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So you started a Facebook group, what's next?

One of the biggest ironies of a social media is that it is so easy to start something, yet the difficult part is to continue it.

I read from the(new)mediaslut, her 1000th post, that Intel Asia Pacific has launched a Facebook group "What's your oldest working PC or notebook?"

I congratulated Elvin Ong for crossing the chasm and starting a group in one of the most popular social networking site yet. However, his question to me was how can he continue the discussion.

From this question, it somehow showed the group was started probably with the only short term objective of showing photos of PC from a recent competition in Indonesia and the problem now is about trying to get more content for the group.

This is one of the common problems I see traditional PR struggling to gather interest about their corporate blog or Facebook group after posting the initial rush of setting up one.

To solve this problem, traditional PR should add elements of of both PR and publishing when engaging the social media scene.

The first thing you should start out is to set objectives. In this case of the "nostalgic" PC Facebook group, what is the objective?

Is the Facebook group use a medium to communicate Intel's role in the evolution of the PC? Or is it just a call for photos of old PCs? Or is it just to showcase photos collected from the Indonesia competition organised by Intel recently?

Like any PR campaign, it is important to set your objectives early. Following which you start mapping up the road trip to achieve these objectives.

The next step is to identify your audience. If Elvin were to take any of the three objectives highlighted, the audience would be different. But I would the choose the first objective of using the group as a medium to communicate Intel's role in the evolution of PC as it gives a more long term approach.

However, the audience to target to achieve this objective is rather fragmented. There is a group of audience that has been using the PC since the 70-80s. You have another group that falls in the 90s and beyond. Both eras have seen PCs used for different eras. The 70-80s group would have used the PC as a productivity tool. Those in the 90s and beyond would have used it more as a gaming platform and communication medium.

So the definition of nostalgia will be different for the two groups so it is important to see how to merge it.

The next problem is getting content and where to get. What should Elvin be looking for? Just photos of old PCs? Who should he getting them from?

Getting the social network to post the content is the ultimate goal. However, the first small steps from Elvin is to get the content from inside Intel.

Promote it as a campaign internally to source for photos of old PCs. Create short video clips of internal staff to talk about their first experience with the PC, both good or bad. Post stories of experiences of first time users of PC. Post links to Youtube videos that is about the history of PC.
Take advantage of events to record short Youtube clips from resellers, public, partners, customers and the media to talk about their first PC experience.

For without content, the group will remain static, not just in terms of new members, but involvement within the group members.

The final but not the least step is to think about how to market the group. Maybe there is an internal email newsletter that is circulated among Intel that Elvin can use to promote the group. Or Elvin could work with the in-country team to market the same contest like what was done in Indonesia and use the group as a medium of communication for the contest.

Setting up a Facebook group is easy, but as you can, to continuously generate content for it is the hardest part of it all.

Getting these done is time consuming for Elvin, but he could consider outsourcing it.

Once the content is built up sufficiently, maybe it could use as a source of information for mainstream media when they are doing stories on the anniversary of PCs or Intel processors.

Setting up a Facebook is as easy as a click of a button, but generating interest in it isn't a one-off thing.

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