Yesterday, I posted episode #67 of Six Pixels Of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast. After my usual routine of sending the MP3 file over FTP and posting the show notes on the Twist Image Blog, I usually head over to Facebook and do a little extra Online Marketing by changing my Status and adding the link of the show to the Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast Society group. The Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast Society group now proudly boasts close to seven hundred and fifty members. There's been steady growth, but not that much action, which got me thinking that the charm of joining any Facebook Group is soon going to fade unless Facebook (and her users) start finding their groove.
This will be one of Facebook's bigger challenges. The online social network has critical mass, and I find the types of groups highly interesting and targeted to my interests. The problem is that few people are using them for anything other than having a listing of what they've joined on their personal profile. If this continues, it will be a shame.
I made a decision to start another group to test out some Facebook Marketing theories I have been thinking about surrounding Search Engine Optimization, Links, Affiliate Marketing and the Momentum Effect associated with online social networks. Even though I'm presently working the Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast Society, the Business And Motivational Book Review - Foreword Thinking group, and the Canadian Music Industry Alumni, I discovered that there was no Facebook Group for those interested in Podcasts created by Canadians.
Enter: Podcast Canada.
I started off by inviting one hundred people on my list who I thought would be interested in a group that is all about Podcasting and Canada. I kept the net wide - I wanted people from other parts of the world who like Canadian Podcasts and people who just listen to Podcasting who are Canadian_ you get the picture. I wanted to see how fast (especially on a Sunday of a long weekend) the wheels of Facebook spin. Within an hour of Podcast Canada launching, there were fifty people signed up. What intrigued me is that nearly one fifth of the people who joined were not people I had sent an initiation to. The Momentum Effect is alive and well.
Now the challenge: I started off by posting to the Wall. I even added some pictures from Podcasting meet-ups over the years. I used the Post A Link functionality to encourage others to add the link to their favourite shows (along with a description). I started a discussion thread on the best gear to use to record a Podcast. Basically, I did what most Group Admins don't do: I started to populate the page by putting content that should provoke others to create, add and share. To put it bluntly: I put lots of cheese into the mousetrap.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the community reacts. I'm looking forward to seeing how many people join, but - more importantly - I'm curious to see how many take advantage of this free publicity. How many treat the Podcast Canada Group as a real place to connect, share and network or, like most Facebook Groups, how many people just want it listed on their personal profile.
Facebook makes it so easy to start a group that nearly everyone does, and sometimes (errr.. most of the time) it's about total randomness or trying to get a rise out one's online social network. This is one of the things that makes Facebook so sticky, but I'm looking forward to seeing how these Groups help individuals truly grow their online social networks. I can see that most people who Admin a group are not sure how to create action (beyond the sign-up). I'm confident this will change and I'm hopeful that it will present another fascinating layer of data and user interest that will make us all better Marketers. It seems like Facebook has given us all the tools to engage a community, but the real juice and action you get from active message boards and the like just isn't there... yet.