February 5, 2009: In this day and age, if you haven’t heard of facebook you are pretty out of the loop. Even the rock you’re living under has a facebook page now! But if you haven’t thought about using facebook to promote your business, or you have but don’t know where to start, you aren’t alone.
In the “old days” (read: 2007) of facebook a business would create a user profile for their company/brand. You would use a profile page designed for real people to try to create a brand presence. It was, at best, a sub-par workaround. The majority of real users didn’t care for these tactics and if you did manage to befriend a user that’s where the interaction stopped. You were friends but they never looked at your profile and they never interacted with you because you weren’t a real person. The end result was that you got very little benefit from it. On the off chance that your brand did actually catch on via this method you were limited to 5,000 friends. With over 150 million active users on facebook, this is just a drop in the bucket.
Enter, fan pages. The solution to all of the problems listed above and more. Facebook introduced this special kind of profile specifically for promoting brands. Celebrities (and wannabe celebrities) can promote personal brands, while businesses promote their company and product brands. It’s a completely customizable template that can be used to create a unique experience from page to page. This, however, is where so many fan pages and brands miss the boat.
Customization is the key. Every page is going to have pictures, a discussion board, a place for links, etc. Finding additional applications to enhance the functionality of the page is what will keep users coming back. Pulling additional content from RSS feeds and adding videos and flash really sets a fan page apart.
The most powerful aspect of fan pages is that they spread virally. Every time someone becomes a fan it is posted on all of their friends’ news feeds, giving that person the opportunity to now become a fan and have it shared with all of their friends. This can cause a well constructed fan pages to grow exponentially in a very short period of time.
Building a Fan Page
Getting started is easy. (*Note: you must have a facebook profile first in order to create a page)
- Click this link http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
- Choose the category your brand fits into (Local Business or Brand/Product)
- Enter the name of your business/brand/product
- Click Create Page
That’s all it takes to get started.
Who’s Doing It Well?
Here are some good examples of companies using the application add-on features to promote their content via RSS feeds, Youtube, and other custom add-ons.
Impact on Search Results:
Inside Facebook reported in November that the pages are being given SEO friendly links in public profile listings. The fan pages themselves are indexed by Google and these SEO friendly public profile links offer the opportunity for that page to really start to rank for brand related keywords.
Local SEO Guide also offers a trick to get SEO value for your main site via your fan page. Normal links on fan pages are not search engine friendly, but there are some add-ons that will offer SEO value when indexed.
SEO aside, fan pages are a way to connect with customers and potential customers and create a dialogue about relevant topics. It is an opt-in channel to promote events and disperse news about the brand. Keeping people engaged will keep your brand at the top of their mind more often which can also lead to more word-of-mouth advertising.