A couple weeks ago, Facebook officially launched a status update reply feature that mirrors @replies on Twitter. Now typing the “@” symbol into your Facebook status box followed by typing a friend, group or page name will prompt a drop down menu that allows you to select who you would like to tag in your update.

Why is This Feature Important?

Mention

Similar to how you would tag a friend in a posted photo or video on Facebook as a way of notifying that person’s network, the new tagging feature allows you to do the same with status updates. Note that when you do tag someone in an update,  the update will also post directly to the wall of your friend, group or page that is tagged.

Given that there are now 300 million users on Facebook versus about 20 million on Twitter, this feature will likely take some time for the majority of users to adopt and use regularly. From a listening standpoint, this means that brands will need to continue to carefully monitor any groups and fan pages for tagged updates. The benefit to this feature for brands is that it now provides an easy way to streamline advocate support and conversation for those that may use Facebook for customer response.

How Can a Marketer Take Advantage of @mentions?

This feature certainly opens up some new doors for creative marketing. One option would be for a brand to use the Static FBML application to design a custom landing page on their fan page. This landing page can house some type of giveaway that prompts users to take the following action:

1. Become a fan of the page

2. Take some type of desired action (vote, register, submit information for a giveaway, etc.)

3. Post a status update tagging the brand’s page (note, a user has to first be a fan to be able to tag a page) to enter some type of prize giveaway. Since all tagged updates will post to the brand’s wall, a brand can easily track who is participating.

Having the brand provide sample copy for a user to post would also help facilitate the status update step. Example:

@verizon I just took part in Verizon’s free phone Friday giveaway. Check it out yourself – http://www.budurl.com/FreeVerizonPhone

The other benefit of using this feature on Facebook is that it allows you to have a longer status update than on Twitter.

Overall, using this simple outreach tactic will help build your fan base and also enable you to capitalize on word of mouth outreach to a user’s network.

Are you planning to take advantage of @mentions for your PR or marketing efforts? Feel free to share some ideas below.

-Scott

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About Scott Meis

SVP, Digital Content Strategy @ Weber Shandwick Seattle. Outdoors. Adventure. Travel. I dig the Foto.

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