It’s baaaaack! I created the Christmas Vacation Facebook Challenge in 2010. Here’s the updated version for 2012. Taking the challenge? Post your results on the A.F.MarCom Facebook Page!
Whatever you call it — Christmas vacation, winter break, holiday leave, plant shutdown, my-company-is-saving-costs-by-giving-us-unpaid-vacation — a lot of you have time on your hands between December 25 and January 2. So do your friends and relatives, some of whom are trying out new computers and joining Facebook for the first time.
Christmas vacation is the perfect time to really get to know your way around Facebook. During my challenge you can:
Establish good social networking habits
Experience the successful and unsuccessful posting techniques of your friends
Get a feel for what works and what doesn’t on business pages
And best of all….
Reestablish and reinforce personal relationships with friends and family who live far away or have busy lives.
The last point is so important I’m going to repeat it:
Even if you’re primarily on Facebook to manage a business page, if your enterprise is business-to-consumer, it’s important to understand how Facebook is used personally.
1. DIVIDE YOUR FRIENDS INTO EASY-TO-FOLLOW LISTS.
Did you know that you can put your Facebook friends into lists, and then see customized newsfeeds containing just those friends? This is a very helpful feature, especially if you have a large number of friends that you know from different activities or times of your life. Facebook does shuffle your friends into preset categories, but Facebook’s robots make some funny decisions, and the default lists aren’t necessarily useful. You’ll definitely want to make your own lists.
On Facebook, as in life, the boring people drown out the interesting people. Therefore, the most basic way to divide your friends is between “people whose stuff you don’t want to miss” and “people who’s stuff you don’t mind missing.”
Another way to divide your Facebook friends is by their interests. This is helpful if you want to quickly see what your musician friends are up to this weekend, or if your marathon-running friends are still training in the face of cookies and egg nog.
Other possible lists are local friends, out-of-town friends, high school friends, friends with political interests, friends of your gender and friends who are parents. Not only do lists like these make it easier to follow groups of friends, but you can write updates that are visible only to the members of a specific list.
Facebook has made many changes in 2012, so here are some screenshots to help you find your friends list. Click on them to see a larger version.
2. RESPOND TO YOUR FRIENDS’ POSTS
Do you scan your newsfeed for updates but never interact with the people who are posting? It’s time to join the fun! Participation can be as simple as giving “thumbs up” to a photo via the “like” button, or as complex having a conversation with several people who have all replied to a friend’s status update. Make it a point to respond in some way to at least one status update, photo or link each day during this challenge.
3. SHARE YOUR NEWS, THOUGHTS, PHOTOS, FAVORITE SONGS, FAVORITE VIDEOS AND THINGS YOU THINK YOUR FRIENDS MIGHT ENJOY.
I feel confident that all of you reading this post have, at least once, shared something with a group of people via email. I’m also sure that most of you do this regularly.
Communicating with your friends via Facebook is no different, except that you’re not cluttering up their mailboxes. To get into the habit of connecting with your friends via Facebook, for the duration of this challenge, pick a time each day during which you will always update your status. You might start in the morning with your plans for the day, post in the evening with a recap of the day, or choose the afternoon so that you have a little of both. Or maybe you won’t talk about what you’re doing, but rather how you feel about something — so excited that your kid is coming home from college, or so bummed that you have to shovel two feet of snow.
Don’t get hung up worrying that your posts won’t be interesting to every single one of your friends. You are not a professional entertainer. You’re a person whose friends have a variety of interests. If you have friends who love shoes, then you’ll want them to know about Your Next Shoes. If some of your friends love Star Trek, you’ll want them to see this.
4. “LIKE” YOUR FRIENDS’ PAGES
Hey, it’s always good to help out your friends, plus it’s another way to get to know them. If they’re bad at running their business pages and flood your newsfeed with useless chatter, you can always hide their pages, and you’ll have learned a valuable lesson you can apply to your own page. And if they run their pages well, you can imitate them!
5. REPEAT STEPS 2 – 4 FOR YOUR BUSINESS PAGE. Respond to at least one other business every single day of this challenge. Share their information, advice and good news whenever it’s appropriate. Share your news, thoughts and business-related favorites with this important warning in mind:
You are not a newspaper!
Post only what is both truly interesting to you AND gives your readers more information about you, your business, your industry or your local area. No one needs you to fill their newsfeeds with current events.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW THE CHALLENGE IS GOING FOR YOU! I encourage everyone to “like” the A.F.MarCom Facebook Page and post updates and questions there. I’m also thrilled to get comments here on the blog!