Last week Schipul was a proud sponsor of the 2011 AllFacebook Conference in San Francisco. Two days full of awesome brain-candy, all centered around the number one social platform, and how groups and businesses can better use it. The overwhelming theme was “Quality versus Quantity”.
More important than the number of fans you have for your page is how much those fans interact with you. More important than how often you update your page is the kinds of things you’re sharing and questions you’re asking. A few tips to help you get the most from your Facebook page:
- Give people a reason to like and engage with you. Contests, coupons, earn rewards, etc. Social media is an escape, you’ve got to make people smile and make them want to share. People share because it expresses something about who they are. They share if they believe it to be beneficial to their friends. In contrast, people who enter a contest on your page aren’t likely to tell their friends they did so. We’re gamers at heart and we don’t want the competition! Instead, find a social reason for people to share your content. Keep contests simple – let people use content they already have. If you’re making folks create a video or take a photo, that’s a barrier to participation. The easier it is the more engaging it is.
- It’s too early in the social media spectrum to have a guaranteed recipe for what works. You’ve got to watch what others are doing and learn from them. You have to be willing to try things out and make mistakes. Make sure you’re documenting the things you do try, so you’re able to gauge the response and know what your audience responds to.
- Think of Facebook as a cocktail party. You’re not looking to meet someone and have them sign a contract on the spot; you’re looking to start a relationship. A great way to do that is with social context ads. Those are the ads that you’ll see in the sidebar which indicate which of your friends are already fans of the product or service. They improve your ad recall by 68%, and make you 4 times as likely to buy. Crazy stat time: If you’ve got 350,000 fans on your page, you’re then able to reach the entire U.S. population via those social connections. Start those conversations now!
- Social media often gets the leftovers from other campaigns. It’s the “behind the scenes” access and leftover footage. That doesn’t sell the dream of your product. Whether you are marketing to individuals or businesses, your product has a dream to offer; that idea that if I use your service my life will be more glamorous, or that I can accomplish all my goals. Your company needs to become the enabler that allows me to achieve the dream. Your task is to define that dream for your product and make sure that your social media platforms are effectively selling it.
- Get your fans engaged every time. Easier said than done, right? A simple way is to make a very strong statement and then ask for a response. Think along the lines of “Houston is the best city in the entire world, don’t you agree?” Remember that you’re competing with your fan’s friends in their timeline. Your message has to be engaging enough to stand out amongst the talk of new babys, boyfriend drama, and cute bunny photos. Once you get a conversation going, never leave a question unanswered on your wall. It’s the whole point of social. But be careful to not run over the conversation either – you don’t have to comment on every comment made.
It may seem a little surprising to have two full days of nothing but talking about Facebook, but I think it’s a great example of just how much this social platform has become a core part of our lives. The challenge for businesses is to find a spot in the system that is ultimately built for social connections. The best way to do that is for page owners to talk to fans like they are friends. Authenticity and transparency are super important when building these relationships. Facebook isn’t going away, so it’s key for businesses to claim their spot now and start listening to consumers.
Facebook announces group and video chat
This morning in Palo Alto, Facebook announced several new features rolling out today – group chat, a new chat design, and video chat (aka: ‘video calling‘). These are features that you likely already take advantage of using different platforms, but now it’s possible to take part in them via the Facebook application you’re using every day. In his announcement speech, Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly hit on the theme that the next 5 years in tech will be new applications and programs that use existing platforms.
Now that we’re all connected, the future will be about the cool stuff we can build to take advantage of that. He also stated that users are sharing at an exponential rate. And it’s not just a Facebook phenomenon, it’s an internet phenomenon. Users are no longer the metric to watch; it’s the amount of sharing each person is doing. Now go back and re-read the above points on how to make that content that people want to share. And of course, call us at Schipul if you need some help!
4 billion things are shared every day on Facebook, and now you have some new tools to do it. Group chat you’ll use for coordinating a dinner out or movie time with friends. Start a chat with your best friend, then easily add another. The new chat design makes this easier; instead of a small chat window at the bottom of your Facebook window, the new chat design will scale with your browser. You’re also able to easily send a message to anyone offline; you can even include them in a group chat and a full transcript will be sent to them. (So no talking bad about the people who aren’t there!)
Video chat is by far the most powerful new feature. Powered by Skype, you’re now able to start a chat with someone just by clicking a button on their profile or via a chat window. If they don’t have the application already, it will download for them in just 10-20 seconds. There’s no need to open a new program, add a new contact, and schedule a time to talk. It’s all on Facebook, where you already are. As the lead engineer for the product stated “If it was any easier than that one click, it would be reading your mind.” I think this has huge implications for how we communicate, because now even the most non-technical person can be up on video chat in no time. This might be a good time to evaluate having your parents as friends on Facebook!
The one-on-one intimacy is incredibly powerful. No matter how tech-savvy I consider myself, there’s something about being able to see and speak with a friend or loved one across the country that brings an emotional response. Seeing the demo this morning where that connection was made in a matter of seconds was amazing. I’ve got a few friends that I have connected with on Skype already, but now I’m able to chat with ALL of my friends, without having to do anything new. It’s amazing, and really solidifies Facebook’s place in the social spectrum.
So what about Google+?
As expected, there were a few questions about Google+ directed at Zuckerberg, specifically asking if the Facebook video chat would be expanded to allow for group chats, similar to the Hangout feature in Google+. Zuckerberg said that nothing is ruled out, but right now they’re focusing on the one-to-one experience. Personally speaking, I’m excited to see how this develops. And really excited to be able to easily connect with my friends.
Your customers just got a few more reasons to hang out on Facebook all day – make sure you’re there with them! Fortunately, Schipul is here to help.
You can also access a ton of great resources online – the AllFacebook blog being a great place to start! Check out their post on 20 Essential Marketing Tips from the AllFacebook Expo, and search Twitter for the #afexpo hashtag – there was over a million impressions and they’re still going strong!