I don’t discuss Facebook pages here very often, because I know for the majority of industrial and scientific companies, the benefits of having a presence there may be small, and the priority it’s going to receive is smaller still. The profile of Facebook’s regular users is a lot more ‘social’ than most of us are looking for in business, and while it’s obvious that nobody’s going to sell many blue widgets through this route, even the branding potential needs to be handled with care. When people are off-duty, reminding them of business can be counterproductive. So if you can’t do it properly, it might be sensible not to do it at all.
But the serious side of Facebook is growing, and nobody can deny that if there’s a Facebook group discussing blue widgets, then as a blue widget supplier you need to be involved in the conversation. So I see the usefulness of a Facebook presence growing. And as with any established medium which you’re joining, it’s important to know the conventions before you wade in.
An excellent Guy Kawasaki article on the American Express Open Forum called How To Use Facebook To Enchant Your Customers is a good place to start. The key to me seems to be “don’t be boring”; as Kawasaki says: “every update, comment, picture, and video must be positive and uplifting – they should be the equivalent of a beaming smile …you cannot have bad days on Facebook.”
One more thing. Back in the 1990s, a common failing on many companies’ websites was that they’d clearly been designed by someone’s 17-year-old nephew as a college project. Those days are gone, and now we call in the experts. But if you’re setting up a Facebook page, it’s not impossible that the expert might well be your 17-year-old nephew.