Facebook success for businesses

This week sees the opening of The Social Network, a film that portrays the Facebook success story. Facebook has 500 million users worldwide; 1.7 million of those are in Ireland. So how can business target the phenomenon that is Facebook?

Here we will explore how to set up a business page, update your wall, how to integrate applications into your business page, and how to use Facebook advertising as a cost effective tool.

Firstly when setting up it is important to set up a ‘page’ rather than a ‘profile’. This will ensure you receive performance reporting and it makes it more accessible for visitors as they don’t need to be logged into Facebook to view your page.

Once your page is set up you need to begin the task of attracting followers or ‘brand ambassadors’. This should be an integrated marketing effort to your target market across your offline and online activities. It is important to reward fans who ‘like’ your brand for endorsing it on their profile to their connections. Say for example a bar or restaurant can offer a discount printable coupon or code only shown to its followers.

Update your page with interesting, unique, funny, yet diplomatic and professional postings and encourage dialogue. Sharing expert tips is an excellent way of showcasing your expertise on your brand page, providing value to the fan and incentive to check out your page – for example; a beautician could give a weekly tip on beauty.

In order to differentiate your page from your competitors you can integrate applications on the tabs that appear at the top of your page beside the ‘wall’ and ‘info’ standard tabs. There are two types of applications – free template and customised applications. There are a number of free template apps that are available such as Twitter Feed, Reviews, and Discussion Boards, etc. An excellent way to develop your brand personality on Facebook is to create a customised tab which is similar to how a webpage is built except it is integrated into the Facebook platform. Good examples include Castleknock Hotel & Country Club and BMW Ireland. Tabs are built on Facebook’s customised development language, which website providers such as Aró can build.

Facebook ads are one of the most targeted and cost effective ways of online display advertising on the web, Facebook builds up a profile of people based on the pages you become a fan of, personal information you enter, and your activity online. Facebook ads allow you to target a very specific demographic based on a set of criteria such as age, interests, relationship status, job title, location, educational background. For instance jewellers in Galway might like to target an ad at the 8,000 adult men in Galway who are in a relationship, a chemist can target women of a certain age group who have shown an interest in make-up and skincare within a 10 mile radius of Galway, a bar could target students of NUI Galway.

Social media marketing, including Facebook, is just one of the topics covered in Aró’s online marketing courses which start on Wednesday October 20, and run one day and one evening a week. Visit www.aro.ie/workshops for more information and become a fan of Aró’s Facebook page to receive more online marketing tips.

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