Business

Facebook's man in Australia busy dispelling the myths

AS the face of Facebook in Australia, Nick Bowditch admits he spends much of his time hosing down myths - not to mention answering the question, "How do I resize my cover image?".

The registered nurse, who became an online success story by promoting a start-up travel business with Facebook and YouTube, is the manager of small business for Facebook in Australia and New Zealand.

He landed the job after speaking all things online at a small business forum.

As he points out, there are 2.5 million businesses in Australia - and one of him.

So his role is more of an evangelist of the power of using social media.

But as he is the first to admit, there are plenty of critics, including of Facebook's charges for businesses to promote their ads which can range from $5 to $50 a day for a small business.

Dressed in jeans, a Facebook T-shirt, thongs and wearing blond wavy hair, Nick looks more like a surfer than a social media expert.

But he quickly engages a crowd of about 150 at a monthly Web Wednesday forum for small businesses on the Sunshine Coast this week. "Facebook has a human working in Australia,'' he quips.

Nick Bowditch is the face of Facebook in Australia and New Zealand.
Nick Bowditch is the face of Facebook in Australia and New Zealand.

But just like the Google Plus representative, that human is limited in what he can say - especially about future plans for the social media giant.

He happily tells the audience there are 11.5 million people in Australia using Facebook at least once a month, but he can't disclose how many businesses pages have been set up.

Reading through Facebook's own Australian and New Zealand marketing page (www.facebook.com/marketinganz), you see there are plenty of people who don't believe they are getting bang for their buck on Facebook.

Nick is blunt on this, saying if businesses don't put up engaging content - rather than just trying to flog stuff to people - they won't get followers.

He says his best advice is to be authentic and show some personality.

"If you are fair dinkum the market will know it,'' he says.

And he advises people to humanise their business, rather than just trying to flog a product. "We are very poor at telling our story, telling our personal business story,'' he says.

Speaking at small to medium-size business forums throughout the country, Nick says he spends much of his time dealing with myths - ranging from businesses being able to track individual Facebook user's behaviour to Facebook owning photos published on the site.

"People spread all sorts of rubbish.''

"We don't have any data about you that you haven't given us.

"There is no evil empire ...''

Plenty also ask why their Facebook reach has gone down, despite their continual efforts.

His solution is to post more relevant content - and to post it when people actually want it.

"If you want to see everything from everyone it is called Twitter. If you are getting less engagement you are being less engaging.''

Topics:  business, facebook, social media


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