A couple of months ago, Facebook announced that it was sending 60 million mobile users a month to apps and games with Facebook Platform, which allows users who spot app-generated content in their news feeds to tap a link and go straight to the appropriate native or web app. The figure was a big deal, given that the service had only been available since October, 2011. Well, Facebook has posted some new numbers showing that figure increasing to 160 million in the last month; nearly tripling in a little over two months. Growth in the total number of mobile visits was the same story — up to 1.1 billion, from 320 million in late February. While social discovery for native apps was only available on iOS at launch, it was added to the Android client for the first time last week, so we can expect another big bump in the number of users in the next couple of months.
Having been out networking a fair bit recently, it has amazed me how many enquiries we’ve had for Facebook pages. We are of course aware how valuable they can be for business which is exactly why we do them, but the shift from traditional Website building work is quite startling.
With this in mind, , I thought I’d share four things that every small business owner should know about promoting their business on Facebook.
1. If you build it they WILL NOT come
I’ve consulted with many small business owners this past year about using Facebook to market their business. Nearly all of them had a perception that I could just build them a custom page and suddenly, customers and prospects would flock to it. It doesn’t happen. If your customers and prospects don’t have a compelling reason to visit your Facebook Page, they won’t do it. The exception would be if your already a well established business and already have thousands of fans. I work predominantly with small businesses, generally they have neither.
Don’t overlook the obvious here, sometimes, the compelling reason is that you asked people to visit and “Like” your page. A good time to do that is right after folks have had a great experience with your product or service.
2. Don’t “Fan-gate” without a carrot
There’s no doubt that “Fan-gating” can work to increase the number of “Likes” for a Facebook Business Page. Having said that, you should only “fan-gate” your page if you are trading something valuable in exchange for a “Like”. Ok, does this sound funny and strange to you? Here’s a quick explanation of “Fan-gating”:
Fan-gating is when you set up your Facebook Business Page so that only people who “Like” the page can see and/or access the important information on the page. The important information could be a voucher, a sweepstakes entry form, or maybe some sort of digital gift like a whitepaper or helpful guide.
All too often I get the request to “fan-gate” every single tab on a client’s Facebook page. Even the ones that have their product catalog and encourage the visitor’s to order stuff from them.
DON’T DO THAT. Only require people “Like” your page if you are offering something of value to them in exchange.
3. Doing a Sweepstakes? Go BIG or Go HOME!
So far this year, I’ve seen sweepstakes that gathered businesses thousands of “Likes” and I’ve seen some that generated just a handful. Here’s my observation on the difference. The successful sweepstakes embraced the “Go BIG or Go HOME” philosophy. Some gave away their own products, some gave away iPhones and other highly sought after and popular stuff. The less successful ones were the ones that didn’t have a reality about what people would trade a “Like” for such as a small percentage off of an already low priced item.
One more note about running a Sweepstakes on Facebook… think of this as a way of saying Thanks to your existing fans, not as a way of increasing your “Likes”. What you really want to happen is to have your existing fans enter the sweepstakes and then share it with their friends.
4. QUALITY is better than QUANTITY
There are now probably hundreds of “services” available that guarantee you thousands of “Likes” if you’ll just follow their method. The trouble is, the quality of those “Likes” or fans as they used to be called is LOW at best. The misconception is that if you have thousands of “Likes” that you’ll increase your reach so much that overnight your “Likes” will exponentially grow to tens and eventually hundreds of thousands.
Here’s the problem with that, thousands of un-engaged fans don’t help you reach anyone. Why? Because the don’t really “Like” you or your business. They just clicked the button because the carrot was enticing enough.
You want people to “Like” your page on Facebook because of the experience they have had with your product or service; NOT because you allowed them to enter a sweepstakes.
Here’s the bottom line, it’s better to have 50 QUALITY fans, who are engaged and are genuinely fans of your product or service, than to have 5,000 fans who clicked a button but have no idea what your business is about.
So, what’s next?
I hope this gives you some food for thought as it relates to Facebook and your business. There’s no doubt, Facebook is a viable marketing platform for nearly every business. Are you using Facebook to market your business? Have you created a Custom Facebook Page yet? If not, let’s talk.
Earlier today our Founder Ryan was the special guest on the Business Life Show on Future radio presented by Richard Maun and Julie Bishop. Each week they will invite a local business person to pop in to the studio and answer questions about their business life, the show has a weekly business theme and listeners can share their views and respond to the ‘business question’. Richard and Julie will also share local business news
Since Facebook converted personal Profiles to Timelines, the rumor mill has been ongoing with speculation that Business Pages will soon follow suit. I’ve heard from numerous clients users who are worried that Timelines will replace Pages and their custom tabs will cease to function, so I wanted to take some time to dispel these concerns.
Custom tabs serve as an integral piece of the social media puzzle for companies big and small. Companies rely on their custom tabs for gathering user data, generating sales, customer support, and much more. More importantly, companies spend lots of money on Facebook ads to promote their custom tabs. Because custom tabs are the cash cow they are, it’s doubtful that Facebook will get rid of them.
But say Facebook does change things up, and custom tabs are history. Because of the ad revenue they’d be missing, Facebook would be shooting itself in the foot if there wasn’t at least some way for companies to present custom apps to their fans. There would have to be some kind of new Timeline App. If this is the case and monumental changes are coming, it won’t be overnight, and we’ll have time to adapt. Also part of the Facebook Developer policy includes a 90 day window to allow Developers to adapt to platform changes:
“We’ll always announce major Platform changes 90 day prior”
Facebook has gone through numerous overhauls in the past. Tabs used to look like actual tabs across the top of a Page, but Facebook relocated them to just under the main Page image.
No one knows exactly what Facebook is going to do next until there’s an official announcement. But I do know that Facebook will continue to make changes, just as they have in the past. When they do, our team and partners will allow us to adapt, no matter what Facebook throws at us.
When I first heard that the search engine giant would be unveiling a brand new social network I was skeptical. Google experimented with Wave and Buzz which are both now considered dead and nobody really figured out what the purpose of either of those services were. Immediately once Google released Google+ to the public Twitter instantly lit up with tweets from eager people sharing invites and asking for invites. Interacting instantly with other users around the world is the purpose of a social network and there is no network out there that allows such an instant and personal line of communication as you find with Twitter. After a few tweets back and forth with a couple of Google geeks I received my invite and finally had set up my own Google+ account http://gplus.to/ryannesbitt.
My first impression of Google+ was that the layout is overly simplistic and I felt there weren’t many options for searching people outside of your Gmail contact book. The interface looks like a seriously stripped down combination of Facebook and Twitter. Instead of friends or followers Google introduces you to what it calls circles. I would use the words privacy bubbles to describe circles. Each post you can decide which circle to include and ideally you can target a specific circle or multiple circles per post. This is a brilliant and simple feature for publishing to certain circles per post. For those who want to post publicly there is also a public circle which would be comparable to a tweet where any fellow + user can see your feed. So you can see that Google+ is working on combining the features of Facebook and Twitter in one clean and simple package. There is already an iOS app in the app store which is great for posting on the run and surprisingly works a lot better than the native Facebook app. Google is clearly pushing hard to grab users and I think the exclusive invite game plan captured a lot of momentum from the Twitter community a month ago.
Unfortunately, other than the amazing idea of privacy circles there really aren’t many game changing features to be found quite yet. The one thing we can count on is for Google to keep on rolling out integration with Gmail, Reader, Chat, YouTube, Picasa, and other services in order to bait the hook for current Gmail users (all 200 million of them). Google is in a perfect position with it’s popular Android OS, Gmail followers, and the never ending Facebook privacy issues that have a lot of people anxious to try a new flavor of social network. If Google puts it’s best people and developers on this project it can certainly become a serious competitor in the next year or two. I’m rooting for Google+ to do great things and offer some truly game breaking features to social networking for years to come. What do you think?
If you havn’t had a chance to see this video made last year. You really should check it out. The numbers of people and the speed at which Social Media has changed the way we communicate around the world is startling!