The strategy of facebook as a business is becoming a whole lot clearer now thanks to the launch of facebook business solutions. The business solutions offering also makes the benefit of using facebook as part of your businesses online strategy a lot clearer.
In this post I am going to review the main components of the new business solutions offering and talk a little bit about how you might apply these services as tactics in your overall online strategy. It's a long post so hang in there ;-)
This new offering from facebook integrates 6 main offerings from facebook into one simple interface on the main facebook website. It is important to recognise that (not surprisingly) the benefit of these services will be maximized when they are integrated as part of an overall 'facebook marketing strategy' for your business.
Lets take a closer look at the 6 main components and discuss how they might be applied the context of a Kiwi businesses online strategy.
facebook pages are now the solution for businesses that want to have a profile on facebook. The interface that is used to create a facebook page is very similar to that of the facebook group creation function with the exception of a 'publish' feature. This means that you can work away perfecting your facebook business page and save the work you have done without having to go publicly live until you are happy that you are ready to go.
Functionality offered as standard on your facebook page includes fans (a group for your page), photos, videos, events, a wall (for posting), discussion forum and review feature. The fans feature is important as your group of fans will essentially become your facebook mailing list. You are entitled to contact your group of fans, an important feature from a business perspective.
The other noteable addition that comes as a pert of the facebook pages offering is an additional function in the main left navigation of your facebook account called 'page manager'. Follow this link to manage pages that you have created as well as checking out some basic analytics for each of your pages.
Statistics for your page that are provided in graphical format include page views, unique visitors, fans, new fans, removed fans, wall posts, reviews and photo views.
In short, facebook pages is the starting point for businesses who want to use facebook as a genuine tactic in their online marketing strategy.
facebook social ads
facebook social ads can, in a lot of ways, be considered as facebooks answer to Google's contextual advertising network (adsense). These advertisements can be targeted in a number of ways when you integrate them with you facebook page or in conjunction with your facebook beacon ( beacons are reviewed next).
As an example, you may choose to show your advertisement to users whose friends have recently engaged with your facebook page. When used in conjunction with the facebook beacon you will be able to target users (and their friend networks) who have engaged with your external website.
You can choose to display your advertisements as part of users news feed or in the more traditional spot below the left hand navigation where facebook flyers used to appear. Ads can also be placed in news stories. The ads can be set up on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) basis.
The theory behind the targeting of these ads is that users are more likely to notice your advertisements when they are relevant to the contacts they have in the friend networks. E.g. If I buy a particular album online, that online music store can use facebook ads to target my friends who are likely to like the same music as I.
facebook beacon is the core technology that drives your ability to create a social interaction interface between your website and users of facebook. By placing a few lines of code on your site you will be able to help your customers publish actions that they take on your website to their facebook profile and therefore facebook friends.
Actions that can trigger a request for your website visitor to publish their engagement with your website include but are not limited to purchasing a product, signing up for a service or adding an item to a wish list.
Users are, of course, asked for permission before details of the specific action that they took on your site are published to their facebook profile and news feed.
Facebook beacon should be considered as a tool to enable a viral "web 2.0 word of mouth" type of effect. All online strategies should contain tactics that promote your site visitors recommending your site to others and facebook beacon is a tactic that sits perfectly into this category.
facebook polls have actually been available for some time. However, when integrated as part of an overall facebook marketing strategy these polls should become a crucial tool for businesses interested in using faceboiok business solutions.
Facebook polls can be targeted by gender, age, location, interests, and other demographic data. Your poll will only be shown to the people who meet your criteria.These polls can therefore be used to define your target audience very specifically before you charge ahead with other facebook business solutions such as an investment in facebook social ads.
Results from your facebook poll can be viewed via facebook poll insights in real time. The real time set-up and measurement of facebook polls is a true benefit for online marketers as it allows us to truly target interest in a specific topic, product or service quickly and deploy targeted campaigns on the facebook network with a high level of confidence that a specific result should occur based on poll data.
Similarly to facebook polls, facebook platform is actually an existing offering from facebook that has now been integrated as part of facebooks overall business solutions offering. The facebook platform is a developer tool that is used to create a facebook apllication or 'app'.
As we all know, facebook apps have been a smash hit since they were launched earlier this year when facebook opened their platform to developers. Integrating facebook apps using the platform will now be a crucial part of your overall facebook strategy. Applications that you build can be integrated with your facebook page as well as being readily available for facebook users to engage with using the facebook app directory.
An effective facebook app will make your facebook page more sticky and therefore recommendation worthy to facebook users.
facebook insights is the underlying metrics that businesses will use to measure the performance of their facebook marketing strategy. Authentic demographic data can generated using facebook insights.
In short facebook insights is your web analytics tool for facebook. It's that simple really.
As I wrote this post it became more and more obvious to me that the initial predictions that facebook intended to be a serious web platform are set to be proven right. The launch of facebook business solutions reminds me a lot of the launch of Google adwords.
When Google first started and were focused on there natural search engine there was a lot of speculation about how this new player intended to leverage their massive growth and turn it into revenue. Then one day we all woke up and adwords had arrived. The rest is history.
To me, the launch of facebook business solutions rings a similar bell. Everyone has been going on about how facebook have not made any real money yet. Well, certainly not enough to justify the radical value predictions that have been suggested.
I have a feeling that facebook are about to cash in on their growth in the same way that google did when they launched adwords. Only time will tell....