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Facebook use by SAPOL good for marketers

Copernicus as an SA Police Officer (Original Image via Wikipedia)

If you’ve been tempted to nudge  your partner or kids this long weekend for spending too much time ‘buried’ in their iPads or smartphones on Facebook, you might want to think again.

The SA Police Facebook Page has used its community of ‘eyeballs’ to help return two people to their families, thanks to the ease of sharing alerts and updates within the Social Network.

While I normally talk about Facebook from a marketing perspective, it is important to remember the core reasons 11.6 million Australians are drawn to the site.

Firstly, Facebook users overwhelmingly fall into two categories; people wanting to connect with family and/or friends. and the other is people who feel like they have to join Facebook so they don’t lose touch with family and/or friends.

Secondly, when people use Facebook, they are usually filling or killing time in pursuit of pleasure, to remove boredom or to simply out of habit.

Hmm, consuming ads and listening to a business’ list of new products have not featured in the list thus far.

I call this the Copernicus Revolution for Marketers.

The world does not revolve around your business

Nicolaus Copernicus was the 16th Century mathematician and astronomer who revealed that the Sun is the centre of our solar system, not Earth.

This finding which we take for granted today was controversial back then.

Likewise, as many people wearing Marketing hats get their grubby hands upon a social network like Facebook it is easy to forget that friends and family are the centre of the Facebook universe for most users, not Business Pages.

As with any communication today, consumers have more options than ever to shut us OUT of their world’s, so we need to bring VALUE to their interactions with us.

We need to understand that Social Networks revolve around SOCIAL content.

How SA Police uses Facebook well

If you follow SAPOL on Facebook, you get short snippets of stories, peppered (or should I say, capsicummed) through your news feed.

They typically consist of:

  • Stories of break ins or crimes locals would prefer to be aware of
  • Calls for help in identifying criminals or stolen cars
  • Appeals to help find missing people

The beauty of SAPOL Facebook activity is that it shows marketers how this social network can be used for good.

In just over a week, the SAPOL Facebook Page has been instrumental in returning two lost people to their families.

On March 22, the Page reported:

William has been found – safe and well in the Nairne area. Thank you to all who went out of their way to share our post and help look for him. Nearly 9,000 shares and 350,000 people aware and looking – brilliant.

And yesterday, on Easter Sunday, it reported:

Great news! Mr McVeigh has been found safe and well. He made his way to a nearby property and they have returned him to the Burra Gorge camping ground. Thanks to everyone, particularly our Facebook followers for you interest and help. Another Facebook success.

This shows that, providing they are not driving at the time, using Facebook on long weekends and in ‘down time’ can actually be a net force for ‘good’.

Why marketers should lighten up if family and friends are using Facebook on holidays

From a marketer’s perspective, I get two things from today’s reflection.

Firstly, people are actively engaging with Facebook still, at all manner of day and night, despite occasional anecdotal reports I hear in my workshops that people are losing interest.

And, secondly, when people are engaging with family and friends, they are open to other input and topics that seem relevant to their worlds’, ie, SAPOL reports.

So, if you have been dabbling in Facebook without much success, maybe the last part of this weekend might be put to good use by reflecting on how honestly engaging and interesting your posts have been, when viewed through a post-Copernicus lens.

In other words, try to put yourself into the frame of mind of someone relaxing on Facebook who does NOT know you or your business well, and look at some of your previous posts as they might. Do your previous posts really stack up against birthday greetings, jokes and pictures of friends?

Happy Holiday!

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