So What Does Work?
Promotions and Consistent, Lightweight Engagement
Make sure your fans get something in return for liking your page with promotions likes offers for fans that they can easily redeem. The more lucrative the deals offer, the more sharing with friends with happen. Fans want things like exclusive products/services, drastically discounted prices akin to Groupon type deals, and early notification and registration for upcoming events, ideally exclusive to fans. Promotions should make the fan feel like they are a brand insider, not just a standard consumer.
A big secret of Facebook marketing is that it is easy and cheap to drive promotions using ads targeted only at your fans that link to landing tabs that deliver the offer and encourage fans to share to their newsfeed.
A brand on Facebook should be like a casual friend or neighbor and not try to suck people into heavy levels of interaction. What do you do with a friend? Comment on their photos, like their status, vote on their outfit. These types of interactions take seconds, not minutes, and definitely not hours.
A brand on Facebook should offer their users regularly updated, simple to interact with engagement features. Each of the engagement apps should be fully branded, and run in a separate tab with traffic driven from wall posts, newsfeed and Facebook ad units to increase engagement. Start with a personality quiz. Then two weeks later put up a poll. Then try a trivia app. For special events, put up a gifting app for Valentine’s Day, or for the holiday season, a holiday song card.
Some brands, like media properties and well-known consumer brands, get an immediate fan base for this type of lightweight engagement. For the rest, building a fan base on Facebook is no different than building a mailing list in the previous generation of the Internet. It takes consistent engagement, and builds over time.
Methods to accelerate growth include tying Facebook ad campaigns with engagement apps and driving traffic from the homepage. The apps should still be lightweight and fun, with the conversion goal of getting the user to like the brand.
The point is to regularly put up new, fresh engagement features that are easy and fun for users to interact with, that they will want to post to their wall and share with their friends. Then users will interact with your brand just like they interact with their friends on Facebook!
First, deep campaigns don’t work. Digital agencies love deep, expensive campaigns on Facebook, with tons of pages, interaction, and art. It fits in with how agencies build microsites and websites, and justifies the $100,000-plus price tag that they like to charge. Examples include lightweight games, prediction contests, treasure hunts where you include friends, and such. Unfortunately for agencies and the brands that drop a lot of cash, Facebook users decidedly don’t like deep campaigns.
Facebook users are very sophisticated, and there is no way a single campaign is going to compete on game mechanics with CityVille. If you want to build CityVille, it might work. But, even Netflix pulled their Facebook app. You’re better off putting up a bunch of funny videos from around the world and leave it at that.