|From September 26, 2011|
Without a doubt having a Facebook page for your company or product is a major part of any modern marketing endeavor. While the true effects of using social media continue to be studied and debated by the supposed “experts,” the general public seems to have embraced the idea of getting much of their information from places like Facebook. To have a new product or launching a new company, no matter what the product or service, without a Facebook page seems like a sure way to fail in whatever endeavor you are trying to head into.
The question becomes, how do you properly use Facebook in order to achieve success? What is the strategy behind using Facebook that differs from other forms of social media. Why not Twitter or Google + or LinkedIn or Tumblr or one of the other social outlets?
The fact remains that Facebook is still the leader when it comes to social media. Recently it was mentioned that over 700 million people are on Facebook. Shockingly, at the time that this was mentioned, it was also mentioned that a vast majority of those 700 million people were actively on the site at that very moment, updating their status or using the service in one form or another. Imagine having a tool at your fingertips, that is absolutely free to use, that would put your product or service or company in front of 700 million people. That’s something you probably can’t even get from advertising on television or getting an article placed in a local magazine or newspaper.
Of course, not every one of those 700 million people is going to “like” your company or product fan page. However, you can reach a lot of them. More importantly, you can reach the ones that will specifically respond to your product. You may end up with a fan page with 1,000 fans, but if those 1,000 people are the ones most likely to pick up the phone and give your company business, then you have reached the right people, if not the largest amount of people.
This is why the most important first step of your Facebook fan page creation involves doing nothing in Facebook. It involves doing research and finding out what your strategy is. This cannot be emphasized enough. You cannot and should not start a Facebook page without having some kind of plan in mind.
The analogy is to think of the world of Facebook like a vast ocean. You need to cross that ocean to reach the land where your targeted audience, or potential clients, are and reach them effectively. In order to do that, and if you were doing it on an actual ship, you would need a chart with your intended route mapped out very carefully.
Who is your targeted audience? Where are they on Facebook? Do they use Facebook? Are they people with families, business people, business owners, entrepreneurs, mothers, fathers, people with kids? Who do you want to reach? Who is your intended audience for your product or service?
Are there already companies out there using Facebook? Can you find them on Facebook and view their pages? What are they doing? Do they have a large number of fans? If so, what do they have on their page that seems to be getting a lot of people talking? Just because the waters seem like they are uncharted, you may find out that someone has already mapped things out for you. There’s no shame in borrowing someone else’s strategies.
Are people already talking about your company online? What is your current “buzz” level? Are there forums where people are talking about you? Are there discussion groups on Facebook that discuss the industry you are in, or discussing something like the very product you plan to introduce?
How are you going to notify people about your Facebook page? Are you going to get colleagues, friends and family involved first? How many “fans” can you actually get before you officially make the page public?
What are you going to talk about? Are there images that can go with your company and product? Are there topics you can talk about? Are there special discounts or giveaways you can do with your product or service that will go well with a Facebook audience?
The list goes on and on. And nothing about this says it has to be written in stone. If you look at the ancient maps the original oceanic explorers used, you see that they were often incomplete and half-realized. Each new venture altered the maps and provided a better picture of the whole. That should be true with your plan. It should be flexible and adaptable as things change.
Plot out your questions and what you can find out using project management software or on a simple sheet of paper. What other questions do you have that you can’t find answers for? Whom can you ask? Has someone you know already headed down this road and can they provide insight? Is there a company out there who can provide advice and help?
Step one, however, is making that plan. You cannot hope to achieve much success with your Facebook page, or the rest of your social media plan, without plotting your course. Make the plan, then move forward.