86% of Brands use Facebook Fan pages: But how well?
The recently released Community and Social Media Study from The e-tailing group found that Brand Marketers and Retailers embraced social media in 2009 with a mix of optimism and what appears to be a general lack of self-confidence. The top social media tool used by the companies interviewed was Facebook Fan Pages, which Digital Variant agrees is a great place to start. In fact, the study found that 86% of companies were using Facebook Fan Pages as a way to communicate with potential customers.
However, the real question is HOW are these companies using Fan Pages?
From our experience selling social media marketing applications and programs to major national brands, we have found that 90%+ are using the standard Facebook Fan Page, are pumping re-purposed content from their own sites through their pages, and are conducting almost no marketing around Fan Acquisition. So, while 86% might be using Facebook Fan Pages, we believe 90% of those are using them ineffectively, inefficiently, and are missing a major marketing opportunity to reach over 300 million + users with their brand message in their own voice.
So, why are Facebook Fans so important? Brands and Retailers need to understand that a Facebook Fan that is well leveraged can be of far greater value than simply having a users email address. Each Fan a Brand or Retailer aggregates on Facebook is in fact a marketing channel to an average of over 220 Facebook friends. Fans are consumers that are not only ready and willing to be brand ambassadors, but have opted in to show their allegiance to your brand and have provided you access to their vast networks of friends, colleagues, and contacts. Brands should not take this commitment lightly.
So, what should Brands and Retailers do? They need to invest in Facebook Fan Pages, not simply use them. Investing in Fan Pages means a couple of things. First, Brands and Retailers need to provide unique, high value, and relevant content, offers and tools to Facebook Consumers. Second, you are playing in an engagement environment; leverage the strengths of that environment. Third, you need to create consistency between your Fan Pages and other marketing initiatives online and off. Make your Fan Page recognizable, but not a recreation of your .com property.
In order to provide this type of unique yet recognizable experience Brands and Retailers need to step outside the standard Facebook Fan Page template. They need to leverage custom applications like those built by Digital Variant and supported by our Facebook Page Management System that allow you to create custom tabs on your Fan Pages, control content look and fell, make special offers to fans, and generally take control of your pages. Use Fan Pages as an extension of your Brand and your marketing channel while also treating them as a primary means of interacting with customers and potential customers. Make your Fan Page presence a place that provides value and drives brand recommendation, awareness, and affinity through groups of users, not just individuals.
Major brands and retailers do not buy stock ads on television, in print, or on billboards so why are they using a stock template to reach a far greater audience on Facebook?