With well over 225 million internet users domestically (that’s nearly ¾ of the US population), it is almost imperative for organizations these days to include the use of Social Media (aka Web 2.0) as one of their marketing channels. As the Social Media landscape has matured over the last few years, so have the marketing techniques that can be used within them.
Marketers are starting to see that social networking sites have more tools to offer compared to their current home grown social media network. Several such marketeering groups have now turned to Facebook, a popular social networking site to get closer to their audience and earn customer loyalty. Irrespective of whether the organization is an established brand or a new venture by an entrepreneur, both want to create a loyal and engaged customer base that will ultimately create brand recognition and revenue. Many feel that Facebook Pages do exactly that – create customer and brand loyalty, while providing the organization with a platform to interact with a large consumer audience on a day to day basis.
Facebook Pages – a fast growing Social Networking tool is the same as creating a profile page; allowing users to create a customizable presence of an organization, brand or a celebrity. From a marketer’s point of view, it provides them with a portal to create “Virtual” Brand Ambassadors around the world. How is that? Simple, any organization can create a Facebook Page and get users to “Become a Fan”. Whether it is a store trying to make their brand more popular or a health organization trying to promote social awareness, “Becoming a Fan” definitely has its share of benefits. From an organization’s perspective, it provides a large online marketing distribution network by leveraging the wide range of users on Facebook. Below are some of the reasons why an organization should create a Facebook Page:
- Introduce free Viral Marketing by using Facebook. Each fan acts as a “Virtual” Brand Ambassador for the organization by providing details on their profile page regarding any activity they participate in associated with the Facebook Page
- Facebook Pages allow administrators to update status, create tabs, and upload events, pictures, videos, comments, sales & promotion details. Any person who is a fan of the page is constantly updated with these details via news feed and update notifications
- Facebook Pages can be used to advertise new campaigns by using status updates to inform their customers. Papa John’s, a successful pizza chain uses this tool to the best of its ability by displaying details in the status message and making users aware of the latest marketing campaigns. Check out – www.facebook.com/papajohns
- A Facebook Page provides an excellent opportunity for the company to setup a “mini” website within Facebook to attract customers with marketing and campaign details. Here’s a great example, www.facebook.com/GUESS
- An organization can offer discounts to users who become fans. This increases customer loyalty and brand popularity. Several marketing campaigns can be posted by creating separate tabs
- Use of social media allows for organizations to constantly interact with their consumers by initiating conversations through walls, survey’s and posts. This allows for the organization to get valuable feedback on their product or service through their growing fan base
- One of the most important reasons for creating a Facebook Page – its free! It allows for free internet marketing to a user base of millions already using Facebook
While there are enough reasons for an organization to create a Facebook Page and post the latest marketing campaigns, how does it track how well it’s Facebook Page is doing? Allfacebook.com is an unofficial Facebook resource website that provides a variety of statistics that can help understand how well your organization’s Facebook Page is performing in comparison to the other organizations, brands or celebrities. It provides metrics on total number of fans, weekly and daily growth for each page along with statistics on the fastest growing pages across Facebook.
Now the other obvious question – Who is this marketing technique most beneficial to? Smaller businesses can do extremely well in gaining recognition and customer loyalty by using Facebook Pages by offering coupons, discounts and other benefits. Internet marketing has grown faster than any other type of media in the past couple of years and lots of small businesses plan to increase their spending budget on using social media in 2009. According to statistics, 63% of small businesses in US are now using social media for reaching out to their customers. Clearly, internet marketing has come a long way since its inception and Facebook has once again succeeded in giving organizations, big or small, a perfect medium to make fans and reach out to a larger audience.