Facebook Marketing.In the first few years of social networking, MySpace was the big name. Between 2003 and 2006, it grew to 100 million users, and by June 2006, the website was even more visited than Google. Then came Facebook.
Facebook marketing refers to creating—and actively using—a Facebook page as a communications channel to maintain contact with and attract customers. Facebook actively provides for this, allowing users to create individual profiles or business pages for companies, organizations, or any group attempting to develop a fan base for a product, service, or brand.
Featuring nearly a billion potential customers, every business should be using Facebook. It is at least as essential as having a business web page—and actually much easier to create. Whether you represent a big brand or a small business employing only a handful of people, you can bet that some portion of your customers are already on Facebook. Commonly, Facebook marketing is used by:
Brands. Food, electronics, home goods, restaurants—nearly any kind of brand can be promoted through Facebook, turning passive customers into active fans who follow news of promotions and developments, and who share with their own friends.
Local businesses. Whether a business is family-owned, or a franchise of a larger company, a Facebook page can be used to turn a local customer base into a fan base that more commonly visits your store.
Personalities. Musicians, celebrities, authors, syndicated columnists—anybody who makes their money through being known wants to be known by as many people as they can on Facebook.
Non-profit organizations. Charities, political groups, and public service campaigns can all leverage the natural sharing capabilities of Facebook.
While originally marketed to college students, Facebook has expanded well beyond that demographic. More than half of all users are in the 18-34 age range, and slightly more than half of United States users are women. In the United States, about half of all user profiles are accessed through mobile devices as well as through computers. Due to its considerable amount of users, there is a wide variety of market segments that can be reached on Facebook, and an active fan base for nearly any niche.
A more helpful question about Facebook customers would be: When is Facebook marketing most effective? For brand and company pages, posts made in the morning attract more comments than posts made in the afternoon. Consumers at home may check Facebook at any time during the day (the peak traffic period is around 3:00 in the afternoon). However, working or school-going consumers commonly check Facebook before and after work/school; therefore, only posting during the 9-5 business day misses a lot of opportunities.
Facebook pages are often linked to company web pages elsewhere on the Internet; therefore, it’s often a good idea to use some of the same information in both places, in order to maintain a familiarity. A business page can be searched for as soon as it is up, but unlike a personal profile, you cannot invite friends through it. Business pages do not get “friends,” they get “fans”—and that distinction does make a difference.
The most important aspect of Facebook marketing is consistency of communication. Creating a Facebook page and then leaving it alone will net a business nothing. To attract fans, a business should regularly post new content in a variety of different formats, so that more people will see and share the page. Content can announce upcoming promotions, spot-light specific products or people, share fun facts, provide incentive codes for discounts on products and services, and anything else that will catch the interest of fans.