Your Business Needs to be on Facebook

With Facebook member numbers about to surpass 700 million, it’s time to take notice of what Facebook has to offer. We help businesses get ahead with Facebook. Check out how, here.

CASE STUDY

Facebook’s transition from FBML to iframe apps in March 2011 was met with mixed reactions. Non-technical individuals felt threatened by the technical issues involved and, truth be told, the instructions Facebook issued were definitely written for developers. Large organizations, on the other hand, who have technical staff on their payroll, very quickly realized that the iframe technology opened new opportunities for them to promote their brand and create Facebook pages tailored to the very core principle of social media  – social engagement with their clients.

So, what has changed? The application files that you want to create and display on a Facebook canvas are now stored on your own servers – on hosting accounts where you store your ordinary website files. What this means is that you can now build creative applications that promote social engagement and attract new fans; videos, surveys, contests, discussions, product offers, free gifts, email opt-in forms and much more. Creative developers are no long restrained by the previous Facebook code requirements and can use any variety of HTML/XHTML, CSS, Javascript and programming languages.  Nothing stands in the way of creativity.

Many developers went into overdrive and now offer very affordable templates that enable you to acquire and publish a Facebook fanpage effortlessly, using the new iframe application technology.

We have already mentioned the core principle in social media. As this applies to Facebook pages, the principle is social engagement with your Facebook fans. It is not enough to simply acquire a vast number of “Likes”, you also need to come up creative ideas that motivate your fans to come back to your page frequently and share your page with their friends; this is the viral concept that social media provides.

To illustrate what is possible, let’s examine 5 prominent Facebook fan pages that illustrate different ideas on how to engage fans. Each one is different, each one is tailored the vendor’s specific audience  – the demographics, needs and interests of a client base that they have come to know and understand.

Learn from these examples so that you know what is now possible when you put on your creative hat and design your own page.

Pringles

Pringles, owner of the well-known potato chip brand, has a fanpage that is unique primarily because it uses video very effectively. In addition, they engage their fans with reviews, discussions and authentic interactive games.

Video is now the media that people most frequently share online. This is the reason why many companies create entertaining videos in the hope that they will go “viral”, meaning that they will be distributed to an exponentially growing number of people.

Pringles understands its market and generally produce low budget videos that incorporate humor. The aim is to motivate their fans to distribute these videos to their friends. This way, Pringles need not rely exclusively on ad production. Fans “Like” the videos and they then become visible in the newsfeed of their friends. This can potentially attract large numbers of new people to the Pringles fanpage.

Coca-Cola

Your first glance at the Coca-Cola fanpage may not reveal what is hidden within the 27 different tabs that you can access. The guiding principle in its design is clearly user participation or, as is said in social media circles, social engagement.

The company’s commitment to their fans is well illustrated by the way their fanpage evolved to what it is today. The fanpage was originally built by two fans who loved Coke. Coca-Cola found the page and, instead of undermining the original creators, they rewarded them and worked with them to continue developing the page. This way, the company was able to build on the fan relationships that were already established and merge these into what has since become the official company fanpage.

The first observation to be made is that Coca-Cola made the decision to display user created comments on their Facebook wall, be it good or bad comments. This was a courageous decision and demonstrates their interest in getting fans engaged with the Coca-Cola brand.

Another creative feature is their photo albums. These albums show the product, company employees at work, pictures of Coke fans, images of their merchandise from all over the world and pictures of Coke nostalgia. This demonstrates their understanding that Coke is an icon and people collect items related to the brand.

Starbucks

The Starbucks fanpage demonstrates the company’s commitment to social media. The page has good videos and diverse content. Their solution to social engagement with fans is the way in which they use status updates.

The unique feature of Starbucks status updates is that they provide the means for two-way communication between the company and its fans.  Fans post comments about the Starbucks updates which are varied, entertaining and appealing. Fans come back to view and comment on new updates that appear every couple of days. The updates are informal but informative and often include videos, blog posts about all aspects of coffee and the growing of coffee beans. News about the company and its workers are mixed with information about books and music CDs that are available for sale in their shops.

Other companies should take note as these types of status updates receive thousands of comments from a very engaged fan base. They appreciate something more than just stale product announcements or updates that are either too infrequent or so frequent that fans cannot keep up with them.

Adidas

The Adidas page has a large following with content variety, good videos, pictures and notes. It is different from the other pages we have described in the way it promotes Adidas alternative social media channels and advertising campaigns.

Well designed contests provide variety to page content and can engage and attract new fans. Adidas does this particularly well. They recently partnered with MTV and ran an exclusive Facebook contest with an all expenses paid house party as the top prize. It was successful because it was tailored to the demographics of its user base. The campaign and its end result was cleverly integrated into status updates, photos and videos showing blog posts, photos and videos about the house party and the lucky winner. This was seen as a new and fun way of engaging and attracting new fans with a strong call to action.

Red Bull

The Red Bull fan page is one of the best pages featured on Facebook.  Apart from incorporating amusing applications, they cleverly use Twitter feeds to encourage fans to interact and engage themselves with the brand.

The Twitter feeds are not only drawn from their official company account but they use aggregated tweets from sponsored athletes like skateboarder Ryan Sheckler and snowboarder Shaun White.  This fits very well with the demographics of their fan base which is made up primarily of teens and college students. The opportunity to connect with popular athletes provides a strong draw card for attracting new fans.

Humor is always a strong draw card and an amusing application invites fans to rate phone calls made by drunk or tipsy people to the Red Bull 1-800 number. This is a clever way of encouraging interaction and engagement.

The page is a clever combination of creative applications which provide fans with humor and fun.

Conclusion

Although the brands we have described were well known and had a strong and loyal following before they appeared on Facebook, their fanpages offer good insights into the core principles of social media – social engagement that is informal and based on good content that is regularly updated and encourages comments and discussion. In addition, a good sprinkling of humor never goes astray. To be successful in building creative Facebook features and application, you need to know the demographics, interests and social attitude of your audience.

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