Facebook is getting engaged! The businesses proposed, and they said yes! We can all rejoice and tell our mothers. Ok, maybe it is not quite that exciting, but if you are a business it should be. On Friday the new Fan Page design was released to the world (or at least made available to a segment of the world until the official roll out in March). One of the hot new features in the release was the ability to use Facebook as your Fan Page. This was a gift of engagement.
What this means
When you go to your Fan Page, in the right hand menu bar, at the very top, there is a line that says “Admins”. This shows you who the admins are for your site, and is only visible to them. Fans do not see this. Directly under that line is a list of Fan Page operating options:
The first line says “Use Facebook as…”. This allows you to operate Facebook as your Fan Page. You can post comments on people’s posts, “Like” other pages and post on walls as your Fan Page name. You can do nearly everything you would do as a profile.
This means you can use Facebook as your business or brand, while keeping all your brand activity tied to your fan page.
Previously, if you wanted to comment on pages or posts as your brand you couldn’t do it. Many people would create additional profiles for their businesses just so they could talk to people on Facebook in a location other than their Fan Page. There are many businesses who opted to only have a profile instead of a Fan Page, because of this limitation. However, this limited them to a fixed number of friends. They also risked being deleted, because you are not supposed to use personal profiles for business purposes. That is why Fan Pages were created .
How it affects engagement
The simple Facebook rule for business is this:
If you want to have an effective fan page, you need to talk to your fans.
If you talk to your fans you will increase your reach. You will be passively networking through your interactions with people. This was easy to do with a profile and hard to accomplish with a Fan Page. Now you can post everywhere! You can put your business page in front of as many folks as you are willing to talk to! You just increased your capacity to network infinitely.
However, you also increased the chances of being flagged for spam. Just because you can now post anywhere, it does not necessarily mean you should. You can still be marked as spam if you are not using your new communication channels with care.
Remember, engagement is about talking to people, not about putting your link out there as much as you can. If you join conversations, and have something interesting to say, you will get people to your page and your website.