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Free Ways To Market on Facebook at SMX West

Everybody talks about it but only few understand it: Facebook. Let´s have a look at what experts at the SMX West say about Facebook and what marketing opportunities a business has with this Social Media Channel.

Moderator of the "Free Ways To Market on Facebook" session is Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land and speakers on the panel are Greg Finn (Director of Internet Marketing, 10e20), Bill Parkes (EVP/Chief Digital Officer, nFusion) and Tony Wright (CEO/Founder, WrightIMC). Jon Fougner (Associate, Ads Product Marketing, Facebook) was available for the Q/A session.

The first to take the stage is Greg Finn, 10e20 who explains how Facebook works. He talks about the difference of the three main Facebook channels everybody should know before starting to work with Facebook.

  1. Facebook Groups
    Facebook Groups where the original "Pages" and can be used to publish privately or publically. As Facebook grew, it also outgrew the use of groups in some ways. However they might be still useful because they are not as strict as pages and give the user unique messaging opportunities. A big question for businesses is that groups are not fully indexable by search engines and there is no real time search for groups.
  2. Facebook Profiles
    Facebook Profiles are for private individuals to connect with family and friends. Just "friends" are able to see the posts and the profile owner has to befriend everybody who sends a friend request manually.
  3. Facebook Pages
    Facebook Pages are special profiles that may only be used by businesses or celebrities. Pages are indexable and show up in real time searches. A page cannot be personalized in the same way a profile can be. However, it allows business to connect with "Fans" and the tedious work to befriend people ceases to exist.

Finn states that it is of no use having a Facebook profile or page without utilizing it. Also, he points out that businesses should use the different Facebook tools like Facebook Events, Discussions or Boxes to enhance their presence.

Next on the panel is Tony Wright, WrightIMC talking about marketing Facebook Fan Pages.

Business of all sizes can create public profiles which are called pages.
However, there are a few questions businesses and marketers have to ask themselves before entering the Facebook world:

  1. Do you have the resources to keep the Facebook page up as soon as it is created?
  2. Are you willing to provide customer service through your fan page and interact with them?
  3. Can you be creative about your posts?

If the answer to these questions is "no" than the business should step back and approach a different online channel.

However, if a business has the time and personnel to create and maintain a Facebook page it can only win. Simple SEO tactics can help pages to show up in Google’s real time search. The news feed algorithm for the search result is based on a few factors like how many friends/fans are commenting on a certain piece of content, who posted the content and what type of content is published (photo, video, status update). Status updates normally rank the highest.

Facebook Analytics
The Facebook Insights Tool (This is the data analyses tool that become available to you once you have released an app on Facebook.) provides good basic data for most businesses.
In Jan. 2010 Facebook launched a new feature – per post insights. As soon as a page reaches 10,000 fans the administrator can authenticate the page and use this tool to monitor and analyze the Facebook page. Of course also third party analytics tools like Omniture, Sometrics or Kontagent Viral might do the trick.

SEO for Facebook
To create a Search Engine optimized page there are some factors to take into account:

  1. Usernames have to be created with care, if successful the business will have to live with this name for a while
  2. URLs matter, but not too much
  3. Keyword dense content should be on the top of the page
  4. The "Info" tab is a great place for keywords
  5. Static FBML boxes are great for keyword rich content
  6. On page optimization is the foundation but links to the Facebook Page improve the ranking in search engines
  7. Facebook Pages need to be promoted in other places besides Facebook
  8. A constant goal has to be to increase the number of fans

Last but not least Bill Parkes, nFusion talked about Facebook Marketing in Four Steps.

  1. Create a plan
    Goals and Objectives have to be planned first, without them the Social Media Presence is doomed. Clarify time resources and money needed.
  2. Develop a look
    Be clear about what you want to accomplish and do it with personality, imagery and brand expressions.
  3. Personalize the presence
    Create clear expectations and tab customizations.
  4. Work it!
    Leverage existing content and programs, listen to fans. Give incentives so people become fans and stay fans. Bring exclusive content to Facebook.

The key take aways of this session are surely to understand the different Facebook features and then plan and outline the Facebook presence before creating a page.. The possibilities for success are vast especially because it is still a new medium and a place where small businesses can compete with corporations.
Also, social and real time search are becoming more important and a SE optimized page can definitely increase a businesses ranking.

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Contributed by: Birgit Bauer, Milestone Internet Marketing
Reference: SMX West 2010

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