Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving

 Please Like Me…3 ways to improve your business fanbase on Facebook first published in Money Magazine May/June Issue

Amit Raab is Head of Digital and Social Media
at Ogilvy Malta.
So you’ve got a business page on Facebook. Simply having a presence on Facebook might be good promotion for your brand, but what’s a Facebook page without fans?

 The average Facebook user is connected to around 80 pages or groups. In today’s world the Facebook user is spoilt for choice on which fan pages to like and which to ignore. A visit from a potential client on your Facebook page is valuable but not as valuable as their ‘like’.

When a Facebook user ‘likes’ your business page their opinion of you will be published on all of their friend’s walls, utilising the networking power of the medium. More importantly though, when a user adds your business page, it will give you a direct channel to contact them with updates or information, creating a focused communication to an interested audience.

Once your business presence is established on Facebook, here are 3 ways you can boost your fan count without spending a single dime.

You can bring some much needed attention to your page by being an active member of the Facebook community surrounding your industry. Find industry relevant pages and users on Facebook, entities which would be accessed by potential clients and industry influencers such as competitors or industry bloggers. Now interfere, interact, react and provoke.
Take for example a competitors page, which has just been targeted with a support question from their current client. A simple answer to his question from yourself would shift attention to your business page and promote your presence on this medium to all of the competitor’s clients.

Allowing your social media representative to work alternative work hours might also be beneficial. Statistics from a BuddyMedia research study show fans engaged 20% more with a brand that posted content outside of normal office hours.

Give Fans something non-Fans can’t have
This is the most obvious way to ensure potential clients do not just browse your page but join it, it gives them a reason to join. Here are three simple ways to achieve this, firstly you can use the update function to send exclusive information news and even voucher codes to your fans. Another way is to provide promotions and competitions that only fans will be entered in such as voucher raffles or quizzes. Finally, the most rich and creative way to do this is to use Facebook applications which use the ‘fangate’ function. This function transforms an application once users have ‘liked’ the page. This means that you can have an entire media rich site or special application waiting for users to explore but only if they ‘like’ your page.

Promote and be Proud
Make sure you promote your page on all marketing materials, emails and communications. All it takes is a simple Facebook icon since your target audience is interested in learning more and are Facebook ready. Facebook’s penetration in Malta is now at 50%, meaning 200,000 users. Don’t worry if your page is in its early stages and has a low user count, if the content is there, the interested parties will follow, its not called a networking tool for nothing.

These techniques, along with a healthy interest in your own page and a rich amount of content and output to your fans will make for a very ‘like’able business page, creating a direct and visible channel to your audience.