Why Facebook isn’t just a pretty face. By now, you’ve probably discovered some of the benefits of having a Facebook page for your business.
Facebook has had many changes over the years. This was first written on Aug 2010. Some of the suggestions my not work any longer.
If you’re doing it right, you’ve got yourself a fan page with a growing number of “likers” and you’re actively engaging with them about your shared interests with the odd product mention thrown in! But, underneath the fun, Facebook offers an ever growing range of marketing tools to its business customers. Are you using them all?
Fan Page Insights
If you don’t have a fan page yet, you’ll need to set up your own personal profile and then, from your home page click adverts and pages then follow the prompts to set up your page – it’s quick and easy. Don’t set up a profile for your business as it breaches Facebook user policy and your business profile could be deleted without notice! Once it’s up and running and you’ve found yourself a few fans, click the insights link in the left column. There are plenty of handy little reports there for you to learn more about your demographic. Most Facebook insights can be exported as Excel spreadsheets so you can keep track of the kind of posts that inspire and engage your users and the kinds of posts that they ignore – better targeting your Facebook activity.
Creating a Facebook application is easier than you might think. Start by downloading the application builder (aka Create your own app) to your profile. Then, just follow the prompts. Depending on the application, you may be asked to add a few pictures or come up with some questions and results. One a few of your friends have subscribed to it, you can publish it in the Applications Directory where any Facebook member can use it.
Think about the best way to engage with (not sell to) Facebook users and choose your application that way – for example, if you sell children’s clothing, a quiz entitled “Is your baby a fashionista?” might be more engaging than “Which outfits do you like?”. Be sure to add your URL to the application “about page” and to your outcomes but don’t go over the top as you may be blocked by Facebook and shut down by users. The more fun and engaging the application, the better it will spread through to other Facebook users.
You can then link this application to your URL encouraging visitors to your site to become fans of yours on Facebook.
You can use your fan page to get quick, easy feedback on your products or services from your loyal customers. Say you develop Flash games – you could use your fan page to direct users to try your newest Flash game and then post feedback on your fan page. Instant, easy market research. Unfortunately, it is limited in its quantitative value as it will be mostly rhetoric.
Facebook applications can be used for market research purposes as well and offer more quantitative results, even if they are somewhat limited. Like the insights tab on your fan page, applications come with their own (limited) insights too. You will see various user statistics as well as their application “outcomes”. How does this work for market research purposes?
Imagine you are considering a new product line. You can create a Facebook application that simply asks all your market research questions. This app will not be designed to go viral but instead to target your existing users. Ask them specific, questions about your new product line and Facebook will deliver you a (simplified) answer “User A wants value” “User B wants convenience”. Although privacy settings limit the amount of data you can access on users, this application is an invaluable tool for quick easy market research. You can promote it with an advertisement targeting only your fans and offer small incentives for them to take the quiz.
Networking and Competitor Pages
Joining other pages and groups is an excellent way to keep an eye on what’s happening in your industry. Consider joining a network that is not in competition with you but that targets your market. For example, if you sell dog grooming products online, it’s fine to join a network for dog groomers but all of your competitors will be there too. In addition to that network, consider joining networks for Labrador lovers, poodle people and husky handlers – read their posts, find out what their needs are and then tailor your product to their needs and make a direct sale. Remember the golden rule with online marketing though – if they feel that you are just selling to them, they’ll stop listening – engage and find them a solution to their problems, don’t just sell.
Liking a competitor’s page allows you to keep an eye on what they’re doing and what is working for them. You can get excellent insights into their brand and understand how they engage with their customers. If they do it better than you do it might be time to re-evaluate your marketing methods.
Easy access to demo graphical information
Use the Facebook Search function to search “Market Research” (or keywords for what you are looking for) and you’ll find that all that market research you’ve been meaning to do is already done by some other Facebook user who is willing to share in return for you “liking” his page. Gone are the days of outrageously priced market research, in two clicks, I discovered that there is 1.26 Facebook accounts for every 1 person in District of Columbia, that residents of Philadelphia and Houston are more likely to use Facebook than those in New York or L.A. and that US Asian and Latino citizens are proportionately bigger users of Facebook than their white countrymen.
The beauty of Facebook is that although it seems like a fun and easy way to stay in contact with friends, it is actually a very sophisticated selling mechanism and its various ways to market and sell become more comprehensive and user friendly every day. Annually, Facebook developers create more ways to engage with audiences and more ways for audiences to offer up personal information to sellers. It is the marketplace of the future so grab your slice now!
Susan Long is a freelance marketing consultant specializing in clever online strategies. Find more of her work at this Quick House Sale site.
Thank you Susan..