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INCORPORATING

ONLINE
ENGAGEMENT

FACEBOOK INTO

A practical guide

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 Facebook accounts A 101 Setting the scene Defining Facebooks place in community engagement Pros and cons Anonymity vs. transparency Effective Facebook engagement

2 3 4

7 9 11 13 14

CHAPTER 4 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6

RECOMMENDED READING

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

INTRODUCTION
Facebook is very much the social media phenomenon of the past decade and it is now used by 1 in 7 of the worlds population and by more than half of Australians. Little wonder then, that at Bang the Table, we are frequently asked about how Facebook can best be used as part of a community engagement strategy. Sadly there is no one simple answer, different projects have different audiences, risk profiles, and different needs. Facebook is also an evolving and ever changing platform. Facebook at its core, is a place where people go to socialise. It is informal, often irreverent in its nature which presents challenges for many organisations hoping to harness its audience to achieve meaningful community engagement. So where do we stand in this debate? We cant deny Facebooks huge reach. Its increasing flexibility and integration with other applications makes it very appealing. In the B2C landscape it is a marketers dream. However as a tool to engage people in a meaningful and deliberative way, a few red flags pop up. Some of these flags can be dealt with; others need to be taken more seriously. The art of successfully engaging a community online, among other things, relies on skills commonly found in the marketing and PR fields think promotion and content creation. This is perhaps the crossroads in which we can find Facebook most useful. This guide looks critically at Facebook as a tool within the community engagement spectrum.

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

CHAPTER 1 Facebook accounts a 101


The following provides a basic analysis of the types of Facebook accounts.

PERSONAL PROFILE
Where it all begins. A personal profile is where you can connect and interact with friends, Like Pages and join Groups. You also create and manage Pages or Groups, and place Facebook ads from this account. Limited to 5,000 friends.

GROUP
Managed by an Administrator who can set the privacy settings of the Group and invite and restrict members. Groups are usually set up for members to interact and engage on a particular topic. Limited to 5,000 members.

PAGE
Pages are open for anyone to Like and have no limit on the number of fans. Pages are commonly used by businesses and brands as a marketing and broadcast channel. Unlimited number of Likers.

A simple Google search on Facebook Pages vs. Groups will return several in depth comparisons between the different account types. For a number of reasons we believe that Facebook Pages rather than Groups are the best medium for community engagement on this platform. 1. The nature of Facebook Pages is geared to expanding networks and making connections. 2. While limited in its capacity for in depth analysis and reporting, the inclusion of Insights in Pages provides a good starting point to understand your Facebook communitys engagement patterns in the space. 3. The capacity for app integration, customised branding and creative content within Pages is essential in providing an engaging experience within a social space.

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

CHAPTER 2 Setting the scene


Australia Online Australians are fast becoming the most prolific users of social media in the world. With high Internet connectivity rates set to increase with the introduction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) this trend is likely to continue.

2010-11 Australian census data

79% Australian Households have access to Internet at home

83% Australian Households have access to a computer at home

77% Australian Households access the Internet daily

Australia on Facebook Insights and Perspective When it comes to Facebook, there are more than 11.5 million active Facebook accounts in Australia. In a recent study commissioned by Facebook, 75% of Australian users access the site daily, with a quarter saying its the first thing they looked at in the morning. Thats a seriously captive audienceor is it? The 2012 Yellow Social Media Report by Sensis provided some insight into the patterns and behaviour of Facebook users.

Social Networking Sites Used: 2012 Sensis social media report


Facebook Linked In Twitter Google+ Others 97% 16% 14%

8% 9%

97% of people using social networks are on Facebook


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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

Average usage occasions per week - Facebook:


Total Male Female 14-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+ 6.7 8.8 10.7 23.6 20.6 21.6 19.8 31.3 31.2

What reasons do you use social networking sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter, not the Internet in general)

To catch up with family and friends To share photographs or video To co-ordinate parties and other shared activities To get information on news and events To nd out about entertainment events such as bands To nd out about particular brands or businesses To follow particular brands/businesses to access o ers/promotions To play games To research services/products you may want to buy To meet new friends To nd people with the same interests you have To research holiday destinations or travel o ers Because of pressure from family/friends to use them To follow celebrities To engage with a Government representative/department To provide reviews/write blogs about products you have bought To nd potential dates 33% 27% 23% 22% 18% 18% 16% 14% 13% 13% 11% 9% 7% 6% 3% 51%

94%

Base: Users of Social Media (606)

97% of people go on Facebook to catch up with family and friends. 7% go on to engage with Government

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

Average time spent on each usage occasion (minutes) - trends


21.1 17.8 11.4 13 9 8.6 2011 2012

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Average usage occasions per week - trends


20.6 16.2 23 22.6 2011 2012

7.7 4.9 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Base: Users of Social Media (606)

Based on the information in this selection of charts, the following considerations need to be made in the context of Facebook as an online community engagement tool. 1. In the spectrum of social networking tools, Facebook is currently the standout as far as reach is concerned. 2. Given the decrease in time spent on the site per visit, and the relatively low ranking of community engagement type activities in the heirachy of Facebook activities, how much of that time is likely to be dedicated to engaging with your project/ cause/organisation? Furthermore, what is the quality of that engagement likely to be, and will it meet your engagement objectives? 3. Facebook is a social network and the number one reason for people to visit the site (by a long way) is to catch up with family and friends, followed by to share photos and videos. Engaging with Government features almost last on the list of priorities. With this in mind, could it shape the type of engagement your organisation could pursue on Facebook?

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

CHAPTER 3 Defining Facebooks place in community engagement


Among practitioners of traditional community engagement, the definition of what it means to engage a community is well established, underpinned in particular by the IAP2 spectrum. However, once we move into engaging online, and then a step further into using social networking sites like Facebook to engage, the definition of engagement and the expectations of the communities in these spaces becomes much more diverse. Here are a few examples of this.

Engagement according to...

Facebook: the number of unique people who have clicked on your posts. This number
encompasses only the first 28 days after a posts publication.

The International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC): occupy or attract someones interest or attention;
involve someone in a conversation or discussion.

Queensland Government: collaborating with citizens on policy and service

delivery to enhance the processes of government and improve the outcomes sought. Clearly defining your own objectives going into an engagement process should be a precursor to selecting any offline or online tools. And, in line with advice we often give about selecting engagement tools, it is important that you do not rely on only one tool to engage your community unless there is a very sound argument for it.

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

Facebook as a relationship building tool The following section is an extract of a recent blog post which draws on some new thinking around three core objectives motivating most, if not all, community engagement exercises. 1. Informing Decisions to provide opportunities for the community to contribute to decision making processes 2. Strengthening Relationships to build new or improve existing relationships with the community 3. Building Capacity to educate the community on a specific theme or issue to increase knowledge and change behaviour. We have assigned each of these objectives to a point on a triangle, acknowledging that a project very rarely has a single objective. Most are trying to achieve two and occasionally all three of these objectives. For example, it is often important to build community capacity through knowledge sharing prior to asking for decision-making input. It is equally possible to build relationships through better quality decisionmaking processes.

Facebook Pages

FB Pag es

In this graphic, we have mapped where we think Facebook sits against the three objectives. For comparison, we have also included the various tools built into our online engagement platform, EngagementHQ.
Given this position in the triangle, it is worth considering what activities on Facebook best suit Relationship Development in the context of your organisation.

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

CHAPTER 4 The Pros and Cons


There is no doubt Facebook has had a huge impact on the way we communicate and engage online. The platform has been used to great effect by government bodies in times of crisis we only need to look at the Queensland Polices use of Facebook during the 2011 Queensland natural disasters (floods and cyclones). When considering using Facebook, a review of the pros and cons of the platform, and weighing these up against your objectives is critical. Below is a comparison of the pros and cons associated with Facebook as an engagement tool.

pros
Large user base more than 11 million active users in Australia, 1 billion globally) Facebook ads can be well targeted Facebook is continuously enhancing its advertising as a primary revenue stream within its business model Wide range of tools and apps available provides great opportunity to integrate with other social networking platforms Facebook Pages increasingly more customisable to your brand (iFrames)

cons
Privacy issues little control over changes to the platform at any time

Content ownership who owns your Facebook content

Inefficient reporting and record keeping

Continuously changing platform, rules and privacy settings Use of Facebook as a sole online engagement platform effectively excludes the 50% of the population who dont use it how will you engage them? Lack of anonymity may be a problem when engaging on important issues Lack of support from Facebook slow response times to remove inappropriate Pages Increasing litigation around Facebook content Page owners are now responsible for all content posted to their site (refer to recent Australian Standards Bureau ruling) Pages or Groups must be linked to a Personal Profile business continuity issues Do people want to engage with you in their social space?

Free and quick to set up

Mobile friendly

Proven as an effective disaster response tool (if used well)

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

The legal stuff It is also important to note the requirements in Australia around responsible content on your organisations page. This is an increasingly shifting landscape. A recent determination by the Advertising Standards Bureau raised the issue of who is responsible for this content. A 2011 ACCC Federal Court ruling found that businesses will be held responsible if Facebook or Twitter pages used to promote their businesses include comments which are false, misleading or deceptive. The Communications Council has developed a Social Media Code of Conduct to assist businesses to manage their pages. Read the full article from ASB Blog here.

This ruling means that organisations using Facebook need to be extremely vigilant and on top of all comments posted to their Page, 24/7.

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

CHAPTER 5 Transparency vs. Anonymity


When it comes to engaging online, there are very clearly two sides in the anonymity vs. transparency debate. We blogged about it a little while ago and (through a fantastic infograph by Namesake.com) highlighted the opposing positions of two of the most influential players in the social networking scene Mark Zuckerberg (Co-Founder Facebook) and Chris Poole (Founder 4-Chan). Zuckerberg on having a single identity: You have one identity Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity. Poole on why a single identity is negative: The cost of failure is really high when you are contributing as yourself. Ok. So where do we sit on this debate? Bang the Table on anonymity:

While there is some debate around the topic of (pseaudo) anonymity, we firmly believe in its value. Anonymity removes barriers, breaks down power relations and frees up individual expression.

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

Here are 10 reasons to support our position. 1. Anonymity removes a major barrier to entry for most people. How do we know this? The proof is in the pudding. Over 95% of our forum visitors choose a username that protects their anonymity. 2. Anonymity breaks down power relationships between participants. Weve observed conversations between 50 year olds and 13 year olds that would never take place face-to-face. 3. Anonymity removes power relations between the forum visitor/commenter and the consultation manager. 4. Anonymity removes the possibility of any bias due to prejudices regarding sex, ethnicity or age. 5. Anonymity allows an individual to express an opinion without the fear of intimidation. It greatly reduces the ability of anyone to bully or humiliate others in the forum. 6. Anonymity allows an individual to express an opinion that might be contrary to that of their employer. 7. Anonymity allows an individual to express an opinion that their position in life may not otherwise permit. 8. Anonymity ensures that the consultations analysis focuses entirely on the text, not the personality. The logic of the argument becomes paramount as opposed to the emotion behind it. 9. Ensuring that a persons user name is the same as their legal name would require such a high onus of proof that 95% of people would be put off joining your conversation in the first place. 10. Even if a site did enforce legal name usage, there are those who would break the rules and use a pseudonym anyway. Such actions within the first few minutes of sign up can create a negative mindset, leading to ongoing negative behavior.

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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

CHAPTER 6 Effective Facebook engagement


Youve made the call. Youve considered the risks, rewards and your organisations objectives. Youve decided you want to incorporate Facebook into your engagement strategy. What next? Weve compiled a few tips to help you increase engagement on your Facebook page. These are naturally preceded with general advice about ensuring you have appropriate internal policies and procedures, resources, training and so on in place.

10 TIPS + ONE
1. Remember Facebook is first and foremost about BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS. 2. Know your audience and engage on topics that are interesting and relevant to your community. 3. Be responsive. People expect near real time responses to their comments. So dont just post and dash. Stick around on your site to respond to people that engage with your posts. 4. Use Facebook to humanise your organisation. Give people insight into who you are as an organisation and what makes you tick. In our experience, people respond better to posts that are more personal than to generic broadcasts about our product. 5. Trial the timing and frequency of your posts. Remember the stats around frequent visits for short periods. Test when your community is most active and responsive. Check your Facebook Insights for some guidance. 6. Use appropriate language and tone. Remember Facebook is a social network and people go there to be social. Reflect this in the type of language you use. 7. Monitor your space 24/7. This is something we can help you with. 8. Provide clear rules of engagement and enforce them in a timely manner. Keep the space safe for those wanting to participate. 9. Be prepared for negative feedback. Being on Facebook comes with the risk that your organisation will receive negative feedback or criticism in a public space and this can happen very quickly and on a big scale. A word of warning. Removing or deleting negative comments about your organisation on your Facebook Page never ends well. Be prepared to address these as you would in a face-to-face situation. 10. Post content that encourages your community to engage (share, like or comment on your posts). For the most part people go to Facebook to unwind and socialise. This blog by Mashable gives some great tips on the best type of content to increase engagement. 11. Remember Facebook is a social space. If you want to get serious, measurable debate and discussion with your community, use Facebook to build your relationships first and then to invite them into the discussion in a space purpose built for deep dialogue and engagement. We can help you with this too.
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INCORPORATING FACEBOOK INTO ONLINE ENGAGEMENT - A PRACTICAL GUIDE

RECOMMENDED READING Facebook Page Moderation: keeping your Facebook Page safe 24/7. 2012 Yellow Sensis Social Media Report: for latest insights into social media usage in Australia Australian Policy Online Connecting with Communities: how local government is using social media to engage with citizens Social Media Examiner: your guide to the social media jungle Queensland Police Service: Disaster Management and Social Media a case study Communications Council Best Practice Guide: Social Media Code of Conduct

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