Whoever said Facebook was just another fad never saw the true potential of the Fan Page. And it seems that even the smallest of businesses are leveraging the platform and it’s more than 350 million active users. No surprise there, right? However, there is one key concept that many Fan Page Admins have yet to grasp.
If you try to directly “sell” products or services to your Fan base, it comes across as just plain pushy and annoying. And who wants that while they’re checking out Saturday night’s photos or browsing their Friends’ status updates?
“According to The Social Media and Online PR Report (published by Econsultancy in association with bigmouthmedia), 86% of companies plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, and only 10% of companies are not using any type of social media.” Clearly, social media is becoming a much more integral part of brand marketing than anyone would have expected. So why not spend your inbound marketing resources wisely to maximize ROI?
Instead of skipping all the proven best practices in brand marketing and just throwing things against your virtual Wall in hopes that something will stick, provide your Fans with helpful tips, exclusive content, company updates, engaging videos and photos, recent projects or hires, local events. You get the idea. You can sprinkle in promotions, but very sparingly. The real success of social media is not in direct sales – and based on how most consumers think and behave, it never will be. It’s in fostering relationships, building trust and establishing credibility for your business. Once you understand and apply this key concept, Fans will be more likely to:
- send your Fan Page as a suggestion to their Friends;
- inquire about your product or service offering(s);
- sign up for the monthly email newsletter on your website;
- think of your company first when their needs meet your offering(s).
Potential clients will eventually become clients, you just have to trust and respect the marketing strategy.
Automation Is Awesome
This sounds like a great plan, but what if you don’t have the time to keep up with your personal Facebook profile plus your company’s Fan Page, not to mention Twitter, blogging, podcasts? Trust me, I get it. It’s enough to make your head spin. So how do you work smarter, not harder? Try this: Link your blog to your Facebook Fan Page. If you have a blog, use RSS to have your blog content automatically update your Fan Page. No need to login, just link your Fan Page to your Twitter account to update both at once. Now you know!
What the FBML?!?
One of my favorite aspects of Facebook Fan Pages – albeit really limited from a development perspective – is the static FBML tab. Static FBML (or Facebook Markup Language) allows you to design and implement a new tab on your Page that can be used to offer an exclusive incentive to gain additional Fans. Essentially, it’s a custom design, consistent with your entire line of marketing collateral, broken out into a combination of HTML and FBML. If you’re one of those visual image-processing types, here are a few examples:
Check out the FBML tab we created for our Liqui-Site Fan Page:http://www.facebook.com/Liqui.Site?v=app_4949752878
Here’s one we created for BriDesign.com (via The James Group):
Regardless of the medium, every time you interface with customers – whether existing or potential – you convey a message about your company. What do you perceive about a company that bombards you with overt marketing tactics on your Wall, in your Inbox, or worse – via IM?
People want valuable, interesting ideas that will help them in some way. The goal is to encourage an emotional connection with your brand. So, give the people what they want, and your bottom line will thank you for it.
Kelly Campbell is President and Creative Director of Liqui-Site Designs, Inc. [www.liqui-site.com], an award-winning, NY-based creative firm she founded at the age of 23. She also hosts the popular weekly podcast, Holistic Health & Wellness, among the Top 50 shows in Alternative Health (iTunes). Kelly, and/or her work, has been featured on numerous radio programs, AOL Health, and in the New York Times, Woman Entrepreneur and Forbes Magazine.