I recently started using Facebook to keep in touch with friends. I’m definitely not a regular updater and what has been enlightening for me is understanding how not only I but my friends and family use Facebook.

I had my own preconceptions about how it was used and simply whether it had any value or relevance to me. I must admit I am starting to quite like it. I definitely fell into the ‘why would anyone want to know what I am up to and who really cares’ camp. My life isn’t that interesting – mainly made up of running around tidying up after the kids, sitting on the sofa in the evening and promptly falling asleep only to wake up at 1am, wishing I did more with my life. The cycle continues, apart from my time at work, the next day.

I recently received a couple of emails from two people who I have not been in contact with since I lived in Taiwan about 16 years ago. They both found me through Facebook – which I was amazed about. But what was interesting for me was that in both instances they sent a message to me via Facebook and I responded accordingly. But I was expecting then to keep in touch with them via email. The emails never came. What they did do was keep their Facebook page updated by adding one or two comments a day.

So I learnt that once that initial contact had been made by email or a Facebook message, that we would keep in touch by simply following each others updates, posting comments if we  had something to say (or a photo), or adding more info about ourselves. 

This whole approach is new to me. I’m used to using emails which are specific to a time, an action, a place, whereas Facebook is more like an ongoing conversation that goes at whatever speed you want it to. 

Anyway, this got me thinking, that it’s crucial to understand the platform that not only you are using, but that your customers are using. And once you understand the platform, to ask yourself, is it a relevant platform on which to communicate with my customers and if so, what type of communication should I be doing. You’ve still got to understand your customers and put together something relevant to converse with them about. But at least it’s a start.