5 Elements of a Successful Facebook Fan Page


5 Elements of a Successful Facebook Fan Page: ”

award imageSamir Balwani is a social media marketer who helps businesses create effective web strategies. You can follow him on Twitter and get his newsletter.

For many companies a Facebook fan page is an integral part of their social media campaign. But, what elements help fan pages build up large followings and what can brands do to emulate the success of others? I’ve put together a list of specific elements that I believe have helped create fan pages with large, engaged, followings.

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1. Networking with other platforms


Building a large following requires a network of other platforms, working in conjunction to drive visitors to your fan page. One brand that does that well is Victoria’s Secret with their PINK line.

As you can see, on their PINK landing page they have a link to their Facebook fan page and their MySpace profile. Victoria’s Secret leverages the traffic their home page gets and pushes them to their Facebook fan page.

victoria secret pink facebook image

Many companies lack this level of dedication, expecting their consumers on Facebook to find them automatically. However, that’s not usually the case.

When is the last time you went looking for a brand’s Facebook fan page? More often than not, a consumer will stumble upon the page, either through a friend or from a hub, similar to Victoria’s Secret’s PINK page.

Understandably, the fact that the demographic targeted by Victoria’s Secret PINK, aligns exactly with the demographic that is most active on Facebook, has helped grow the group as well.

Key Takeaway: Connecting multiple social platforms and a hub from the brand website, can help funnel consumers throughout the network.

victoria secret pink facebook fan page


2. Creating a resource


Some pages are used as connection hubs, but others offer information pertinent to their consumers. They use the information as added value to have consumers create a connection with the brand.

Dell has done a great job with their social media resource for small businesses. Understanding that small business owners buy computers, by offering them this resource, small business owners interested in social media keep Dell top of mind.

Although, Dell can’t explicitly gauge the success of this program in ROI, it is a branding exercise. Also, since they offer deals and updates on new products on the page – the page does have a chance to convert small business owners into Dell consumers.

Key Takeaway: Offering a resource page allows a brand to target a new demographic, outside of those that already know and love the business.

dell facebook fan page image


3. Creating contests that include participation


For brands that want fan pages to have added value (a reason for users to join the page, aside from brand loyalty), but don’t want to become a resource portal; offering contests and coupons specifically to Facebook users can entice consumers to join.

Sears offered fans a $10 coupon to use in stores, giving consumers a reason to join. Clicking on the coupon takes you to a page where Sears collects your information and sends you information about the coupon, deals, and offers. There’s no way to make sure the coupon is given to only Facebook fans, however like Sears, brands can require an email before receiving the coupon.

Key Takeaway: Offering something to consumers to join can help build a large community. Some examples of things to offer: Coupons, free shipping, weekly deals.

sears facebook fan page image


4. Empowering pre-existing pages


One of my favorite stories about social media involves the Coca Cola Facebook page. The fan page was created by two users who liked Coke. What started as a fan page for fun, turned out to be the largest product fan page on Facebook.

Coca Cola, instead of taking over the page and making it their own, rewarded the fans by bringing them to Atlanta and giving them a tour of the Coke facility. The fan page remains theirs, but now they have the blessing and help of Coca Cola.

By empowering the fans to keep their fan page, Coke ensures a passionate page owner.

The Coca Cola marketing team was also smart enough to realize that letting others know what happened here would work in their favor. The fan page creators were told to make a video of the history behind the fan page, and how Coke had reached out to them and rewarded them for this.

The video shows future ‘brand enthusiasts’ that creating successful groups around Coca Cola can result in rewards and recognition.

Key Takeaway: Taking over unsanctioned Facebook fan pages isn’t always the best idea. Instead, rewarding dedication can inspire others to do the same.

coca cola facebook fan page creators


5. Targeting the proper demographic


Sometimes no matter what you do, your Facebook page won’t grow. This can simply be a side effect of Facebook’s demographic. There are just some brands that will not have a strong presence on Facebook.

Understanding the demographic present can help you decide if Facebook is worth it for your business.

From Quantcast estimates, we can tell that Facebook skews towards female youths. Interestingly, 53% of users have kids and a majority make over $60k a year salary. Obviously, over 50% are college kids. The demographics that make up Facebook are changing quickly, as more moms have begun to join and the college market has become saturated.

facebook quantcast demographics image

Armed with this knowledge, Seventeen Magazine jumped on to the Facebook fan page bandwagon. Their brand targets the demographic most prominent on Facebook, meaning a fairly quick and organic growth.

For companies whose brand does not target the optimal demographic, finding a specific line that does, works.

Consider the brand mentioned earlier in this article, Victoria’s Secret. Instead of putting the entire brand on Facebook, they targeted the PINK line, a line for college students.

Key Takeaway: Some brands cannot expect huge followings on Facebook. Brands or product lines targeting the demographic most prominent on Facebook tend to see the quickest growth.

seventeen magazine facebook fan page image

I purposely did not talk about using advertising to increase the size of a fan page, because although it can be useful to jump start a fan page, organic growth can help build a more engaged group.

Creating a Facebook fan page is simple, but getting it to work well takes time, dedication, and some planning. Don’t expect to create a page and then have a huge following instantaneously. Build good content, make it easy to share, and let people know about it, and over-time the community will grow.

Do you have a successful fan page? What did you do to get the word out? What elements did you add to make it easier to pass along? How do you engage your consumers?


More Facebook resources from Mashable:


- You Might Not Love the New Facebook, But Brands Should
- New Facebook Pages: A Guide for Social Media Marketers
- HOW TO: Survive the New, New Facebook
- 30+ Apps for Doing Business on Facebook

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DNY59


Reviews: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter

(Via Mashable!.)

Facebook’s Public Profile Upgrades Will Transform Customer Relations


Facebook’s Public Profile Upgrades Will Transform Customer Relations: ”

-Facebook Pages Icon-When Facebook released the upgraded version of public profiles (formerly ‘Pages’) a couple weeks ago, they gave businesses and public figures access to a new direct channel of communication with fans: the news feed. Since then, comments and ‘likes’ of public profile stories have jumped substantially and many are finding the redesign to be much more effective at engaging users. There are still many features that are lacking though.

Insufficient Reporting Metrics

While Facebook’s public profile ‘Insights’ provide a decent amount of information about how users are interacting with your public profile, there is still a ton of information absent from the metrics. The primary one is ad conversion. Currently Facebook encourages public page owners to use Facebook ads to promote their pages. I’ve been playing with this for a while now and have had great results (I’ll post more about this in the future) but unfortunately I can’t track conversion rates.

If I could run multivariate testing as well as A-B split testing on my various ad campaigns, I could optimize the amount spent and reduce my effective ‘cost per fan’. My guess is that Facebook will be providing an improved insights system in the near future. Why? It will increase the amount spent on advertising as well as increase their long-term ad revenue since brands will invest heavily in promoting their public profiles.

Direct Chat Would Provide Instant Communication

Imagine if you were able to visit the public profile of a local store and they were able to chat directly with you. For example if you want to schedule an appointment with your local doctor, it would be useful to have a quick chat conversation with the somebody that handles scheduling who will also be able to answer your questions.

Ultimately there are a number of applications that provide instant chat but so far most businesses haven’t taken advantage of them. Facebook could easily integrate their public profiles into chat and this would help create a valuable way for instant communication.

Fan Lists Would Provide CRM Functionality

If you’ve used Salesforce then you know how it’s possible to track the sources of every ‘lead’. Ultimately Facebook may not perceive public profiles as a lead generation system but if you are going to pay for fans (and you aren’t a media company), you are going to want to generate revenue from them. If there were ‘fan lists’ which would be the public profile version of ‘friend lists’, public profile admins could effectively organize fans into manageable groups.

Many More Features To Come

Facebook has said that the intention is to merge public profiles and user profiles into a similar if not identical product. If this is really their full intention, I’d assume that there will be many more features to come in the coming weeks and months that help businesses to interact directly with existing and new customers. What upgrades are you hoping for? If you are looking for more information about how your business can take advantage of public profiles and Facebook, fill out the form below and you’ll be first to find out about a new program we’ll be announcing shortly.

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(Via All Facebook.)

Can Anyone Be Your Facebook Friend?


Can Anyone Be Your Facebook Friend?: ”

In my case, no. My Facebook friends are pretty much only my real life friends and closest coworkers. When it comes to some other services, such as Digg, I’ve let pretty much anyone be my friend, but sometimes I feel it’s better if I restrict my online friendships to match my real life connections.

I do this for one simple reason: Facebook is too valuable for me. If I have hundreds or thousands of friends, the service simply isn’t that useful; I get bombarded with too many status updates, and after a while I simply stop caring. I haven’t yet determined the sweet spot for the ideal number of friends on Facebook, but I’m pretty sure that – for me – it’s under 100.

Of course, Facebook is just one example; as our Adam Ostrow had shown in a recent post, by tweaking Facebook custom friend lists you can make sure that you don’t see stuff you don’t want to see, and by tweaking the privacy options you can hide your personal details from certain groups of Facebook friends. However, Facebook is just one social media site among hundreds, and not all of them offer such detailed customizing options.

On Twitter, I’m a bit more relaxed, and I follow several hundred people. But even there I’d rather have 100 relevant friends than 10000 random ones. It’s simply practically impossible to actively follow that many people.

Of course, if you’re a social media consultant or otherwise deeply involved with social networking & media sites, you might find it a necessity to amass as many friends as you can on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg or Facebook. From a certain perspective, I should probably be doing it, too. But I just can’t get myself to do it; for lack of a better word, I like Facebook too much to ruin it by having too many friends. Sure, if you look at Facebook and Twitter as somewhat of a passing trend which might be gone in a year or two, none of this matters. But I believe these sites are here to stay, and I’d rather take it slow, even at the cost of not being the hippest user out there.

How do you feel about this? Do you add as many friends as you can on social media sites, or do you prefer to take it slowly and keep the number of friends in check? In your opinion, what’s the ideal number of friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, and other social media sites? Please, speak your mind in the comments.


Reviews: Digg, Facebook, Twitter

(Via Mashable!.)

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know


10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know: “10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know
Posted by Nick O’Neill on February 2nd, 2009 11:00 AM
Everyday I receive an email from somebody about how their account was hacked, how a friend tagged them in the photo and they want a way to avoid it, as well as a number of other complications related to their privacy on Facebook. Over the weekend one individual contacted me to let me know that he would be removing me as a friend from Facebook because he was ‘going to make a shift with my Facebook use – going to just mostly family stuff.’

Perhaps he was tired of receiving my status updates or perhaps he didn’t want me to view photos from his personal life. Whatever the reason for ending our Facebook friendship, I figured that many people would benefit from a thorough overview on how to protect your privacy on Facebook. Below is a step by step process for protecting your privacy.

1. Use Your Friend Lists

I can’t tell you how many people are not aware of their friend lists. For those not aware of what friend lists are, Facebook describes them as a feature which allows ‘you to create private groupings of friends based on your personal preferences. For example, you can create a Friend List for your friends that meet for weekly book club meetings. You can create Friend Lists for all of your organizational needs, allowing you to quickly view friends by type and send messages to your lists.’

There are a few very important things to remember about friend lists:

You can add each friend to more than one friend group
Friend groups should be used like ‘tags’ as used elsewhere around the web
Friend Lists can have specific privacy policies applied to them

I’ll touch on each of the things listed above in more detail later. A typical setup for groups would be ‘Friends’, ‘Family’, and ‘Professional’. These three groups can then be used to apply different privacy policies. For example, you may want your friends to see photos from the party you were at last night, but you don’t want your family or professional contacts to see those photos.

Using friend lists is also extremely useful for organizing your friends if you have a lot of them. For instance I have about 20 friend lists and I categorize people by city (New York, San Francisco, D.C., Tel Aviv, etc), where I met them (conferences, past co-workers, through this blog), and my relationship with them (professional, family, social, etc).

You can configure your friend lists by visiting the friends area of your Facebook.

2. Remove Yourself From Facebook Search Results

My mom is a teacher and one of the first things she asked me when she joined Facebook is how she could make sure her students couldn’t see that she was on the site. Understandably my mom doesn’t want her middle school students to know what she’s up to in her personal life. There are numerous reasons that individuals don’t want their information to show up in search results on Facebook, and it’s simple to turn off your public visibility.

How to Remove Yourself From Facebook Search Results
Now that you’ve decided that you would like to remove yourself from Facebook’s search results, here’s how to do it:

Visit your search privacy settings page
Under ‘Search Visibility’ select ‘Only Friends’ (Remember, doing so will remove you from Facebook search results, so make sure you want to be removed totally. Otherwise, you can select another group, such as ‘My Networks and Friends’ which I believe is the default.)
Click ‘Save Changes’
By default, Facebook makes your presence visible to the network you are in. Frequently, people aren’t aware of their visibility, so this is one of the first settings that users wish to modify. By selecting ‘Customize’ from the search visibility drop down you can make your settings even more granular.

3. Remove Yourself From Google

Facebook gets A TON of traffic from displaying user profiles in search engines. Not all of your profile is displayed though. Currently the information displayed in the search profile is limited to: your profile picture, a list of your friends, a link to add you as a friend, a link to send you a message, and a list of up to approximately 20 fan pages that you are a member of.

For some people, being displayed in the search engines is a great way to let people get in contact with you, especially if you don’t have an existing website. Facebook also tends to rank high in the search results, so if you want to be easy to find, making your search profile can be a great idea. Many people don’t want any of their information to be public though.

By visiting the same search privacy settings page listed in the previous step, you can control the visibility of your public search listing which is visible to Google and other search engines. You can turn off your public search listing by simply unchecking the box next to the phrase ‘Create a public search listing for me and submit it for search engine indexing’ as pictured in the image below.

4. Avoid the Infamous Photo/Video Tag Mistake

This is the classic Facebook problem. You let lose for a few hours one night (or day) and photos (or videos) of the moment are suddenly posted for all to view, not just your close friends who shared the moment with you. The result can be devastating. Some have been fired from work after incriminating photos/videos were posted for the boss to see. For others, randomly tagged photos/videos have ended relationships.

At the least, a tagged photo/video can result in personal embarrassment. So how do you prevent the infamous tagged photo or video from showing up in all of your friends news feeds? It’s pretty simple. First visit your profile privacy page and modify the setting next to ‘Photos Tagged of You’. Select the option which says ‘Customize…’ and a box like the one pictured below will pop up.

Select the option ‘Only Me’ and then ‘None of My Networks’ if you would like to keep all tagged photos private. If you’d like to make tagged photos visible to certain users you can choose to add them in the box under the ‘Some Friends’ option. In the box that displays after you select ‘Some Friends’ you can type either individual friends or friend lists.

5. Protect Your Albums

Just because you’ve uploaded photos doesn’t mean that you’ve accurately tagged every photo correctly. This setting is more of a reminder than anything else. Frequently people will turn of their tagged photo visibility to certain friend lists yet keep their photo albums public to the world. If you are trying to make all your photos invisible you must do so on an album by album basis.

There is a specific Photos Privacy page from which you can manually configure the visibility of each album (as pictured below). This is an extremely useful configuration option and I highly recommend that you take advantage of it. This way you can store your photos indefinitely on Facebook yet ensure that the only people that can view your photos are the ones who you really want to see them.

6. Prevent Stories From Showing Up in Your Friends’ News Feeds

Oh, did you really just break up with your girlfriend? I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure all of your friends and business contacts are also sorry to hear that. I can’t tell you how many awkward relationship status changes I’ve seen. The most regular one I’ve seen recently is when an attractive female ends their relationship and numerous guys hop on the opportunity to console her.

I’ve also seen the end of marriages, as well as weekly relationship status changes as individuals try to determine where their relationship stands with their significant other. My personal policy is to not display a relationship status, but many like to make a public statement out of their relationship. For those individuals, it can be a smart move to hedge against future disasters.

There are a number of ways to control how your relationship status is displayed. The first thing that most people should do is uncheck the box next to ‘Remove Relationship Status’ in the News Feed and Wall Privacy page. In the rare instance that a relationship does uncomfortably end, you can avoid making things more uncomfortable by avoiding a friend notification about it.

Second, your relationship status falls within your ‘Basic Information’ section of your profile. You can control who can see your basic information next to the ‘Basic Information’ setting on the Profile Privacy page. Keep in mind that other relevant profile information like your gender, birth date, networks, and other settings are visible within your basic information section.

Making your basic information completely invisible to friends probably isn’t a good idea, but removing the news feed stories about relationship changes most likely is.

7. Protect Against Published Application Stories

This one is a little more tricky to manage but I’ll explain the issue at hand. Frequently when you add an application, a news feed item is immediately published to your profile. One way to get instantly embarrassed is to visit the ‘Have Sex!’ application (found here). This application has no purpose besides telling your friends that you are interested in having sex with them. Without taking any action, the application will post a news feed story to your profile which says the equivalent of ‘Nick just published to the world that he is having sex!’

This is surely something that none of your professional contacts if any of your contacts are interested in seeing (honestly I’m a bit confused about that application, but that’s a different story). That’s why it’s important to monitor what takes place after you install an application on Facebook. Once you install an application you should visit your profile to ensure that no embarrassing notification has been posted to your profile.

More often then not, nothing will be posted but there are many applications on the platform unfortunately that publish stories without you knowing it. There are two ways to avoid having this happen: don’t visit applications or scan your profile every time that you do. Ultimately you shouldn’t be concerned about applications that you’ve built a trusted relationship with but any new applications could potentially post embarrassing notifications.

8. Make Your Contact Information Private

I personally use Facebook for professional and personal use and it can frequently become overwhelming. That’s why I’ve taken the time to outline these ten privacy protection steps. One of the first things I did when I started approving friend requests from people that I hadn’t built a strong relationship with, was make my contact information visible only to close contacts.

The contact information is my personal email and phone number. It’s a simple thing to set but many people forget to do it. Frequently people we don’t know end up contacting us and we have no idea how they got our contact information. Your contact privacy can be edited right from your profile. If you have chosen to enter this information, you should see a ‘Contact Information’ area under the ‘Info’ tab in your profile.

If it displays, you simply click ‘Edit’ and then a screen like the one pictured below will show up.

For each contact item that you have in your profile you should set custom privacy settings (as pictured below) so that contacts that you aren’t close to don’t have access to your phone number and/or email. It’s a small change but it can save you the hassle of being pestered by people you don’t know well. Also, protecting your privacy is generally a good practice to get in the habit of doing.

As a side note, this is a great area to take advantage of friend lists. By getting in the habit of grouping your friends, you can ensure that you are navigating Facebook safely through privacy settings that are attached to your friend lists.

9. Avoid Embarrassing Wall Posts

Just because you use Facebook for business doesn’t mean your friends do. That’s why once in a while a friend of yours will come post something embarrassing or not necessarily ‘work friendly’ and it can end up having adverse effects. That’s why Facebook has provided you with the ability to customize your wall postings visibility. You can also control which friends can post on your wall. There are two places you can control these things.

Adjust Wall Posting Visibility

Within your profile page you can control who can view wall postings made by your friends. To do so, click on the ‘Settings’ icon on the wall in your profile page. Next, find the box pictured in the image above and adjust the setting which says ‘Who can see posts made by friends?’ I’d suggest using a strategy similar to the one outlined in the previous step regarding contact information.

Control Who Can Post to Your Wall
In addition to controlling who can view wall postings published by your friends, you also want to control which friends can post on your wall. Not everybody needs to do this, but occasionally you simply want to prevent some people from posting on your page. If you visit the Profile Privacy settings page, there is a section labeled ‘Wall Posts’.

From this area you can completely disable your friends’ ability to post on your wall. You can also select specific friend lists that can post on your wall. Personally, I don’t really care who can post on my wall but I can understand the need to control who can see those wall postings. If you want to limit who can post wall posts on your profile, this is where you can do it.

10. Keep Your Friendships Private

While it’s fun to show off that you have hundreds or thousands of friends on Facebook, some of your friends don’t want to live public lives. That’s why it’s often a good policy to turn off your friends’ visibility to others. I’ve had a number of individuals visit my profile and then selectively pick off friends that are relevant to them for marketing purposes, or other reasons.

Whatever the reason they are doing it, just know that they are … it’s part of what makes Facebook so addictive: the voyeuristic nature. Also, your friends are frequently visible to the public through search engines and exposing this information can ultimately present a security risk. To modify the visibility of your friends, visit the Profile Privacy page.

Navigate down to the setting which says ‘Friends’ and then modify the setting to whatever is right for you.

Conclusion

These are just ten ways that you can protect your privacy on Facebook. While there are a few other small things to keep in mind, these ten settings are most important. Keep in mind that while you may have turned off the visibility of many profile sections, there is no way to prevent all photos or videos from being visible if friends of yours make the images visible.

The best way to prevent embarrassing items from showing up on Facebook in the future is to not make bad judgements in your personal life. We’re all human though and being completely paranoid about every choice you make is probably not the best way to live your life. Be aware of what privacy settings are available and be conscious of what your friends may be publishing about you.

While you may not want to configure all of the privacy settings outlined, simply knowing how to do so is a great step in the right direction. By following the 10 settings listed above you are well on your way to an embarrassment free future on Facebook!”

(Via .)

Facebook Opens Status API, Say Goodbye to Twitter


Facebook Opens Status API, Say Goodbye to Twitter: ”

-Twitter Logo-Tonight Facebook has made a number of updates to the Facebook platform one of which is the opening of status updates. In order to get Facebook statuses, you no longer need to use a session ID to access statuses. This is a huge update and one that I think is going to take Facebook to the next level. There are additional updates listed in the Facebook blog post:

Specifically, your applications can now directly access all of a user’s status, links, and notes via new methods and FQL calls. Your application will have access to any status, notes, or links from the active user or their friends that are currently visible to the active user. In addition, we’re opening new APIs for you to post links, create notes, or upload videos for the current user, and we’ve made setting a user’s status easier.

As mentioned, Facebook has made it easier to set a user’s status. Get ready for streaming Facebook status tools galore. Just over one month ago I suggested that opening up that status API would be the first step toward Facebook killing Twitter. Now we will see if this really has as large of an effect as I claimed it would.

One other huge update to the Facebook API tonight is the ability for developers to upload videos through their applications. This is a massive update and my guess is that we will start seeing many developers take advantage of this new feature. Some users may have upload limits which can be determined by calling the new API call Video.getUploadLimits. Fortunately users can remove this limit by verifying their phone number.

I will be posting further updates once I have had a chance to explore these features more in depth.

(Via All Facebook.)