|Facebook pages receive a big thumbs up|
|Written by Darci Tomky|
770 billion. That’s how many page views Facebook receives every month.
So it’s no surprise that Facebook is now the most visited site on the web.
Some Enterprise readers are strong enough to admit they have a Facebook addiction, while others are still in denial. (Or else they simply have more self control than most people!)
According to Ken Burbary’s article on 2011 Facebook demographics, the average user spends an average of 15 hours and 33 minutes on Facebook every month. That comes down to 40 visits each month at 23 minutes per visit.
In addition to their 130 friends, the average user is also connected to 80 community pages, groups and events.
With those statistics, it’s not hard to figure out why businesses and organizations across the globe are buying in to the growing concept of Facebook pages.
“The power you get from marketing on Facebook is you have the ability to reach your customers where they already hang out online,” said an article by JR Farr. “There’s no effort to get them over to your website because your promos, contests and announcements show up right in their news feed.”
With a simple click of the mouse, users of this social media site can “like” their favorite stores, musicians, community groups and more.This allows them to receive updates from the page on their news feed right along with the posts their Facebook friends are making.
Local business owner Jody Fiscus jumped on board about a year ago when she set up a page for The Oak Tree.
“We can tell that it works,” she said, noting customers visit the store, asking for items they only could have seen on Facebook.
The business page has been a positive tool for The Oak Tree because they can showcase their products and store displays with colorful photos.
With colorful photos and informative posts, Facebook
Another local business taking advantage of Facebook photo albums is Prairie Photography. Owner Brittany Krueger posts highlight albums from her latest photo shoots, allowing customers to receive feedback on their photos from friends and family.
“Facebook lets my page be a place for community communication,” said Krueger.
One reason why business pages are so popular is that fans can interact with each other and the company—there’s two-way communication. Users can make comments on informative posts, “like” their favorite photos and even share fun videos.
The average Facebook user creates 90 pieces of content each month, a combined statistic of content on friends’ profiles, status updates and fan pages. A staggering 30 billion pieces of content are shared each day on Facebook with most of that interaction occurring within 24 hours of the original update.
Quality, consistent page posts are what keep the business or organization fresh and inviting. They are what keep the fans coming back.
“So many companies struggle to understand how best to utilize these updates and either don’t use them at all, update solely about product announcements or update so often users become overwhelmed and the updates turn into so much noise,” said Callan Green in her article on “Killer Facebook Fan Pages.”
“It’s a fine line,” said Fiscus, noting The Oak Tree tries to post updates at least once a week—enough to keep fans interested but not too many that users “unlike” the page.
Krueger said she follows the principle that she will post an update whenever she has good content. A lot of the posts for Prairie Photography are about her customers and the people in her photos, so she’s not overwhelming people with too many posts simply about her business and the services she offers.
“It’s also a major contact tool,” said Krueger. Since consumers are spending so much time on Facebook, they might be more likely to comment on Prairie Photography’s page or send Krueger a Facebook message rather than use the phone for communication.
“It lets me connect with current and future customers,” she said.
One of the best ways to keep fans interested and coming back to a page is by varying the type of content shared on the site. In addition to posting information about the business or organization, pages should consider sharing links or general information about the industry, uploading photos or videos, starting active discussions and encouraging fans to share their own opinions about a topic.
“Because videos are so easy to consume, video is among the most commonly shared types of content online, which is why many companies strive to create videos that will go “viral” (be shared to an exponentially growing number of people),” said Green. Facebook users simply can’t resist clicking on that play button.
Another way to bring variety to a page is to hold a contest specifically for the Facebook users.
“You have to give back to your customers,” said Fiscus, noting a Facebook contest is a great way to build fan base and interact with users.
The Oak Tree held a contest for a store gift certificate. All fans had to do was comment with a description of their favorite item from the store. Fiscus said they got a great response and used a random number picker to choose the winner.
Other pages offer coupons or deals that only their Facebook fans have access to.
Whether a page is posting an update or promoting a contest, it’s important to know the demographics of the fan base.
For Prairie Photography, Krueger knows she can market her page to high school seniors as well as parents and grandparents of the younger kids she takes pictures of.
Fiscus said her fan base is slowly growing all the time. Since The Oak Tree has stores in Holyoke, Fort Morgan and North Platte, Neb., it’s a little harder to pinpoint the demographic. Fiscus said the growth of Holyoke fans has mellowed out while the North Platte group is growing, including fans in a younger age group than those in Holyoke.
According to statistics on checkfacebook.com, the 18-24-year-old age group makes up the largest chunk of American users at 30.2 percent.
But don’t forget the older demographic, which is definitely growing. 25-34-year-olds make up 22.4 percent of American Facebook users while the 35-44-year-olds have grown to 15.4 percent. What once was a social media network for college students is now a place for parents and grandparents to interact as well.
Out of the 155,097,600 Americans on Facebook, the
No matter who the page is targeting, the content should accurately reflect the brand and set it apart with a clear purpose for the page.
“In my opinion, the most common reason a majority of Facebook fan pages fail to become successful is because there was no clear direction or purpose of the fan page,” said Farr. “It was more of a re-active move than a pro-active move. Brands are just setting up Facebook fan pages because they feel like they HAVE to without any thought out objectives.”
Pages should use an eye-catching image for their profile picture and thumbnail, keeping in mind the size and shape of these images.
Posts can use casual and laid-back language to match the overall feel of Facebook while still being professional.
What most people don’t know is that Facebook applications can be used to make a page look like a mini-website with customizable tabs and layout designs.
“Facebook is a supplementary marketing tool for my business—it needs to represent me well,” said Krueger.
And, of course, Facebook is a great place for a company to direct traffic back to their website and vice versa.
More often than not, consumers will not go looking for a specific page. They will most likely stumble upon it, either through a friend suggestion or another website.
Fiscus said The Oak Tree page is promoted on their open house postcards and emails, but other than that it’s mostly been through Facebook “word of mouth.”
Now that all the amazing advantages of Facebook pages have been covered, why not run to the computer and set one up right now?
Facebook really does make it easy to set up the page which, by the way, is absolutely free.
“Facebook is nice and comfortable,” said Fiscus, noting it was more appealing to her than other social media sites.
For those readers who aren’t on Facebook 24/7, that doesn’t mean your business or organization can’t have a presence on Facebook.
“Find somebody that’s good at it,” advised Fiscus. Instead of taking the time to do the updates for The Oak Tree, she asked Shannon Schlachter to help her with it. Schlachter simply stops in at the store every once in a while and gets ideas for her posts.
With 155,097,600 Americans and nearly seven billion total Facebook users worldwide, it’s hard to ignore the value of this ever-growing marketing tool. It’s part of a cultural shift and could very well be the standard in the near future.
“How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation?” urges Seth Godin. “How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?”