There is no doubt that Facebook is becoming one of the most fastest growing online marketing platforms and a great branding tool. Small businesses are slowly beginning to warm up to the idea of utilizing social media in their effort to build a successful online presence for their brand and maybe even bring in some actual sales through some targeted social media marketing.
With over 400 million users, Facebook is the world’s largest social network and as such it offers unprecedented brand exposure. Almost one third of US population is using Facebook today and every day 20 million people fan a new page. In March 2010, Facebook was the most visited site on the web, surpassing even Google.
Your brand needs to be where your customers are, and they are on Facebook these days. This evident change is happening now and in order to stay competitive your company must accept and embrace it.
6 Steps to Building a Successful Facebook Fan Page
Create a Plan
Be clear about your business goals and objectives. Make sure you will have all the resources needed – social media is a long term investment and not a “set it and forget it” thing.
Run a Test Advertising Campaign
Facebook ads rely on both keywords and a variety of demographic information (unlike Google AdWords). You should know exactly who you want to target so your ads will be very effective in narrowing down your audience to a specific marketplace. Tailor your current advertising plan to Facebook and run a campaign for a couple of months to test the waters.
Get a Personal Account
If you want to understand how things work you need to give it a try yourself. Instead of diving into building a fan page for your company, I suggest you start with a regular account for yourself. This will allow you to become familiar with the site, check out its features and develop a presence from user’s perspective. You will also be able to see what other companies are doing and learn from their strategies.
Build an Engaging Fan Page for Your Business
Creating a Facebook Fan Page is easy. Building an engaging fan page is another story.
Making the most of your profile picture, providing company information, creating an effective landing page are just some of the things you should do to create an effective fan page your customers will want to join.
Take it one step further and separate yourself from the majority of fan pages which are pretty basic and thus boring. Connect your fans with your brand by getting them involved. Offer specialized content such as discount codes and special offers that cannot be found on your website. Show them behind-the-scenes by posting photos or videos from your most recent event or latest project, ask for their opinion on your product, involve them in your product testing process, quiz or poll them, listen to your fans and add value. Whatever you do, make it fun and interesting for your fans so that they will not only stay with you but get involved and feel that they are a part of your brand.
You can also expand Facebook’s built-in capabilities by installing third-party applications such as FBML, Social RSS, Promotions, etc.
As far as SEO for Facebook is concerned, chose the name wisely and make sure to use your keywords since pages are indexable by the search engines and eligible for real-time searchpay attention to little things such as optimizing photo albums titles.
Promote your Fan Page
Once you have your rocking Facebook Fan Page, your next step is to promote it effectively. Self-promotion doesn’t have to be something to shy away from; in fact it’s a must if you want to get any serious exposure. Without proper marketing, your target audience may never know about your existence. There is little chance that they will stumble upon your content; you have to put it in front of your target audience without being pushy.
That’s where your regular account comes in: here you can join industry groups, location based fan pages, other groups that are related to your business or where your target customers are. You can promote your brand via comments, shared links, etc. Connect with your friends, build relationships, invite them to join and get active on your awesome Facebook Fan Page.
You also should link to your Facebook Fan Page from your main website – link to the custom URL, which you should get.
In general, the more fans you have, the more possible customers. However remember that a handful of dedicated clients is better then hundreds of people who will never buy from you. Ensure that your fans are also target market and promote in moderation.
Monitor Your Success
Your Facebook Fan Page comes with some basic statistics, called Insights. There is also a way to add Google Analytics to your fan page. You should always monitor where your clients are coming from so you should be able to measure your fan page conversion rate by measuring the actual sales/leads etc. Know your ROI to understand how effective your strategy is and where you should make improvements.
The goal to having a Facebook Fan Page is to build your brand online, boost awareness and build your reputation. The more people are invested in your brand, the greater the chances are that they will actively seek it out and remain loyal.
If you want to stay competitive in today’s online world, you must embrace the power of Facebook and use it to your advantage.
Others are already ahead of you but the game is still young.