Many brands still look at Facebook as simply being A social community?, and don’t take it seriously as a business tool. Just 40 per cent of brands in the Deloitte Top 50 have a Facebook presence, with just 24 per cent managing to build an active community.
But dismissing, or under-utilising Facebook is a mistake for you and your business because Facebook has evolved into an intelligent consumer model that offers so much potential for savvy brands.
Some brands use their Facebook community as a customer engagement and research tool and even as a direct-sales channel. Others, including Dell, Domino’s and Coca-Cola have employed Facebook fan pages to address customer concerns, and responding to fan comments.
Increasingly, brands are using Facebook in a smarter way, and are reaping the rewards.Recently, IKEA promoted the launch of a new store through a Facebook fan page. It cleverly uploaded pictures of IKEA rooms and the first customer to tag their name in the picture won the product.
Lovefilm meanwhile, uses its Facebook fan page to engage with customers, post videos and run competitions, while Dove uses the social network as a research tool, recommending items to fans and requesting feedback on these products.
Like the companies above, your brand needs to do more than simply have a presence on Facebook you need to use it to engage with customers, present a more human personality and gather feedback from your audience, and you should look to gain from these wherever possible.
So, how does your brand you go about making the most of what Facebook provides?
1. Build a Fan page
Facebook allows your brand to interact with fans through fan pages. These pages can be used by your business as a blog, a research tool or as a communication device to post messages, respond to issues and solve customer problems. Fan pages also provide your brand with the opportunity to stream live events, post videos and pictures, offer coupons, and run polls and competitions. If your brand is not doing any of these things, you are under-performing on Facebook.
2. Make people like your brand
Facebook has introduced a Like button that lets users share pages from a site to their Facebook profile with one click. You should implement Like on key pages of your website. Doing this allows people to tag your website with a Like , which then shows up on their wall. Friends can see that link, click on it and be led directly to your page. This should be a priority for your brand, as it’s simple to apply and allows customers to promote your brand for you.
3. Encourage recommendations
Your brand should consider implementing The Recommendations plugin, as this offers users personalised suggestions for products or pages on your site they might like. This button also enables your customers to publicly endorse your product or service on Facebook and share this with all their friends. Customer recommendations are often a key marketing and sales tool for businesses, so ensure your brand is taking advantage of this.
4. Log in
Facebook Login shows profile pictures of users” friends who have signed up for your site. This tool will become increasingly popular (especially with ecommerce websites), as more people login to Facebook through websites, and could be a powerful aid for your brand in spreading awareness and driving sales.
5. Get credit
Facebook Credits are a virtual currency users can employ to buy virtual goods on the Facebook platform. This provides the opportunity for your brand to sell products using Facebook Credits, turning your Facebook page into a revenue generator. Taking a step further, you could even offer deals unique to Facebook, such as special offers and promotions. Credits open up new ways for customers to engage with your brand on social networks you should be taking advantage of this.
Howard Scott is the digital marketing director at Sequence, digital marketing agency to Doctor Who, Torchwood, S.A. Brain and Rachel’s Organic.