These days, if you want to establish your brand on social networks, the first place to start is Facebook. Like an individual’s profile page, and brand’s fan page gives creative control for appearance and content, and provides a unique platform for engaging with customers from around the world. So much is happening on these pages, from special giveaways, coupons and discounts, and contests, to games, interaction, and more. Facebook gives brands more leeway on their pages, enabling them to turn a Facebook page into an extension of their Web site, but with more features, and in a space where even more people can connect. With more than 350 million users (up 50 million in less than three months), there’s no shortage of people to connect with. We’ve analyzed some of the most followed brand fan pages on Facebook to see what they’re doing right, and what other brands can learn from these efforts.
Spark a Conversation
Each of the brands’ pages we viewed did an excellent job of initiating conversation among groups customers, and getting customers to “converse” with the brand itself (rather, the people behind the brand). Each brand poses questions to fans about why they love the product, to share their experiences with the brand, and more. Skittles has posted several fun videos (separate from their clever commercials), which have all received hundreds of comments and thousands of “likes” from users. Each page as a tab for “Discussions,” which is a forum for users to create threads on any topic they feel like, and interact with other customers. Giving fans a way to express their love of a product on your page is a great way to monitor conversation and gain valuable feedback, too.
One way that brands are really developing a fan base on Facebook is by offering special deals, discounts, and giveaways that can’t be found anywhere else. Victoria’s Secret PINK page offers links to multiple discounts, free items, and advance previews of sales that are only available to Facebook fans, and Target gave fans a preview of Black Friday discounts, as well as insider information regarding their holiday giveaway spectacular, where they gave away $200,000 worth of products over the Thanksgiving weekend. Although anyone can log on and see these pages, those who are fans get the information through their news feeds first.
In May 2009, Target launched a unique charity event that utilized the power of the Facebook crowd to make an impact. Target donated $3 million to select charities, and it was up to the Facebook fans to decide where they money went and how much each charity would receive. The event brought in more than 291,000 votes from users, with St. Jude Children’s Hospital receiving the top prize. More and more brands are utilizing their Facebook pages for similar efforts – Coca Cola is taking a stand on climate change by launching “Hopenhagen,” on their Facebook page, an effort to get users to reduce their carbon footprints and show those gathered at the UN Climate Change Conference that Coca Cola cares.
Make it your own
With the exception of Target’s fan page, all of the fan pages we looked at brought us first to a special FMBL page customized for the brand. Unlike a regular Facebook profile which brings users to the “wall” at first visit, these FBML pages have special tabs to make the page feel less like a Facebook profile and more like an actual Web site. Of course, fans can click on other tabs and go to the regular content, but these splash pages provide a way for brands to make their page their own, and really stand out. Mountain Dew’s splash page is a platform for crowdsourcing the next specialty Mountain Dew flavor, and is also a Web site in itself. Coca Cola’s splash page is also very unique, providing links videos made by users and the company as well, fan photos featuring Coke products, and many more interactive features that certainly aren’t available on the corporate site.
Provide Innovative Content
The possibilities for content on Facebook fan pages seem to be limitless, and these brands really know how to produce fun content for users of all ages. On the Dunkin Donuts splash page, fans can watch a video of Maurice, the company’s espresso bean mascot. Users can make Maurice say a variety of small phrases and post it as a link or widget on a friend’s wall, or share it with all of their friends. Skittles lets users be a DJ with “Mix the Rainbow,” using colored skittles as beats, instruments, melodies, and more. These free activities provide fun for all, and keep users on the site instead of somewhere else.
Utilizing Facebook fan pages for brands can be a great way to attract new customers while connecting with your already existing ones as well. With the new and improved news feed, you’ll be able to share information quickly and easily, on a platform where people spend much of their time anyway. With all of the features Facebook provides, it’s hard to not resist just trying it out – you might be surprised with the response you’ll get.