November 04, 2011
As the Internet continues to grow, businesses are understanding more and more that they can't afford to ignore social media. Conversations about their brands and products are happening online through outlets like Facebook and Twitter. The simple fact is that it happens with or without you, so you should be there.
The allure of Facebook is its more than 800 million users, with at least half of those users visiting daily. It is one of the few media outlets available with what could be called a mass audience. Of course, even if 400 million people turn onto Facebook on a given day, they are not necessarily coming online for the same information or experience. In many ways, Facebook is providing 800 million different versions of itself.
When you talk to businesses about their Facebook strategy, they usually frame their presence in terms of "likes." If you visit a site like elance.com, you will see dozens of people looking for a social media specialist who can deliver 1,000 likes in a month, or some other arbitrary number and time frame. More so than any other marketing tactic out there today, people put the cart in front of the horse with regard to strategy and tactics in social media.
Now, this is not to say that having a lot of likes on your page serves no purpose. Likes add credibility through community endorsement. But, they are the result of a good Facebook strategy, not a strategy or goal by themselves.
So what is a good Facebook strategy? Well, first, you need to establish why you are using it. The primary use for Facebook as a marketing medium is to create a dialogue with users of your product. That dialogue can include offering special deals to your Facebook friends or offering early looks at new products. In either case, the keyword in the process is engagement. Accruing likes is not engagement; providing people a reason to come back to your page is. Funny thing though, by providing quality content that people are interested in, they usually end up liking your page--and it is more meaningful than just haranguing someone to like it.
Being in the social media world involves being social. This means you have to provide content or some other reason for people to care. This should be the conversation, not "how many likes can we get?" A quality conversation among 50 loyal customers is better than a silent page and 5,000 likes. So, fancy designs and clever setups add polish to the message, but they are only lipstick on the pig if you aren't providing any valuable content on your page.
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Jeff Francis is a marketing geek who would never refer to himself as a guru. He is that weird sort who enjoys watching commercials and analyzing communication strategies. He is also available for hire and would love to hear from you. So, head on over to the contact page and get in touch.