Facebook: Two Tips for Managed Service Providers

Facebook: Two Tips for Managed Service Providers

Managed Services Groups on FacebookIn recent days, I've noticed a few folks joining Facebook groups organized by managed services-oriented software companies. Call me crazy, but I'm one of those Facebook users who rarely joins vendor and media groups on Facebook.

Admittedly, millions of people get their news and status updates through social networks like Facebook. But I'm wired slightly differently: I find myself depending mainly on RSS feeds, Google Alerts, Twitter -- and old fashioned reporting -- these days.

Look Before You Leap

If you insist on launching a Facebook group, here's a note of caution: If your Facebook group doesn't grow and offer unique content, you've basically shown the early members that there's no compelling reason to hang out in your group. And rivals with larger, more active groups will put you to shame.

Here are two ways to get around those challenges:

  • Conference Groups: Launch Facebook Groups tied to events or business milestones. Very often, event attendees want to network with each other after a conference ends ... but they don't know how to find each other. A Facebook Group is a great way to address that communications gap. It's also a great way to build attendee buzz leading up to a conference. As part of the registration process for the event, include a Facebook Group membership option. And have guest speakers pop into the group from time to time to say hi to registrants.
  • Exclusive Groups: Only allow selected folks in. Form groups for your most prized customers, beta testers or partners. Remember: Everybody wanted to get into Studio 54 because nearly nobody could get in.
At Nine Lives Media Inc. (MSPmentor's parent), we used the "exclusive group" approach to build two private social networks on Ning, a free software platform from Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen. Each of our private social networks has about 1,000 members, and each of those members needed certain "credentials" to access the free networks.

But launching a Facebook Group just for the sake of having one? Count me out.

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