In a recent Tribune, I suggested looking at Facebook Pages as a free marketing medium for your business. Love or hate Facebook, it will be around for a while yet, and it’s very likely that many of your target audience are already on there. So how do you best leverage Facebook for your business?
Facebook have a few tools available for you to use the platform as a marketing medium. Firstly, the more traditional advertising system, where you pay for impressions or actions on text-based and image-based ads. The level of reporting and targeting is advanced; you can build a campaign to target only those who list certain interests (such as small business), or meet specific demographics (females, aged 25-40 in Canada only).
Then, there’s the simple Facebook Share button which can be integrated into your own web site, popular for content-based services.
Then, if you’re up for a challenge, you could use the Facebook API to build your own innovative application that works within Facebook. This does require a certain level of development experience though.
You can create a company page from within your individual profile by clicking on the Advertising link in the footer. By choosing a category, naming the page, and completing a number of fields, your page will be created. You can then share it with others, and they can choose to Become a fan.
As people become fans of your organisation’s page, it appears within their News Feed, revealing to the rest of their Facebook colleagues that you have added the page. It then links the page name with your page, driving more people to click on the link and have a look.
This is where your page can win or lose. I suggest that you consider your Facebook page as a micro-site; you should start adding more content to the page, encourage conversation within the discussion board, and ask fans to promote it using the Share feature.
Here are a few examples of how SitePoint Tribune readers are using Facebook Pages as part of their marketing strategy.
OntarioColleges.ca uses its Facebook Page to share details of events (120 events listed at the time of writing), as well as link their find-a-college program using a large graphic in the centre of the page. They have also linked YouTube videos and lively discussion on their Wall and Discussion Board. Janice Henshall from ontariocolleges.ca says “With our fan base steadily increasing, we’re hoping that our target demographic (potential college applicants, many who are between 18 and 24 years of age) find it a useful communication tool. Time will tell.”
Chinese nightlife web site, Zhuhai Nights uses their Facebook page as a promotional tool to drive people to their web site. They have many videos (including fan videos) and photos to build rich content within the page.
Mark Clulow from Coos Creations, creators of the site, states “We use the page to generate interest and tell people about events. The most popular feature though, is photo tagging. Tagging people in photos from events we’re involved with lets them know about the site, as well as their friends and family — all in a subtle but effective way. Actually watermarking the photos with Facebook has proven very successful at dragging people over to our site.”
Chicago web design business, Addicott Web has a Facebook page to market their services to a wider audience. Hirsch Fishman from Addicott has a few great ideas on how to better utilise Facebook Pages for web professionals.
“I set up a Facebook page because I wanted to directly market my web design business to everyone I know on Facebook. The vast majority of my clients come through word of mouth, but only a few of these know about my web site. Then there are people where it’s been years since I’ve spoken to them so they’re unaware of what I’m up to now. Posting on the Facebook page allows for these situations — and help fuel the word of mouth and referrals that might come my way.
Overall my goal has to been to create a well-rounded marketing piece for Addicott Web on the Facebook page. As much as my web site serves that purpose, if people don’t visit, then it’s pointless. With so many people on Facebook, it seemed the perfect approach.
What am I doing in particular on my page?
I import my RSS feed to it, so that all blog posts display on Facebook as soon as I post them on my blog.
I’ve been using the photo gallery as my portfolio and in the caption of each web site that I feature, post the complete project details, taken word-for-word from my actual web site.
I’ve asked some past clients to post positive reviews of my work.
I specifically invite new clients to Become a fan of my Facebook page so that they can see all of this information (if they’ve yet to look at my web site).
The most positive aspect of all is that it’s given me a potential service that I can now offer clients as well — creating and consulting on their Facebook presence as a complement to the web site that I’m creating for them. Being able to offer services like this helps me as a professional, as I can offer clients more than just a web site — and that’s the value proposition of my business.”
Thanks for your feedback and suggestions, Janice, Mark, and Hirsch. It’s great to see businesses using a variety of methods on their Facebook Pages to increase their fan base and interact with audiences.
I trust this article has you thinking about how better to market your organisation using Facebook Pages — best of luck with it!
This post first appeared as part of Issue 434 of the SitePoint Tribune, a very popular email newsletter that I was co-editor of. Thanks to SitePoint for allowing me to reproduce the work here.