Is your business on Facebook? Mine is. As a result, I'm finding Facebook becoming a really interesting environment, given the benefits that Facebook Fan Pages offer.
To put Facebook into perspective, consider a few of the statistics: 400 million active users and growing strong. As of October 2009, women outnumber men on Facebook, and it's no longer just the domain of college age users.
No surprise given how engaging, easy to use and sticky Facebook is. [Check out BJ Fogg's persuasive bathroom epiphany presentation for perspective on that!] In fact, that's what makes Facebook so effective an environment for connecting and interacting. For businesses, that means doing so with potential and existing customes. [Per BrandGlue's Jeff Widman who gave a enlightening presentation about the intricacies of Facebook, Facebook is best for strengthening ties with existing customers.]
Now, though, we have research about the benefits of Facebook Fan pages. More specifically, First-of-its-kind research: Facebook fan pages are effective marketing tool, with more detail in One Cafe Chain's Facebook Experiment. Facebook can increase sales, improve word-of-mouth marketing and strengthen customer loyalty particularly among those customers engaged in social networking sites according to the research. Intriguing, don't you think?
As with all social interactions, transparency and authenticity matter, as do truly offering value relevant to your audience consistently over time. Think meaningful, fresh content shared in a range of formats on a regular basis. Think product as well as promotional information. And don't forget to monitor and be ready to interact, acknowledge, welcome and respond.
Social media for retailers: Focus on Facebook offers additional perspective, including "validation that social media is a viable marketing strategy when we understand what our customers want and know which social media platforms they frequent." Increasingly, that platform is Facebook.
The best way, though, to benefit from Facebook and other social networking platforms is to "find out from your customers what they want... what social media sites they frequent...." and what they want. Then, deliver it to them where they are.
What benefits have you noticed as a result of your Facebook Fan page interactions? Which Facebook Fan page examples have you come across that do the best job interacting and connecting with fans?
PS: Another benefit: Facebook Fan pages are search engine searchable in real time....
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