Whether you like it not, Facebook is where it is today. This is not only true for individuals. For public officials, brands, and/or businesses, it has become THE place to attract new potential customers and stay top-of-mind with your current fan base. In fact, that’s why Facebook “Pages” have come to be known as “Fan Pages” by many.
See, here’s the thing… Facebook is currently the 2nd most visited site on the web (www.Alexa.com) and if anyone tells you this is declining, they’re wrong.
In the last 3 months, Facebook’s page views have actually increased 50% (Alexa; July 25, 2011).
It is no doubt marketing and brand-building are instrumental to increasing revenue. It’s not complicated. People need to know you are “in business” in order for you to get business. This applies whether you are selling a product or service or just “yourself” (in the case of public officials, bands, brands, etc.). Thus, one of the keys to marketing and brand-building must always be getting in front of as many people possible. And while there are numerous ways to do this, the easiest way, is to find where the traffic already is and put yourself (or your business/brand) in front of it.
In this manner, “Social Media Marketing” – as Facebook and its other contemporaries such as Twitter, Stumbleupon, Youtube, etc. have come to be collectively known – is really no different than traditional marketing (although, the message you will disseminate through these platforms is vastly different, that’s a whole different subject we’ll cover later).
Think about it this way… if you wanted to put up a billboard in town advertising your brand or business, and money was no object, you would want it at the busiest intersection you could find, in the area where you could get exposure to the largest share of your market (potential customers) in the quickest amount of time.
Facebook is this online, high-traffic, “intersection” and the cool thing? It doesn’t cost you anything at all (or very little in the event you need to hire someone like us to create your fan page) to get your own “billboard” there!
We gave you a couple of facts about Facebook’s “web traffic” above but any quick, simple, search you can do on your own can prove a thousand times over that this is the busiest “intersection” on the web where you can position yourself, your business, or your brand, for FREE! Most people today have a Facebook page and if they don’t, they are in a very small minority. Thus, since that is where many, many, many people online are (and are spending much of their time online) , that is where you, your business, and/or your brand need to be as well in order to get in front of those people. And if you are not there yet, you need to get there fast!
This applies not only in the case of finding new customers, but also in staying “top of mind” for your current customers—continually staying in front of them and providing some sort of value that makes them want to keep coming back.
After all, we all know that making more money is really simple…
More New Customers + More Return Customers = More Money!
Now, maybe you’re wondering… is a Facebook “Page” different than an individual profile page and are there advantages to having a Page that you don’t get with a profile?
Well, the short answer is…there isn’t much difference at all but there are MANY advantages of owning/operating a “Page” for businesses—advantages that can be MEGA-IMPORTANT. Here’s just a few of them:
- Pages are public. They are “crawled” by the Search Engines (like Google) and thus, can be found in the Search Engines. Yet, because they are “public”, they can be viewed by anyone – regardless of whether they are connected to you in/through Facebook and/or are even a Facebook member!
- Updates to pages appear in the timeline of everyone who is a fan. This means you not only get exposure to your fans, you get exposure to their friends/connections as well.
- Content delivery from your website/blog/RSS feed can be automatically fed into your page giving your customers/fans/followers a reason to come back and interact with you – and/or your company/brand – regularly (keeping you top of mind).
And these are just a few of the bigger advantages of a “Page” over a Facebook profile.
So, let’s talk about how to create a Facebook Fan Page.
You can get started by viewing our new page HERE. Now, we know we don’t have many fans yet because we just changed our business name and thus, had to start a whole new page. In fact, you can help us out a bit for providing you this FREE information by “liking” our page if you will. We’d really appreciate it. Moving on…
It’s really easy to get started…
1) Create the page
- If you don’t have a Facebook page or are creating the page for a brand/business you don’t wish to have associated with your personal facebook page:
- Visit http://www.facebook.com. On the home page, do not enter any details or you will just be creating another regular facebook profile. Instead, look under the place where you would sign up and click on, “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.”
- On the next page, click on the category that best fits the page you want to create.
- Fill in the details.
- Facebook now offers the ability to create pages while in your private account but NOT have the page associated with your private account. So, you can also…
- After you log in at http://www.facebook.com, go to http://www.facebook.com/pages. In the top, right, corner, click on “Create Page”.
- On the next page, click on the category that best fits the page you want to create.
- Fill in the details.
2) “Spruce Up” Your Page – There are many ways to make your page look visually appealing. You should always have a profile image and fill in all the “Information”. Basically, you want to give people a reason to “like” your page so that it appears in the timeline of all their friends and connections too!
- Make it interactive – Facebook has a robust applications directory (http://www.facebook.com/apps/ ) that makes it very easy to add fun and engaging
“apps” to your page that help to bring customers in – and back – to your page. Especially appealing are iframe applications that let you have custom “Welcome” (landing) pages for either new or return viewers to customize your user’s visit and experience. (*It’s not hard to create these on your own but we do specialize in custom Facebook Fan Pages with custom landing tabs/pages if you need assistance). If you have your own web developer/IT person on staff, it is not difficult to create your own Facebook applications either. The obvious advantage with this is for branding purposes so that you get your name – and/or your company and/or brand’s name (and image) – out there to a much greater extent. Especially if your app “goes viral”, this can be an awesome way to build your fan page – and fan base – quickly and effectively.
- It’s important to make your page appear professional and attractive. It should also match the branding of all your other marketing material and images “out there” in the public eye. Also, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. People in social media want “real” social interaction—hence the name “social media”. They want conversation and they want to feel like a part of the brands/companies they follow.
- Give your fans a reason to participate in your conversation and not just follow it. Statistics prove that fans come back to a page more often when they are a part of the conversation happening there. Thus, your status updates shouldn’t just spout facts and statements. You can really use this as free – and very targeted – market research. Ask questions about new products. Even ask your fans’ opinions about ideas for future products/services you are thinking of launching. You can even find already built apps and/or services that allow you to survey your fans and/or hold contests and sweepstakes. Bottom line? Put some thought and effort into figuring out what makes your fans want to become active on your page, do it, and do it frequently.
- Make sure your page is connected with your website and other social media accounts in an automated manner that produces major results for very little time investment. It is very easy to automate the process of having your blog and/or website’s RSS feed route directly to your fan page wall. And from there, feed to twitter. Similarly, you can have your Youtube account feed to facebook and then on to Twitter as well. Even LinkedIn can be connected to a Facebook fan page and all of these “connections” serve to further increase exposure and help your business/brand gain a strong foothold in the online world.
To see what can be done (although, some of these have quite a bit of money invested in their development), you should visit a few of the top Facebook pages that are out there and see what they are doing. While you may not be able to match their level of development – or even involvement – initially or all at once, it will give you an idea of your ultimate goal or general direction.
Some of our favorites are:
Starbucks : http://www.facebook.com/Starbucks
Red Bull : http://www.facebook.com/redbull
Once you have reviewed these, you can see what is possible. And while you can learn to do most of these things yourself, we also offer a lot of this at affordable rates that are also “progressive” in that you can do a bit at a time as you can afford it. Additionally, there are some templates out there available that can help you design your own pages but you will have to do some searching to find them. You can find some at http://www.facebookpagetemplates.com/.
*NOTE: Until you have 25 fans for your page, you will have a long, numerical, identifier URL. After you have 25 or more fans, you can go to http://www.facebook.com/usernames to assign a more user-friendly name to your page.
3) Now that your page is up, start inviting friends and again, give them a reason to share your page with others. With a fan page, you can invite all of your friends at once. Then, email your entire address book with your Facebook fan page information and ask them to email their friends. Also, once you get fans, give them a reason to share it with their facebook connections as well. And remember, when they interact on your page, it now appears in their timeline so all of their friends see it. Then, when others in their timeline see it, if they comment and or “like”” that post or comment, it now appears in their timeline also. And so on… and so on… and so on… Do you get the picture? Facebook can be a never-ending stream of easy, free, exposure with just a little forethought, creativity, and very minimal effort.
So, without a doubt, if you are interested in promoting an individual (especially yourself), a brand, or a business, you really cannot afford to NOT have a Facebook page. Especially considering how simple it is and free to at least get started, there are no ifs-ands-or-buts… about it. Get out there and just do it now. And then, don’t stop. Don’t just let it sit there stagnant. Stay active, stay fresh, even get a little funky if you’re brave enough, and watch your image/brand/business thrive!
British Airways suffered a blow today and they probably don’t even know it yet…and they probably never will. I just read an article on the “Business In Blue Jeans” blog. The author of this article was giving tips about customer service primarily by illustrating through a personal story how British Airways did it wrong. She was just using this experience from her own life to emphasize the points in her article but what hit me so strongly was that there was a “story within a story” here.
The story did exactly what the author intended – pointed out all the many mistakes British Airways made in their customer service in dealing with her lost luggage. Their lost luggage and claims customer service processes definitely weren’t designed to be easy on the customer. In fact, it almost appeared as if they purposely made this process difficult so most people would just give up before the claim was ever paid out.
British Airways also didn’t have customer service emergency backup plans in place. If communication got lost or ended up at the bottom of a pile on one administrator’s desk, there didn’t seem to be any mechanisms for follow up on submitted claims and definitely no checks in balances in place to ensure that a claim made it through their internal processes successfully or even at all.
They certainly didn’t keep the customer informed and they didn’t respond and communicate quickly either. This woman went for over 3 months before hearing anything and it would have been longer had she not kept calling until she reached the CEO of British Airways. Then, it was another 2 months before she received her check.
Finally, they broke the “Golden Commandment of Customer Service” – go the extra step to satisfy your customers and apologize if necessary. In fact, when she did finally receive a check for her claim – 5 months after the incident – it was HALF of what she put on her claim form!
Obviously this was a great story to illustrate the author’s points. But what it illustrated to me even more was how one negative customer service experience could really damage a company’s reputation quickly. Many businesses seem to think, “...one unhappy person doesn’t matter that much.”
Oh how wrong they are! I wonder how many people – like me – read this British Airways unhappy customer‘s blog? And I read it because someone else read it and forwarded it to me since they knew I was always seeking marketing and business information to blog about myself. I also wonder how many people – like me – went on to blog about this story themselves? So, just counting the people I know about, that is three people who are unhappy with British Airways over this incident. I am sure there will be many, many, more who read the original author’s blog – and who read this blog – who will feel the same way.
What you can take from that is this… In these days of the pervasiveness of the Internet – these days of social communication and information that spreads like wildfire through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – “just one person” is never “just one person“. When you are operating a business or a brand, you must always treat every single customer like they have the biggest audience in the world and can make or break your business with one little blog post. Because…it just might be true.
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