PR In Progress

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Thoughts on Public Relations, Communications, Social Media, Sports and anything else in my life…

Social Media or Bust…Part 4

Facebook!

Everyone has their opinion of Facebook. Many like I, who wrote it off early on, have come around to Facebook and have realized the potential it has in business communications.

Facebook is essentially a social networking platform that enables users to network with people locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Users create their own Facebook profile to suit the use they prefer, whether it is socially or professionally, and begin befriending other users they know or share common interests with. These connections then allow other users to join your network by searching for certain characteristics. From your birth date to the books you enjoy, anything you post on your profile is linked to others with the same information.

Probably the best feature of Facebook in my opinion is its simplicity. The general theme is very professional and aesthetically pleasing, allowing for more efficient use of its options. I appreciate the fact that they have made it to where nobody can personalize the theme, like users can on Myspace. It becomes cluttered and difficult to navigate when users begin customizing their profiles. Plus, when you are trying to find a specific piece of information, you know exactly where to look because it is located in the same place on your profile!

According to Facebook’s factsheet, they are currently tracking over 80 million active users. That means being a part of Facebook is quite possibly one of the best networking positions in which one can put their self, given you use it effectively suiting your needs.

What cCan I Do on Facebook?

Facebook has diversified since its inception, enabling boundless opportunities. The most basic capabilities of Facebook are photo, video and link sharing. Users can upload an unlimited amount of photos to their profile and even create online picture albums.

Recently, Facebook launched its online instant messaging utility, allowing you to communicate with friends who are online at the same time as you. The utility is located in the bottom right of the screen and shows you which friends are online and able to chat with.

A big addition to Facebook was when they decided to allow users to create applications with the Facebook platform. An infinite amount of applications have been created ranging from fans of a TV show to selecting friends for superlatives. Such specialization has allowed for increased interconnectivity and made it easier for targeting publics.

The other use of Facebook I find intriguing and will definitely explore is its advertising capabilities. Ads can be created for any number of purposes and can be specially targeted to certain publics. Though I haven’t had much interaction with the advertising portion, I do know they have a step by step process leading you through the creation of your advertisement and will work with you on placement, pricing, etc. This is available to registered users and businesses who create “business profiles”. Facebook also offers an online Marketplace to its users, serving as a Facebook classified section.

Applying Facebook to PR

In the world of PR, your network can make you and break you. A strong network is an essential tool in any practitioner’s toolkit. Luckily, the creators of Facebook had us in mind when they developed it.

Aside from networking, here are a few other PR Facebook applications:

  • Targeting key publics with an idea or news release.
  • Conducting research studies
  • Creating awareness campaigns
  • Workgroup collaboration
  • Press release distribution
  • PSAs
  • PR advertisements
  • Non-profit fundraising
  • Etc.

My Thoughts

As I’ve stated, I am in no way an expert on any social media tool. I have been using some tools for a little while now and have a basic understanding of them, but cannot completely relate to all the aspects available.

Facebook is probably the one social media tool that I have been using longer than any other. That being said, I haven’t exactly maximized my use of it to my benefit. I have found great success in networking with close friends and past friends who have re-connected with me. I have spent hours viewing online ads through the Marketplace for furniture and accessories and have even signed up for a couple neat applications. However, after reading about its uses and contemplating public relations applications, I’ve got a new-found respect for Facebook. Once again, never judge site by its homepage!

So, what are your thoughts on Facebook?

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Filed under: Social Media, Toolkit, Writing

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