Facebook has added a very nifty tagging feature this month so that it functions a little more like Twitter in certain capacities. Facebook users now have the ability to communicate directly with another Facebook user or business by adding the @ symbol before their user name.
For instance…lets say I want to make the following update on my Facebook profile:
Amy is “Saying hello to everyone at Out of the Box Marketing “ or Amy is “Just read an interesting blog post from Schoodoodle” or Amy is “Meeting Becky Smith at the park”.
Wouldn’t this be so much more interesting and useful if there was a link to the Out of the Box Facebook page and the Schoodoodle Facebook page or to Becky’s profile? To do this, simply type in the “@” symbol before the name of the business page or your friend’s profile and a drop down menu will appear for you to select the name. Upon name selection- the link to the business page or to your friend will appear live so it shows up like : Out of the Box and Schoodoodle
Those who use Twitter are already familiar with how this works- and understand why this is so exciting for businesses on Facebook. This feature allows:
- More viral “buzz” to occur about business pages and groups in Facebook
- More direct interaction between friends and businesses
- The ability for businesses to have more direct and meaningful engagement with their fans. When you tag a fan of your business, they will receive notification and are likely to come back to your page and engage.
Here is the catch for Facebook admins (there seems to always be one!) that I learned after reading Jason Fall’s informative article Facebook Tagging for Business on Social Media Explorer today:
The catch is that you can only tag those who are your Facebook friends as well. If someone is a fan of your business, but not a friend of yours on the network, you won’t be able to tag them. As a result, you’ll have to think through having a professional account for yourself that you use to friend people who are fans of your brand. Some may not feel comfortable “friending” someone from the brand as well, but some probably will.
Confused? It’s ok. Just try it, go with it and see what happens. This does not over expose people because Facebook users still have to accept friend invitations in order to see their profile updates and information. In other words, the same privacy rules and settings will still in effect.
If I tag Becky Smith in my updates and someone in my Facebook network sees this update and clicks on Becky’s link- they will not be able to see her information if that person is not already friends with them. Becky also has the option of removing this tag.
This is a very exciting tool for social media marketers BUT I strongly encourage all admins of Facebook business pages to read Jason’s article and follow his 5 tips to best tagging for business practices:
Five Rules For Facebook Tagging For Business
1. Only tag people who will find the information you’re posting relevant. Throwing up a coupon and tagging all your friends is spammy. Use your update or email marketing features for that. Use tagging when you mention one of your Facebook friends showed up at your event and you were glad they came. It sends a personal “thank you” in a public way and allows them to see that you appreciate them.
2. Don’t tag the same people all the time. Just like blasting messages via email, when you get into copy and paste procedures, you become spam-like and annoying. Make sure you follow rule number one, but mix it up and tag different people in different messages, pictures or notes.
3. Set your notifications appropriately. The first thing most people noticed when the tagging feature was added is they started getting notifications of not just being tagged, but when anyone else responded to the item you were tagged in. Change those email notifications to get the exact information you want from Facebook and one that you don’t want or don’t need.
4. Be sensitive to your customer’s wishes. I would only recommend tagging people you have a great relationship with an know won’t mind you connecting them with your brand publicly. Your best friends … fans … advocates. Tagging a new person who has joined your Fan Page in a note or status update can seem a bit creepy if they haven’t had a chance to get to know you yet.
5. Encourage your employees, friends, followers and fans to tag your fan page when mentioning you on Facebook. It’s a simple act (just hit @ followed by your brand name or page name, then select) that places a link to your page or group in their updates. I would recommend, however, you ask in a way that is subtle and implies that you’d appreciate the gesture but it certainly isn’t required. Don’t worry. They’ll share the love if they really love you.