Everyone knows Facebook. “Like” buttons seem to have popped up on nearly every Web site, and many people now have their own private profiles for staying in touch with friends no matter where they are. Companies are also leveraging the way users disperse content, having realized that adroit orchestration of social media can raise their brand’s profile and affinity while recruiting fans who voluntarily spread their message.
However, those who haven’t mastered the basics of Facebook run the risk of drowning in a sea of information. Enter SAP.info with a new series that explains the opportunities Facebook presents to companies. In this initial installment, we’ll show you how to create a successful Facebook page.
Creating a Facebook page
The pages Facebook offers to companies are free, easy to assemble, and – unlike Facebook profiles – not available to private individuals. They give companies a place to present themselves and their products while strengthening their relationships with customers. Facebook pages are generally public and indexed individually by search engines.
Whenever Facebook users click the “Like” button on a company’s Facebook page, they receive push messages on their walls and news feeds; this then spreads to their friends’ feeds, producing a valuable viral effect. Organizations can also use their pages to interact with their customers, such as by responding to users’ comments. To start creating a Facebook page, simply click here.
Designing for uniform diversity
While the appearance of these pages is preset to mirror the rest of Facebook, the image and info box on the left side can be customized, as can the image gallery at the top. The sequence of the images displayed is, however, random. This is why you should upload images that have the desired effect in any order; to view a good example, check out mymuesli’s Facebook page.
In a guest article on allfacebook.de, Mike Lieser – CTO of Hike Social Apps – listed the following apps as free, easy-to-use alternatives:
- iFrame App for Facebook Pages from Wildfire Interactive
- iFramewrapper from ShopShare
- Static HTML for Pages from Involver
- iFrame Tab Builder from 247GRAD
(german site. As an alternative, try TabPress Custom iFrame Tabs, created by Hyperarts)
Read on: Administration & how to gain Fans
Administration and vanity URLs
Every Facebook page needs at least one administrator. New in this regard, however, is the ability to manage your page and post comments on other sites using the name of the page itself rather your private profile. Since pages are no longer coupled to profiles, companies in particular should take note that the responsibility for maintaining them can now be passed on from the original administrators.
If 25 people out themselves as fans of a page by clicking the “Like” button, the page becomes eligible for a vanity URL. These addresses must contain the name of the corresponding product or company; slogans, descriptions, symbols, and genres like “automotive” or “computers” are not permitted. For those looking to succeed in search engine optimization, vanity URLs are definitely recommended.
To gain fans, fire on all channels
To draw fans to your page, you should first search through your e-mail address books to expand your circle of Facebook friends. You can then advertise your Facebook page on your own Web site, in related groups and forums on Facebook and elsewhere, and through a cross-media approach by incorporating Twitter, YouTube, newsletters, and other services. There are also tools that automatically publish Twitter feeds on your page – or parse your Facebook status updates into tweets. Meanwhile, YouTube Video Box makes the tedious job of integrating videos one by one a thing of the past.
Those interested in direct ad placement on Facebook have two options to choose from: self-service applications, which are easy to implement; and engagement ads, which you can order from the Facebook sales team at something of a price premium. However, the considerable amount of information Facebook has on its members makes it possible to reach clearly defined target groups. In doing so, connecting your own Web site and content with Facebook is key. This is what Facebook’s Open Graph protocol enables you to do – by integrating “Like” buttons, for instance. For an introduction to the most important social plugins for Open Graph, read on.
Read on: “Like” button & social plugins
Open Graph and social plugins
With Open Graph, the entire Internet has the potential to become one giant social network. This open protocol includes an all-new interface in the Graph API and is based on the industry standard OAuth 2.0. Meanwhile, social plugins – which can be integrated into Web sites without requiring the use of SDKs – link external online content to Facebook. Upon visiting a site, users can then see who has “liked” it and which articles are recommended without having to be on Facebook itself. At the same time, every interaction through a social plugin attracts attention by producing a corresponding post on Facebook. You can also incorporate these plugins into Facebook pages.
Here are the most popular plugins for propagating content on the social network:
- “Like” button: Enables users to share Web site content on their Facebook profiles with a click of the mouse. “Liking” an entire site establishes a permanent connection between the site (or its Facebook page) and your own profile. Push messages from the Web site will then appear in your news feed on Facebook.
- Comments: Comment boxes can be integrated into Web sites. If you choose to have a comment published simultaneously on Facebook, it will also appear in your friends’ news feeds.
- Activity feed: Reports the latest activity on a Web site, such as which content has been shared or “liked.” Your friends’ actions are displayed before those of other Facebook users.
- Recommendations: Shows you personalized information about a Web site – the articles your friends have recently shared, for example. If you currently aren’t logged into Facebook, random recommendations from Facebook’s entire membership are displayed.
- “Like” box: Displays users (along with their profile pictures) who have “liked” the Web site in question, as well as recently published posts.
- Live Stream: Designed mainly for live events, this social plugin’s many functions include real-time group chat. Live Stream has already seen use at concerts and in federal elections in Germany.
Read on: Tracking
As soon as your Facebook page is up and running, you’ll probably want to know how it’s resonating with the community. While limited to your own page, Facebook Insights – the company’s own tracking application – is still informative. Alternatives that also compare sites can be found in Facemeter [TS1] (currently in beta), a tracking service from allfacebook.de, Tobetracker, PageLever, or the tried-and-true Google Analytics. On its Web site, the social media agency SimplyZesty has also taken a look at seven other tools (not all of which are free).
We’ve only just begun…
Creating a Facebook page and linking it effectively to your own homepage are necessary first steps, but the work doesn’t end there. You also need a sophisticated concept of what content should be presented on your page and how, as well as of the criteria that will define your success. In the upcoming articles in this series on SAP.info, we’ll give you examples of successful Facebook marketing, strategies, targeted ad campaigns, and ways to ascertain ROI. You’ll also learn what advantages Facebook offers over Google+ and what potential lies just waiting to be tapped in Facebook Places, Deals, Credits, games, and online shops.