Best of 2011 – A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

by Ken Mueller on December 29, 2011 · 5 comments

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This week I’m reposting some of my most popular, and favorite, posts of the year. This post originally ran back in February.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been perusing my Facebook news feed and taking note of how various businesses use status updates on their business pages.

Please note that this is just me capturing a moment in time as these updates scroll through my news feed. I wanted to capture the experience the way most of us do. I didn’t even actually go to the various Facebook businesses pages in question, so I’m not making any judgments as to how well any of these businesses do at engaging and using Facebook on a daily basis.

I didn’t seek these out; they found me. I didn’t actively look for specifics to illustrate certain points. I just did a screen capture of the ones I liked as they flew past me. They aren’t earth-shattering and necessarily over-the-top creative, but they are good examples of the effective uses of the status update. Some businesses struggle with how to use Facebook, especially as they seek to stay “on message”. But that’s not always necessary.

So here are 25 Facebook business status updates, in no particular order, that I think are interesting (and yet very simple), and might get you thinking about how you use your Facebook business page:

For the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, this non-profit group, which includes a homeless shelter, found a great way to pay tribute to MLK, while also making the quote relevant to what they do:

water street update Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of FacebookMeanwhile, this for-profit did something similar, and paid tribute in a very tasteful way that is genuine and doesn’t look like they are trying to profit from the holiday:

proven winners Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of FacebookSpeaking of holidays and events, if your business is closed or will have reduced hours/services, Facebook is a great way to alert customers and manage their expectations. AT&T did a great job here, especially as they tied it into spending time with family:

ATT Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And it’s always good if you can find a way to naturally tie-into major events. I think the American Red Cross did a good job of using humor to tie their mission into the recent Super Bowl, which of course gives fans a great way to engage:

am red cross Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And of course an event like the Super Bowl is also great to promote your specials:

fractured prune Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

hot diggity dog Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

In fact, your latest special or deal is something that restaurants, venues, and retailers often overlook. And a special combined with sports is a great way to build and tap into community:

hot z pizza Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And of course, there’s the weather. How does the weather affect you and your customers? Here are some nice cold weather and snow mentions, including this one that takes advantage of the weather to meet your needs and theirs:

Elan Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And if the kids are home from school and you’re headed to the biggest sledding hill in town, why not stop by the one place that didn’t close?

North Museum Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of FacebookSome businesses are in a unique position to use the weather as an angle for providing helpful tips:

UGI Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And a change in the weather, or other conditions can also be a time to provide great customer service. When the weather gets bad, people begin to worry about their flights. The airport is telling them that they are on top of it and will be the conduit for information. Sure, there are plenty of ways to go online and track that info, from the airlines themselves and others, but this airport is still offering to keep people up to date:

RFD airport Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

Engagement is the name of the game, but businesses often wonder how to actually get their fans to converse with them. Here’s one way, as Auntie Anne’s uses the company birth date as a point of discussion. Notice the amount of interaction they had with fans within just the first five minutes:

auntie annes Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of FacebookAsking questions often prompts fans to answer. With Spring just around the corner, this update from a baseball equipment manufacturer asks a question that is sure to generate responses, as people love to argue about sports, especially if you debate who is “the best”:

franklin baseball update Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

Of course ESPN’s Sportscenter has a larger fanbase and can do this on a larger scale. I love how they phrase the question so that you can tell how people are voting without even having to read through all of the comments:

Sportscenter Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

Being seasonal is also helpful as you keep your fans on their toes. If you’re in any sort of business that relates to the seasons, provide timely information. For instance, a mechanic can talk about winterizing your car, or an electrician can talk about prepping your AC for the dog days of summer. In this case, a manufacturer of organic gardening products gives fans a gentle nudge about gardening:

Safer brands Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

Another way to engage fans, generate discussion, and get new ideas, is to find out how your customers are using your products. Including fan photos (i.e. user generated content) is a great idea. Again, notice the level of interaction within such a short period of time:

reeses Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

Helpful tips and timely information is also a great use of your Facebook status, especially if you can somehow tie it into products you offer. In this way you can promote the products without a hard-sell. Notice how Dave also includes a question in order to get comments (and yes, you knew I’d work Dave in here somehow):

daves ace update Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

Useful information can also come in the form of a nice instructional “How to” video:

lowes update Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of FacebookAnd this used-car dealer gets a nice one-two punch when they provide useful information, then get a completely unrelated question almost immediately from a fan, which they then follow-up with a timely response. A great way of getting a new customer!

weather motors update Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

It’s also important to be a good member of your local community, knowing when to join that community in both celebration and mourning. In this instance, the business is part of a tight knit community that had recently experienced the tragic deaths of four teens in a car accident. Certainly you have to be very careful in how you react to something like this. They aren’t trying to capitalize on tragedy, but the community will appreciate how tasteful and genuine they were in their response:

baron insurance Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And beyond the local community, many people appreciate when companies promote good causes regardless of whether they are local or global. In this case a local restaurant promotes a cause that doesn’t even seem to have any connection to them. It’s simply a matter of “Hey, we like this and think you might, too!”

checkers Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

Another great use of your Facebook status can be crowdsourcing or seeking out information. I’ve certainly done my share of criticizing traditional media for how poorly they seem to use new media, but here’s a case where our local TV station uses Facebook to seek out sources for a news feature. I love how they even give users direct access to the reporter doing the story:

WGAL Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And sometimes, it’s just a matter of small talk. In this instance, the business initiates a conversation that would be very similar to the conversations being held around water coolers and coffee machines in offices all over the country that morning. There’s something very refreshing about seeing this type of update from a national department store chain, which gets a lot of interaction rather quickly:

Kohls update Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

And finally, whether you’re large or small, it always helps to have a bit of a sense of humor:

hanes Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook

What are some other creative ways that you have seen, or perhaps have used yourself, on Facebook business page status updates?

 Best of 2011   A Tale of Two Dozen Status Updates: Effective Use of Facebook
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1 comments
b2b_expert
b2b_expert

 Thank you for sharing superb information. Your web site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and simply couldn’t come across.

bizzinform
bizzinform

 Thank you for sharing superb information. Your web site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and simply couldn’t come across.

bizzinform
bizzinform

Thanks for the ideas. There's always something new to learn and improve on in this mad internet world. Uptiming is surely something to keep an eye on.

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