Facebook was all over the news when its development team, led by CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, addressed privacy concerns by upgrading the social Web site’s privacy setting controls.
While the major criticism of the social media platform—which, according to Facebook itself, boasts more than 400 million active users—has been that it lends itself to oversharing, its marketing and advertising benefits continue to grow.
Facebook users spend more than 500 billion minutes each month on the site. That’s a lot of “liking” and “poking.” Moreover, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook reports that each active user (that is, a user who has logged on at least once in the past month) has an average of 130 “friends.” From a marketing perspective, that’s quite an audience.
GETTING IN SOME “FACE” TIME
In a recently published webinar and e-book, titled FaceBook Marketing Kit, inbound marketing firm HubSpot explains a few of the Facebook basics. Among the details, the firm tells readers how to set up a business account, be seen on Facebook, and leverage the community of Facebook users that should ultimately be generated.
While paid advertising on Facebook is a solid and simple option for some companies, establishing a social presence enables SMBs to “add personality and humanize [their] brand,” according to writers Mike Volpe, HubSpot’s vice president of inbound marketing, and Ellie Mirman, inbound marketing manager. By connecting with friends and speaking outside the traditional advertising stream, companies will be able to reinforce their relationships with customers and clients.
Volpe and Mirman warn in their e-book, however, that companies must remain professional—even in the narcissistic world of Facebook. “Profiles are for people,” they write, “not for companies.”
A BUSINESS HOW-TO
So how do you do set up a corporate Facebook page? You start, Volpe and Mirman explain, by establishing an account using any valid, active email. Then you create a “Business Page” by clicking “Create Page” on the “Create New Facebook Page” area of the site.
The next step is building the page. Companies decide which of the Facebook modules to use and populate, which tabs to display, and what information to use in populating each of those areas. “Create an engaging page,” the writers say, with events, videos, discussions, photos, and blog articles.
Volpe and Mirman add that the news feed feature of Facebook—the area from which users read the status updates and postings of friends—enables companies to “leverage the viral nature of Facebook.”
Once a company site starts requesting friends and accepting friend requests, that network of fans and friends becomes a valuable asset in direct response marketing. Volpe and Mirman encourage companies to take that friend list and use it to fill out an opt-in mailing list, for example.
Indeed, the network of Facebook is ever-growing. In fact, traffic on the site grew by about 70 percent this spring year-over-year. That’s a telecommunications lure that even the most wary marketers won’t be able to ignore much longer.
GEOFFREY OLDMIXON is a Massachusetts-based business and technology writer.