September 18, 2012 by thesmallmediumdenver
Business owners may have several concerns and questions about why they should use a Facebook business page for their online presence. To examine this topic, one may look at how Facebook users, themselves, use the online platform.
Academic research show four seminal variables of use among Facebook users, including: Information; Sociability; Diversion; and Surveillance. Engaging with clientele by utilizing these four variables may be quite beneficial for business owners, providing legitimacy and authenticity to their business.
The use of information-sharing among Facebook users may be the most obvious and most used variable, as generally all use of media relay information.
A business owner can share information by providing clients with a variety of content assoicated with their business. For example, an owner can provide news links from major media sources discussing topics that relate to the business (i.e. – a home renovation company posts a link about “how to do it yourself: window installation,” written by the Home Depot website).
Other information shared by owners on their Facebook page may include: General announcements about the business (special events, holiday hours, etc.); Posting pictures (i.e. – “special of the day” at a restaurant); YouTube videos; and Any links to other relevant sites.
The second variable of use, sociability, seems fitting for discussion of social media use. Facebook allows interaction, unlike Google or Yelp reviews that only allow for a one-way conversation. A Facebook business page provides a platform for clients to pose questions and concerns to a business owner. Owners can also use their page profile to interact with other pages with comments, tags, locations, etc.
Being social with social media can provide a business with authenticity, as the platform can be used as “the voice” of the business.
The third discussed variable is diversion, or the “fun” variable. Results from academic research show that Facebook users often access the platform in order to “kill time”, be amused, or enjoy a diversion. This variable of use provides a business owner the opportunity to show the fun side of their business and/or a sense of humor. The owner can show use of their page is not just for promotion.
There are a number of ways to be creative about providing a fun diversion for Facebook use. Depending on the business and the owner, the internet is loaded with “silly” material that can be posted via links, pictures, or written material.
The final variable of surveillance is the most unnoticed, yet the most important. Surveillance refers to the act of inspecting something with scrutiny, in this case a Facebook business page. Not only “likers” of the page, but anyone who comes across it, may view the content.
Many online users surf through various sites, surveilling the content, hence everything an owner provides on their Facebook page is of value. Knowing the habits of internet users, one may assume that their page will be seen by someone without knowledge of their viewing. Therefore, all of the page’s content, from links and pictures to contact information, will be seen and play a role in the surfer’s decision to consider giving their business to the page owner.
To recap, four variables of use are shown among Facebook users, including: Information; Sociability; Diversion; and Surveillance. Using these variables on a Facebook business page may provide owners with a powerful tool of engagement with clientele, and authenticity & legitimacy to the business.
I hope this post helps provide some guidance in social media management. My name is John, and I work for The Small Medium, providing online/social media management for Denver-area business owners.