What made you think there was a place for Cisco on Facebook?
While Cisco has had established pages and groups on Facebook for a couple years now, most of these pages are focused on one technology or business. In addition, there are Cisco Facebook group and fan pages that aren’t created by Cisco employees. We felt this was an opportunity for us to create a Facebook page that is a “one stop shop” for our community on Cisco news, events and information. Similar to how we have a corporate presence on our blogs and Twitter (@CiscoSystems), we thought it was a great opportunity to have a similar presence on Facebook.
It is certainly important for Cisco to be on Facebook because it is another channel we leverage to communicate to our customers, employees, influencers and to anyone who is interested in Cisco. We want to be wherever they are.
What kind of content do you publish on Facebook?
There are a lot of different features on Facebook that allow you to customize and aggregate content from other social sites such as Twitter and Flickr. Each tab we created represents a corporate social channel that feeds into our Facebook page. These include Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, our corporate blog and online newsroom. Essentially, we have created within Facebook, our own online community. You don’t have to leave the Facebook environment to get access to the content across all those Cisco channels. Those are the tabs that we link to, and if you look at our wall, it’s an area for us to spotlight content that we think is important to share with our Facebook community. It could be as simple as an important press release to a humorous video recorded on the Cisco Flip Camera. We’ve had tremendous success with the level of engagement that our community has on the content shared on our wall.
What is your biggest challenge using Facebook?
Initially, it was a dedicated resource. It takes time to build and nurture your community. You don’t just log on one day and have 1,000 fans. You have to take the time to listen and engage with your community. We knew that we had to put one person on this and make sure that person is engaged and understands our Facebook community. Our community manager’s role, which comprises about 5% of her time per day at this point, is not just to post content, but to read the posts, listen, monitor and keep our internal team informed of the level of engagement on the page. We want to be listening 24/7, or at least as much as we can. The role of our part-time community manager is to ensure that conversations are continuing that we are maintaining our presence with the types of assets and news we share and to ensure we are keeping a pulse on not just the positive feedback, but also any negative comments. Due to limited resources, we are primarily focused on amplifying our content and monitoring responses for the time being and are looking to engage more in the near future.
What was the goal for the Cisco Facebook page?
Our goal initially was to create a Facebook page where people can get news and information about Cisco that is qualified and authentic. We also wanted our community to have access to other Cisco social channels such as our corporate blog, Flickr page, Youtube channel, etc. within the Facebook environment.
After a year, we currently have 54,000 people who like Cisco on Facebook. And looking at the level of engagement from them, as measured by their comments, we do feel that we were successful in accomplishing our goals. By creating this page, there is now a Cisco community on Facebook where interested people can engage with us. On average, each post on our Facebook wall gets about 35-45 hits or likes or comments.
What do you think about the issue of transparency on Facebook, as it relates to a personal face for a company, like many brands do on Twitter?
While we still see companies experimenting with this, and as social media continues to evolve, I think we’ll see more of an expectation for disclosure and authenticity. I have a personal Facebook profile, people know that I work for Cisco and if you search for me on Google, you’ll see my bio and you’ll see a link to my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook page. I use Twitter more for work and Facebook more at a personal level, but regardless of where you find me on the social web, my connection to Cisco is apparent.
While we have placed a personal face to our corporate Twitter profile (@CiscoSystems), we haven’t done that on our Facebook page and mainly it’s because we haven’t set up an active engagement strategy. But once we do, I think we will also personalize our Facebook page as we’ve done with our Twitter profile.
Do you have some advice for B2B companies setting up Facebook pages?
1. Conduct an audit to determine whether or not you have an actively engaged audience on Facebook.
2. Determine your goals for establishing a presence. What are you looking to achieve?
3. Always think long term if you are creating a presence. What is the 12-month plan (at the very least) for being on Facebook? Do you have a plan for how you will share content, engage and interact with your community?
4) Determine what success will look like after the 12 months. Can you easily measure and track success?
Building its circle on social networking platform for businesses is a popular trend, which can let people in every walk of life know each other more and share all kinds of information with each other. For example, news studio can report the latest news through Facebook, Twitter. Shops or online stores can tell their new arrival, special commodities, discount, and coupons to their regular and new customers. Companies can share their news and some policies with their stuff and counterpart by social networking service. From Cisco’s experience on Facebook, we can include that sharing what you know and what you want to talk is necessary and useful for ourselves and others.