By Michael Goldberg, Associate Director of Marketing, Datran Media
Good business involves getting social with your clients and prospects. While marketing certainly plays an important role in demonstrating the value of your products and services, communicating with people on a personal level helps close deals and increases the likelihood of establishing long-term relationships.
This is not an unfamiliar agenda for businesses that routinely network through phone calls, set-up meetings and attend trade shows. However, many businesses fail to recognize the same inherent opportunity in social networking sites like Facebook.
If you’ve ever shared a photo online, written a product review, or watched a viral video, you can call yourself a social media user. Social media platforms have gotten so big so fast, you may have not even noticed that it has become part of our daily routine - both at work and home. Until recently, many marketers associated social networks with a fad of the younger generation, but sites like Facebook are clearly changing that perception.
With more than 90 million active users, Facebook is the most popular social network, and the fourth most-trafficked website in the world, according to comScore. And with more than half of Facebook’s users out of college and users 25 years and older representing the site’s fastest growing demographic, chances are pretty good your clients and prospects are using it, too.
Facebook for Business
Facebook recently opened its social infrastructure to businesses by providing them with the ability to create dedicated “fan pages” and interact with customers on a whole new level. These pages are completely free to set up, and allow marketers to send updates to their audience or “fans”, post events, upload photos or videos, and engage their audience with discussion boards. What’s more, the audience can interact on these pages with other members by writing messages on a company’s virtual “wall” or sharing opinions and reviews.
Word-of-Mouth at its Best
When your fans interact with your Facebook page, the actions they take are automatically generated into social stories. These stories are published to the News Feed, which friends may see the next time they log into Facebook. The stories link back to your Facebook page, increasing the likelihood that others will notice and interact with them, which generates more social stories and drives even more traffic to your page.
What is a Facebook News Feed?
The News Feed is one of the main components of the customized home page presented to each Facebook user. It sits in the center column of the page and serves as the hub of the Facebook experience. The bulk of the messaging users receive comes into their News Feed, and it is the most conspicuous place for marketers to message to Facebook users.
What is a Facebook Notification?
The Notification feed is the other main component of the Facebook home page. This area of the page is generally reserved for information regarding requests made by the user – friend requests, relationship requests, event and group requests, photo tag requests, and others. The Notification area is also where friend birthday reminders are served.
While most “apps” are dedicated towards non-business-related events, harnessing this technology can provide benefit to your brand and organization by cresting additional brand awareness and offering a level of interactivity that you can not attain anywhere else. Building an app is simple and you can find instructions on how to across the Web.
Why Communicate with Users in Facebook?
Many users spend a large percentage of their online time within the Facebook interface and rely on it heavily to stay in touch with their friends and organizations. For these users, Facebook has become their inbox of choice. Highly targeted, relevant messaging to these users within the Facebook interface will surely yield better response rates than traditional messaging to their email inbox.
You can also increase the viral distribution of your Facebook Page with Facebook Social Ads. Attach an ad creative to stories in News Feed or in the left-hand Ad Space. Social Ads increase the number of friends who will see the story when they visit Facebook, and you can also target the ads to specific demographics.
As you have learned, Facebook offers you an unparalleled opportunity to connect with your consumers – in an environment they are comfortable and in which makes your message more meaningful. Here a few actions you can take to get started immediately.
- Set up an account on Facebook. You need a personal account to be able to create a page for your company.
- Follow Facebook’s simple steps for creating a Facebook page. Be sure to label your page under the appropriate category.
- Click on “edit page” to add a logo, company description, products, photos, etc.
- Be sure to become a “fan” of your own page. Once your page has at least one fan, it will be indexed by Facebook’s search engine so others who enter your company name will be able to find you.
- Promote your Facebook page on your website, blog and in emails with Facebook’s prerequisite promotional banner.
- You can choose to set up ad campaigns through Facebook to help attract more customers.
- Share company news, events, and opinions with your fans and start engaging them about your business on a completely personal level.
Michael Goldberg is the Associate Director of Marketing at Datran Media. In his role, Michael works with the team to produce, measure and grow marketing campaigns across media and search. Prior to joining Datran Media, Michael was employed by iCrossing, Where Magazine and ParadyszMatera. Michael received a B.A. in English from the University at Buffalo and leverages his training and experience to advance Datran Media's brand and marketing communications programs. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.