Choosing the right Facebook media channel to use for your business or client isn’t an easy task. Each one has its own use, and depending on what you want, social media will help you choose which you should be using.
Types of Facebook media channels:
Here is a quick break down of the key channels you should use:
- Personal Profiles should just stay personal. There is no need to use this channel unless you are tying it into your brand via various other channels and methods. Profiles have more limitations than groups or pages.
- Business or Fan Pages allow real organizations, businesses, celebrities and brands to communicate and build a stronger relationship, which will hopefully turn your fans into customers.
- Groups provide a closed space for small groups of people to communicate about shared interests. In other words, Groups are a lot like clubs in normal life, and are generally used to reflect a common interest, rather than to represent your brand or business.
- Applications provide greater personalization. This allows you to enhance the users experience with specific features and interact with the user while keeping them interested in your brand. The biggest problem is that most developers do not know how to utilize the functionality provided by Facebook, that can be used to interact with the user.
Looking at these main Facebook media channels, Groups and Pages will be your starting point when starting up.
Groups and Pages:
When integrating these media channels into your marketing campaign, find out exactly what your client wants. There’s no point in using a channel which is not going to work.
If you have a small internet business or organization with no need to reach more than the current limit of 5,000 members set for a group, then setting up a Facebook group will probably work just fine for you. But, if you like the idea of reaching an unlimited audience, and the possibility of that audience growing all the time, then a Fan Page is what you need.
Groups vs Pages Limitations:
As you know, Facebook is an awesome social media marketing tool, but it has some bugs and limitations you should be aware of before trying to leverage the platform. These limitations constantly change from time to time.
Lets go through some of the limitations:
Some key points:
- Maximum of 5,000 members
- Admin shown as individual, not brand, when posting
- Pages are indexed by the search engines
- Can restrict membership by requiring approval of all applicants
- Not able to host applications
- Only general ads allowed
- Analytics not available for tracking
- Unlimited number of fans
- Admin takes on persona of the brand when posting
- Pages are indexed by the search engines
- No restrictions on who can be a fan – can only set restrictions according to location and age
- Able to host applications
- Supports the use of multiple applications.
- Ads can publicize connection between page and users
- Ability to track, using analytics
Setting up your Facebook Marketing Campaign:
Facebook applications are most important as they can be personalized to any extent and it allows you to tie most of the media channels mentioned previously, to form one solid marketing campaign.
There are 2 types of Facebook applications:
- General Application
- Fan Page Application
The general application is the main application and the fan page application may be a simplified version of the general application or custom personalized functionality.
Getting additional permissions from the user will allow you to further extend your app so that it may appear more personalized to the user. However take special care when requesting these addition permissions as this could scare off the user when landing on you page for the first time. Requesting additional permissions in your Fan Page application is a no no. Rather request these in your general application.
This method will allow for your Fan page to be viewed / liked and if the user is interested in your brand, they will have the option to go to the General application where these additional permissions are requested.
Next, create a simplified version of your app for the fan page. Create multiple fan page applications and keep them well organized. From experience, messy lists are uninviting. Try not to gain any additional permissions as mentioned before.
Then create a fan page. The fan page will be the CORE of your campaign. Link your fan page apps to the fan page and give them eye catching titles. Link a Fan Page app to your general app.
At this stage, your fan page is starting to liven up and look good. As an option, you can link a group and profile to your fan page. This works well if you want a branded profile or specific group topics.
Facebook social media plugins:
Facebook also has various social media plugins, which can be embedded on your website, or integrated and styled into your applications. This also provides some sort of activity for your users and makes things more interactive.
- Like Button lets users share pages from your site back to their profile with one click.
- Send Button allows users to send your content to their friends.
- Comments Plugin enables users to comment on your content or brand.
- Activity Feed shows users what their friends are doing on your app.
- Recommendations lets you suggest certain portions of your app you think users might like.
- Like Box enables users to like your page and view its stream.
- Facepile displays profile photos of users who have liked your page.
- Live Stream lets your users share activity and comments in real time.
The use of other social media plugins like Twitter and Youtube for example can also be integrated and styled into your application.
Make sure that your applications have an awesome design and are interactive. Give the user something to do and make them want to come back for more. Utilize the plugins and functionality made available by Facebook successfully as this will lead to converting those thousands of fans into regular customers.
I will be posting a how to guide on setting up a facebook app soon, so keep checking back.
And just a little side note: Updating the Facebook PHP SDK to version 3 is a must. Version 2 will no longer work from September onwards as all apps will be required to use their new authentication flows. Also, Facebook apps have been switched over to iframe and FBML (which is the Facebook Markup Language) will no longer be used. Its nothing to be alarmed about, as all non-iframe apps will still be functional. No new FBML tags will be created.
Choosing the right Facebook media channel to use for your business or client isn’t an easy task. Each one has its own use, and depending on what you want, social media will help you choose which you should be using. Types of Facebook media channels: Here is a quick break down of the key channels [...]