Today we’re bringing you the second installment of our social media series. If you missed our last discussion, be sure to check out Part 1: Personalize, Promote & Protect Your Brand Using Twitter. In Part 2 we’re going to turn the conversation towards the most popular social media site in the world, Facebook. The term conversational marketing first became famous in 1999 when authors: Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto. The first thesis of the book was that “markets are conversations.” During the time the book was written, the Internet was revolutionizing the way people could connect with one another. Facebook took that revolution, attached a rocket to its back, and lit the match. Today over 500 million people have accounts on Facebook, and the members span from older demographics i.e. your Parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles to the friends you go to school with. Facebook offers users the ability to enhance their user experience by sharing pictures, links, videos and other content. For brands, it offers the ability to interact with people by hosting Fan Pages, Groups and Social Listening.
Creating Facebook Fan Pages: The Basics
For any brand wanting to enter the Facebook world, the best place to start is by creating a Facebook Fan Page. There are over 17 categories of pages to choose from but the four most common are:
Choose the most appropriate category for your brand carefully, since this will be featured next to your company name on the page. Once you’ve completed that, you’re ready to start creating and sharing content. Unlike a Twitter account, it makes the most sense to make your profile picture your brand logo.
Next, follow these Tips and Best Practices and you’ll be on your way to winning people over.
#1. Personalize / Customize Your Fan Page
In addition to the primary page tabs: Wall, Info, Photos, Facebook Pages allows brands the ability to customize their page using FBML (Facebook Markup Language). The coding is similar to HTML so if your company has in-house developers it’s worth the time to improve the look of your page to separate yourself from the competition.
For an example of how to customize your page using FBML, take a look at the Marshalls Facebook Page. They’ve created a custom tab on their page to show off their “New Arrivals” and allow users to easily share that content with their friends. Many companies have enjoyed the customization that Facebook provides so much, that they use their Facebook Page as their main point of entry for their customers rather than bothering with a full website makeover.
#2. Create and Share Content
In our previous post in this series on Twitter, we talked about the importance that your brand shows its human side. One way to do this is to create an “Our Team” tab like the folks at Social Media Examiner, an online social media news publication, have done. Another nice feature that Social Media Examiner has done is to create a brief “Welcome Video” for users when they first land on your Facebook Page. The video is used to draw attention to the big arrow on the page pointing to the “like” button. This is just one of the many ways content can be used to encourage people to connect with your brand, and “like” your page.
Sharing photos is another strategy brands can use to demonstrate transparency and personality on Facebook. If your company hosts events, participates in conferences or is involved in a product launch, make sure to upload photos from those events so people can see what’s going on! Photos can also be used to promote ideas, products, and suggestions to your fans. For example, take a look at how T.J. Maxx utilizes their photo section to display products, and special offers to consumers.
#3 Increase the “Likeability” of Your Page
Facebook revolutionized the Internet by creating the little “Like” button. Your “Like” button can be placed in a variety of online channels to promote your page. Once a user “Likes” something it is then broadcast to all their friends. However, going viral isn’t as instant or as easy on Facebook as it is on Twitter. The key is to present users with remarkable content. Seth Godin describes remarkable as: “Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.” Is your content in a place where Facebook users will click the “Share” button and broadcast your message for you to their friends, and is it worth their time?
One strategy to increase the number of “Likes” on your Facebook page is to offer exclusive content in exchange for people clicking the “Like” button. For example, T.J. Maxx has its Maxxinista tab. This feature allows users to build their own T.J. Maxx closet to show off what cool clothes they have found. The feature only becomes available when you “Like” the page. T.J.Maxx has 369,906 people (as of this wrting) liking their page, so clearly there’s something to this strategy. Another great strategy to increase the “likeability” of your page is to utilize “Like” buttons on all of your web properties. For example, if you have a Blog, make sure the “Like” button goes at the end of the piece so people can click it and share with their social graph.
#4. Engage with Your Audience
There’s a famous quote that says, “Show me a good conversationalist, and I’ll show you a good listener.” What are your consumers talking about on your page? How should you engage them? Facebook is the jeans and t-shirt equivalent of LinkedIn, a business professional network. People on Facebook are “casual” browsers, engaging in a fun conversation with their friends and sharing goofy photos. Avoid being buzz-wordy, and “all business” when you engage people on your page.
In addition to maintaining a casual conversation, your company’s Facebook page is a great CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Facebook is a great “Social Listening” tool to find out who your brand evangelists are, and also be able to engage people who might not be happy with your product or service.
- For Facebook, the basics are wrapped up in the 3Cs Content, Content, Content. Facebook is one of the most effective ways to increase the reach of your content amongst an audience you already engage with.
- Personalize your brand. Go beyond the generic Facebook Page, and design something that separates your brand from the competition.
- Increase your “Likes” by putting “Like” buttons everywhere, and offering exclusive content to people who like your page.
- Listen to your customers. Facebook is a casual place. Let your consumers have fun and engage them with things that they will enjoy. Don’t be all about business on your page.
Make sure to tune in for the last part of our series which will focus on LinkedIn. Until then, check out our post on how to Personalize, Promote & Protect Your Brand Using Twitter.