We recently started two fan pages for the two B&B associations I work with. While trying to figure out how we could use them wisely to let the participating inns that belong them be able to contribute to the pages, in terms of adding pictures and specials to the page, and having it look like they were actual page contributors instead of fans adding content, I ended up playing around with a variety of systems that you could integrate easily, and would be easy to use for contributing innkeepers.
Posting information by email seemed to be the easiest route to go in, as I would think even if someone is technophobic, most people generally use email and are fairly comfortable with it. The other alternative is to make innkeepers of the association all admins of the page, which I am not in favor of as the page could accidentally get deleted, or in an extreme case, someone could be having a bad hair day and decide to delete someone else’s pictures or posts.
I played around with posterous for awhile, as you can add contributors to be able to update various social networks with, and discovered this is great for twitter contribution, if the association has a twitter account, but does not work well for Facebook, as it adds a small line to the post and then there is a not very clear link on the Facebook wall that leads the viewer to the full posterous post.
It might be a good idea to have a posterous profile with contributors and to have it A. feed into twitter but it also B. gives the inns full ability to post lengthy topics (specials etc) to the posterous wall by email as one, just one additional place for SEO and to profile the inns and the association itself. http://posterous.com/
Facebook itself had the best system I could come up with so far. Under the edit page option to the left (when you are logged in as an admin or owner of the page) you will come to set of options, one is “Mobile” “Publish status updates, photos and videos to your Facebook Page on the go.” And it gives you an email address so you can post updates from your mobile phone.
I’ve discovered you can use this email address to update the page using Outlook and Outlook Express, I have not experimented with other email services as of yet, but if anyone does could they please leave a comment and I will add the information in. The content has to go into your subject line of the email and NOT into the body of it, and it is limited to 171 characters, but you can post whole urls and also shortened links to it and since Facebook wall posts have a 420 character limit you can get the message across fairly well. i.e. “The Jane Doe Inn is hosting a girlfriend’s getaway retreat March 21st, be the first to sign up & get a free massage, more information at http://www.janedoeinn.com/id21.htm” (171 characters and with a shortened link it gives you a little more room, think twitter posts with a little extra room)
You can also post pictures to it by email, it seems to be an unlimited amount but limited to 4 Megabytes at a time. I did discover if you mail multiple pictures at different times with in the same hour it adds them in to one album, even if they have different subject titles. If you wait an hour in between posts it will categorize the picture (s) as a new post topic. So you may want to not have this be an option to contributors as it might end up with pictures from different contributors into the same album and while an admin can “move” pictures from one album to another, I would think it might be a mite bit of a hassle.
All of the association’s innkeepers could receive this email address to post to, if you have one leave the group, it does give you the option of changing the address. I would suggest you still assign someone to go and be an admin and be able to moderate the posts though.
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