Thursday, April 11, 2013
A Facebook Brand Presence Is Important
With over a billion users worldwide, Facebook owns the top spot on the list of social media platforms. If you have a personal Facebook account, you may use it to connect with family and friends. But you may also use it to follow news of your favorite product and service brands. These brands are counting on your “likes,” comments, and frequent page visits because they want you to become part of their extended brand family or community.
As a midmarket business leader with limited marketing resources, you may ask yourself (or your management team brings up the topic at regular meetings), why spend the time to build a brand presence on Facebook? Here are five reasons to make the investment:
 The days of the water cooler are history. Today, Facebook is where people congregate to connect, share opinions, learn from others, and meet. If a friend or family member visits a store, restaurant, or theme park – and has a great experience – then he or she shares details and photos on Facebook. The details and photos are seen and shared with others as an introduction to the business. People who were previously unaware of the business are now more likely to visit as a result of the recommendations – social media recommendations have become the modern version of positive word-of-mouth marketing. According to SproutSocial, 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions.
 If your business has a special event or launches a new product or service, Facebook is an excellent online vehicle. You may recall the recent findings from the IDC: smartphone users check Facebook from their smartphones at least 14 times a day. While that percentage may not be representative of your existing customers or prospective customers, remember, Facebook has over a billion users. News can be added, modified, and removed quickly and effortlessly – which makes it an easier platform than most corporate websites. Also, you can always provide content on your brand’s Facebook page with links back to your main website.
Here’s a link to the full survey: https://fb-public.box.com/s/3iq5x6uwnqtq7ki4q8wk
 Create conversations, or in social media parlance, engagement. This can include asking questions, hosting contests or sweepstakes, highlighting contributions or comments from page visitors, creating a poll, etc.
 Gain insights about your products or services. Which are their faves and which are problematic? Due to the informal nature of Facebook, users are more willing to share positive or negative experiences while simultaneously offering feedback – as opposed to LinkedIn, which is a professional networking site. Think of Facebook as Friday casual while LinkedIn is more suit and tie.
 When people follow or “like” a brand or fan page on Facebook, they are endorsing it or recommending it. Despite the constantly changing Facebook lingo, the result is the same: a “like” translates into support for your brand. If managed correctly, people who “like” your brand will become brand advocates or brand ambassadors, the sought-after gold that every brand wants. These unpaid members of your support army tell their friends and family that your brand is the best. So it’s a good idea to thank these folks regularly and recognize them.
Are you convinced? Check to make sure your business or key brand name is available for the page’s name and customized URL. Choose some images that are representative of your brand and don’t forget your logo. Draft a Facebook marketing plan that aligns with your overall marketing initiatives and includes details as to who will maintain the company’s page – and don’t forget to promote your Facebook page as part of all of your marketing outreach. A Facebook brand presence can be a cost-effective piece of your overall marketing outreach, so join the Facebook movement.
Visit my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MarketingSocialMediaAndMore
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Posted by Debbie Laskey, MBA