It seems like everyone is talking about it, but how do you actually ‘get on’ to facebook? It can be a confusing tool but with well thought out implementation it can be an excellent resource and a gateway to thousands of targeted users.
To begin with you need to find out if Facebook is for your company. There is always a chance that even after all your efforts people still aren’t making use of the pages that you’ve created on facebook. You need to ask yourself, Is there an audience for my company on the internet and would people actually actively ‘join’ my page?
The key to facebook marketing is planting a seed in a human way and getting people involved. If you try to force it too much or spread your brand by using Spam, then it will either be not accepted or even worse, slated by the userbase.
Facebook users often become involved in groups to show that they are interested in a subject or to become part of a community. This tool should be used if you have an interest group that users can become involved in. The other perk of this method is that you can invite people that you have on your friends list to join the group and increase the likelihood that the group will spread.
Because of the freedom and anonymity of the online world having your company on Facebook can be a risky business. For example on this Natwest employee’s group someone has started a discussion titled ‘Natwest are s**t’, and have described their experiences as an employee of the bank. This eventuality is out of the control of the company and could damage their reputation.
This can be used as a badge of identity for you on facebook. Instead of ‘joining’ as in the case of the groups, users instead become fans of your page and display your company name near the top of their profile.
Once you’ve configured the page to look how you want you can add applications which add functionality to and increase the likelihood that users will return regularly.
As with groups you can send a message to everyone who has signed up to your page (going into the updates inbox), but you can’t send out invitations which can cause a slow take up as users will have to find you and actively join you. But for this reason you can be sure that those who have joined are true advocates.
As groups only allow you to send mass messages to 1,500 people, once your groups contains more than this number youare restricted from sending messages to members. With pages you can send messages to as many users as you like.
One of the main benefits of pages is the flexibility, but you can also evaluate the effectiveness of your facebook presence. Using its in built statistics information you can find out how many people are interacting with your page and compare on a month by month basis.
This can be an excellent way of evaluating mass communications or judging how external (ie: email marketing) have effected your facebook processes.
Facebook have allowed external companies to create their own mini apps within facebook. These can be used for a wide variety of reasons. Although they increase audience involvement with brands and advertisers they are often regarded as anoying if they are implemented in certain ways.
We have come up with three important rules to remember when thinking of developing a facebook application.
1. If Facebook does not add any value to the application, then do not put it on facebook
2. If it could be viewed as imposing, irritating or untidy then it needs to be rethought.
3. If it does not create any added value for users then it will not be successful.
So, although applications open doors for companies, only apps that have been well thought out and that are relevant to the facebook masses will be successful.
Facebook social ads & flyers
The regular facebook advertising methods are always a winner, paying only for clicks and raising huge amounts of impressions among only those who fall into your criteria, there is plenty of potential here. But because of the amount of competition on facebook and the user browsing habits (see below), your advert could be easily ignored.
These can be linked in to a group, page or website.
The only drawback of using this method is that the pages that your adverts show up on can’t be controlled.
For example, your company could be displayed beside a racist group causing possible negative perception.
Facebook browsing habbits
Although facebook has a steep learning curve users become accustomed to its simple graphic interface and become ‘speed clickers’. This means that because they know exactly where to click even before a page loads, they will pay little attention to the areas that are not directly related to them or someone on their friendslist. So flyers are often ignored by users even though they might be targetted directly to a group of them.
To combat this you could make use of social actions, which work by highlighting which of your friends have clicked or joined the advert page.
Facebook is a very powerful medium, the trick is to use the tools on it that are relevant to you and use them in an effective and human way.