by Patrick Ilagan . July 2nd, 2013
We’ve seen a lot of freelance designers use different social media platforms to promote their work. With a plethora of social media sites to choose from it can be a heck of ride to pick one
Just because a lot of people use a particular social networking site doesn’t mean that it’s perfect for you. Misusing a social media site can be a pain and extremely time consuming.
Social media is a great tool but knowing which platform to use and how to use it right matters.
“Be Social” is going to be a mini-series discussing social media sites and how each of them can help supercharge your business.
This week, we ‘ll talk about the current top dog of social sites—Facebook.
It’s safe to assume that almost everyone we know is on Facebook. With more than a billion users it is no surprise that using Facebook gives you an edge when it comes to networking.
Many of us use Facebook for personal use -to connect with family and friends. The idea of using it as a promotion tool can be a hard pill to swallow especially to those who don’t use Facebook often.
Using Facebook as a promotional tool can be a chore for some, and others see it as nothing more than procrastination. Of course with discipline and proper time management these issues are pretty much moot.
The real question here is: How powerful is Facebook ?
Since this is a design blog we asked our creative pixies to churn out a cool infographic to further illustrate the reach and depth of Facebook.
• Facebook’s Monthly Active Users went up to 23% from the 901 million in March 2012
• The Daily Active Users went up to 26% from the 526 million on average in March 2013
• Local Businesses shot up to a whopping 100% from 8 million in June of 2012
• Facebook earned $1.25 billion during the first quarter of this year (2013) — 43% more from the $872 million in the first quarter of 2012
Useful Features of Facebook for Business
Now that you guys have seen the stats, let’s talk about current Facebook features that could be useful for design businesses and freelancers:
1. Graph Search – Facebook’s upcoming feature integrates social context in searching by adding a number of variables that sift and organize profiles of people, pages and services. This makes it easy to find people who liked certain brands or interests. If you are interested you could check out Banyan Branch’s top 5 uses of the Graph Search as well as the one via Lifehacker.
2. Groups – Similar to the old Yahoo! groups wherein people with the same interests can create a community, in Facebook, users could post statuses, group messages and event announcements. This is great for designers since there is a plethora of Facebook groups for them to join in and make new connections. Moreover, it allows you to create a community wherein you can promote your business in a more targeted audience or gain more following.
3. Pages – Pages are like profile pages but with more features. In pages, you can monitor and analyze data about the engagement of your audience using Page Insights. More businesses have been using Facebook pages to represent their company and identify their market and share important or entertaining information. For freelancers, this is a valuable feature since you can separate your personal and public accounts. Apart from that, freelancers can share their work, important updates, works in progress or blog post updates.
4. Instagram – With its recent acquisition of Instagram, Facebook has now finally created a top notch photo and video sharing experience.
5. Hashtags – This is also a new feature on Facebook and much like Twitter, Instagram and Google+ the hashtag system helps your posts be easily searchable. Just make sure that your hashtags are simple and stay at the minimum because no one really likes a post filled with sentence hashtags. On top of that people will think that you are being spammy. If you are still not convinced about using hashtags why not check out Forbes post on why you should seriously consider using hashtags.
PROs and CONs of Facebook for Business
Facebook is not perfect but it is a great tool to add in your marketing and promotion tool box. Let’s talk about some pros and cons of using Facebook to market your design business.
1. Almost everyone is on Facebook.
2. Because of its huge amount of users, making use of Facebook advertising is an edge.
3. Likes, Comments and Share system are great engagement tools.
4. Facebook has intuitive Landing Pages.
5. Effortless maintenance since posting photos, statuses and links only take a few seconds.
6. Posts are more optimized because of Hashtags
1. Facebook is a bit inconsistent due to updates every now and then.
2. Budget constraints especially for Facebook ads.
3. Page monitoring and engagement can take time and effort.
4. People will sometimes perceive your content as spam.
Facebook has the bells and whistles for a marketing and promotional tool. It’s free and easy to maintain, unless you opted to purchase the ads service but that’s a different story that we will cover sometime soon.
Facebook’s page insights is one of the best tools under Facebook’s arsenal since it tracks followers and their interaction. The one thing that you should remember about using Facebook is that for it to be effective is that it would need your time to maintain it.
In addition, posted content must be interesting and informative. The time and frequency of posting matters too.
With that in mind freelance designers who are all too busy might have to consider other social media platforms that are far easier to maintain.
What do you guys think? We’d like to hear what you guys have to say.
Share your thoughts, insights and feedbacks about this at the comments below.
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Patrick Jude Ilagan is a graphic designer/photographer hailing from the vast jungles of urban Manila. Always on the look out for visually appealing stuff he scours the internet and the bustling city in search of inspiration. His tools for mass creation is a Canon 500D along with a wide array of lights and lenses plus a 4 year old (but still fighting) laptop. Check out his work on Tumblr.