Check out Trada’s other posts in our online marketing series: How to Market Your Business on Facebook, How to Market Your Business on Twitter , How to Market Your Business With a Blog , and How to Market Your Business with Video.
Most small businesses have Facebook pages, but once they set it up, they don’t know where to go next. We wanted to create a look at how to market your business with a Facebook page. We also wanted to see what the best practices were, so we polled the experts. We interviewed experts from a Fortune 50 company (Pepsi), a social network (Daily Burn) and a top social media agency (Room 214).
Meet the Experts:
George G. Smith Jr., a Senior Manager of Brand Engagement: Social Strategy and Execution (among other things) for a Fortune 50 Company. Check out his company’s Facebook page and follow him on Twitter at @georgegsmithjr.
Brandon Whalen, a social web marketing strategist at social media agency Room 214 working on clients such as Hello Kitty, Vail Resorts and the Linux Foundation. Check out his agency’s Facebook page and follow him at Twitter at @Brandonsings.
How can companies get the most out of a Facebook fan page?
Brandon Whalen: If you want to get the most out of your page, you have to use it! This seems really basic, but too many companies create a page and then never find the time to make updates. If you don’t have the time or resources to manage the page and update it daily, find someone who can, or you could be wasting your time.
Second, you need to have a strong understanding of all of the functions. Sure, you can head to your wall and make updates, but do you take full advantage of geo-targeted updates, photo albums, questions and events?
Once you have a good handle on the tools, you have a strong content strategy, and you have dedicated resources for management, you can think about customizing your page with a cool tab. We have built several custom Facebook apps for our clients: Sanrio/Hello Kitty, The Linux Foundation and Vail Resorts.
George G Smith Jr: Companies can get the most out of a Facebook fan page by understanding what they want to get out of a Facebook fan page. A Facebook page is just an opportunity to engage with people who have opted in to your brand – goals and a creative approach will allow you to accomplish almost anything.
Kate Brown: There are a few things that companies can do to get the most out of their Facebook page. The first is offer great customer service via your Facebook page by utilizing a helpdesk that integrates with Facebook. We use assistly. Every time a question is asked via our facebook page by a DailyBurn user, a helpdesk ticket is auto-generated by assistly. It helps us manage customer issues, plus the solution is played out in public on our Facebook wall. It’s a great way to show prompt and helpful service out in the open. Second, companies should be giving exclusive content to people who like them on Facebook. Zappos does this really well. You have to like their page to access certain tabs.
What type of content receives the best feedback?
George G Smith Jr: It depends on the brand, in all honesty. Some passionate fan bases ONLY want to hear about brand related stuff. Some brands are more lifestyle. The key is to track how your audience is reacting and start adapting. And never stop experimenting! Your audience is constantly changing so you should always look to try new ways to engage.
Kate Brown: When we ask our community a direct question, we get the most feedback. People like to talk about themselves. Rather than pushing content, we get more feedback if we ask a personal question that has to do with featured content.
Brandon Whalen: Each community is different, but photos are by far the most popular content on Facebook. This is not only true for the standard user profile, but on fan pages as well.
How do you encourage engagement from your fans?
Kate Brown: We ask direct questions, we ask people what they think, and we ask people about their experiences with different health topics that we write about. For example, if I post a link to a blog post that I wrote about juice detox diets, I’ll ask, “HAve you ever tried a juice detox diet? What happened?” Then I’ll leave the thread alone. This usually starts a dialogue between fans on the thread.
Brandon Whalen: To truly understand how to engage your community you have to listen. In large communities, it is difficult to respond to every person, but if you pay close attention you will notice the trends and changes in the reactions from fans.
Our client Sanrio noticed that fans were consistently posting photos of their collections, tattoos, etc. Instead of ignoring this trend Sanrio found ways to interact with the fans by reposting fan photos to albums, and launching a custom tab where fans can share their photos.
George G Smith Jr: Asking for it and incentivizing it.
How do you measure the success of your Facebook fan page?
Brandon Whalen: We are big fans of Coca-Cola’s view on measuring social media success. They focus on building “expressions” rather than impressions.
Impressions are more of the connective tissue, which holds everything together, while expressions are specific valuable instances where someone has chosen to interact with your brand. Our CEO Jason Cormier recently wrote up a great article on this very subject.
George G Smith Jr: We try to measure success based on fan engagement – the number of active fans – in addition to many campaign specific goals.
Kate Brown: We look at organic likes, of course, but we measure the real success based on engagement. Monthly active views is the number that I watch. This is the number of people who interacted with or viewed the page or its posts. You do not have to like the page to be counted in this metric. This metric shows active, engaged fans plus people that they shred your content with. This is the true measure of what is happening in your page.
Do you think companies should pay for fans?
George G Smith Jr: Depends on your goals, but I definitely think paying for fans is important. You’re not paying for the specific fans – you’re paying for awareness that your brand has a Facebook Page. It’s still something that people opt into. You need to make sure people know of your page in order to capture everything that could potentially be interested in it.
Kate Brown: No. I know that a facebook like is basically an opt-in facebook marketing opportunity, but paying for facebook likes is not a viable social media strategy. Your marketing budget would be better spent paying a blogger to write great content combined with a great SEM campaign. Who cares if you have more likes if you don’t have the high quality content needed to fully utilize facebook as a marketing platform?
Brandon Whalen: It’s easy to set up ads and get some traffic to your page, but if you don’t create real fans out of those ad dollars, your money is going to waste.
Before you run Facebook ads to grow your page, make sure you have a strong plan for managing this community. What value are you giving to your fans? Why would anyone want to be a fan of your page?
Make sure you can answer those questions yourself before you throw money into advertising.
Anything else you think social media marketers should know about using Facebook?
George G Smith Jr: We’re entering the age where creativity will play an important role. You can’t just succeed by being there – you need to stand out from the ever increasing crowd.
Kate Brown: Facebook is the perfect platform for learning about your customers and testing marketing campaigns before you launch them. Want to know if contests work? Try a small one on facebook and gauge response quickly. Facebook is great for fast feedback.
Brandon Whalen: There are a lot of good reasons for brands to add Facebook into their marketing mix. I read this morning that more US citizens are on Facebook than have passports.
With 700 million Facebook users the opportunity is hard to ignore. The real question is whether you really understand how to use these tools, and whether you can dedicate the time, money and resources required to run a Facebook community.
More Helpful Facebook Marketing Articles:
- The Changing Face of Corporate Facebook Landing Pages by David Strom
- Everything You Need to Know About Edge Rank by Dan Taylor
- Facebook + Twitter’s Influence on Google’s Search Rankings by Rand Fishkin
- 4 Facebook Marketing Tactics You Might Not Know About by Jen Lopez
Leave us a tip of your own for how to market your business with a Facebook page, and the best comment will win a $75 Amazon gift certificate. Woot! Comment must be entered by 12 am MT, Wednesday, Aug. 10.
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