page can unlike it, and you will no longer show up on their news feed.
  • Timeline– This used to be called the ‘wall.’ The timeline is where your comments, posts, status updates, etc will show up. This is essentially a huge chunk of your profile (or page).
  • Status– Most users post short updates here. If you are using Facebook as an individual, it really could be anything from lyrics, what you are up to, a funny quote, the possibilities are endless. If you are using this as a company, etc., you can use the status bar for asking questions you would like to hear public opinion on, specials that are going on, a quote that relates back to your business, fun facts about your organization, business, and so on. Anything you have posted in this status bar will show up on either your friend’s news feed or the people who have liked your page’s news feed.
  • News Feed– The news feed is where everybody else’s posts, status updates, new pictures, etc. will show up. It is a quick news report on what all your friends and pages have been up to, as long as they posted. When you log onto Facebook, this is the first thing you will see. When a friend ‘likes’ a new page, it will show up on your news feed that they have done so.
  • Likes– There are two main ways to use the ‘like’ button on Facebook. The first way is more on an individual basis, such as liking a friend’s photo, or a recent status update. Liking those things mean exactly that, you like it (think it is funny, cute, can relate, etc.). The second reason to like something (a page) would be to show your approval of the organization, business, product, etc. This type of like means you support that page, and by liking it, you are allowing their updates to show up on your and your friends, news feed. When you like a page, you are ‘liking’ the entire piece, not just a status update or a photo. In most instances, to see the full content of a page, you must first like the page.
  • Comments– Once you have “liked” a page, you can comment, or post, on their timeline. If the creator of the page has put up an interesting article, or a great quote, you can share your opinion by commenting on it. If you want to write something on their timeline, without responding to anything else, that is when it is considered a post. You can also post on profile pages of friends in the same fashion.
  • Show in News Feed– This is a recent addition to Facebook. You now have the option of choosing whose posts (updates, notifications, etc.) show up on your timeline. When someone posts too many times in a day, and it gets to be frustrating, you can simply pop on over to their profile and click (or unclick) the show in news friend button under the ‘friends’ drop down bar. You are still friends with this person, but they will no longer show up on your news feed.
  • Tagging– There are now two ways you can use tagging on Facebook. You can use it to show who is in a picture you have posted, or to draw attention to a picture even if there is not anyone in it. For example, if you have just created a great flyer and you know you have people who would be interested to see it, you can tag them in the picture, they will get a notification, and then they will be sent a link to view the image. The image will also appear on the user’s friends news feed. The second way you can tag people is in a status update. This will also show up in the tagged person’s friends news feed. An example of this will be if your organization has an event coming up. You want to say something like “Big informational rally today at 12, hope to see you all there…” you can tag people in this with the @ button (type @, and then begin typing who you want to tag). Only do this if you are sure the person you are tagging would want to be tagged, such as if they had shown interest in the rally, helped organize, etc.
  • Messages– Messaging is the Facebook version of the email. When the person you have messaged logs on Facebook, they will get a notification that they have a message waiting for them. If both parties are online at the same time, this can also be used as a chatting system, with instant reply.

How do Individuals use Facebook?

Facebook is a great avenue for keeping up with friends, either around the world or right in your neighborhood. Instead of having tons of old address books filled with names, and numbers laying around, you now have an online method for staying in touch with people you care about, which also conveniently features pictures of them, for those who easily forget faces.

Sharing pictures, plans, thoughts, or adventures is another bonus on Facebook. You can share with many people at one time, and they can all comment on it as well. I have even seen users post their polls through their statuses. For example, if two new (very similar) businesses open up in the area, they may post a “please share experience and rate” status to find out how other people feel about one place or another.

It is also a great place to stay informed about the products you are interested in. Many retail stores, who have Facebook pages, post their specials and promotions online. Some even offer special contests and coupons for their Facebook fans. By liking pages, you can view new products, how celebrities are using them if they have been featured in the news or even smaller scale, if there is a new store opening.

How do Businesses, Organizations, or Companies use Facebook?

Once you have mastered Facebook, it could draw in many potential clients/ customers. Of course, the first thing you need to do is create a page. Please keep in mind that profiles are for individuals and pages are for companies/businesses. If you want people to know more about you, feel free to create both, a page telling about your company and a profile telling about yourself. Do not, however, double post (posting the same thing on both accounts) as many people will not look favorably upon that.

Facebook has made it extremely easy to use for promoting your business/company. You can send bulk messages to people who have liked your page, invite them to join groups you have created, invite them to events going on, and you can also create ads to promote yourself further. The ‘create an ad’ button is next to the ‘account’ button in the upper right corner, just click on the little arrow to see the option and then follow the prompts.

Make sure you create, or use, a very eye-catching image on your page. This is likely to draw people in, especially if they are seeing it on a friends page, and do not necessarily have any information on your company yet. The goal is for them to see it, be interested enough to go check it out, and then like it for themselves.