It’s no secret that an increasing number of companies are jumping on the social media bandwagon. Majority of brands are no doubt continuing to explore the opportunities available via social media in general and Facebook in particular. Much has been discussed in the blogosphere about Facebook fan pages, especially now that detailed fan page statistics are available on AllFacebook (The Unofficial Facebook Resource). We regularly come across brand marketing teams which wants to know how to make their social media presence a successful. And we keep telling them that social media is like building conversations and to do that you need to have some well thought content strategy in place. But the most important part is how do you keep focus on people instead of focus on your content.
There are two important thing that as a brand manager you need to keep into consideration:
- Most social platforms are including rich user profiles, to shift the focus towards people
- Content-centric platforms should build deep integration with people-centric platforms
If we look at the present popular social media networks:
If we look at all major brands on Facebook they are doing certain things right –
- They optimize their presence on social network by choosing the right social object (As humans we like to socialize but in order to socialize, we need a reason to get together. Social objects provide that reason. In certain cases brand itself serves as social object and in certain cases brands need something else to make two people connect. This Social object brings together “like minded” people with similar lifestyle, cause or passion).
- They run tactical campaigns to keep people engaged and provide them reason to come back or move from one specific level to next level on ladder of engagement
- Uses Social ad’s to get more people on its network
- Run large strategic campaigns with well defined objectives to move people from consume content, curate content, create content, connect with others, collaborate with others, try offering, purchase offering, evangelize offering.
Most popular brands on Facebook are doing this right. To understand more one needs to look closely at some of these brands to understand what works for them.
Mountain dew’s over-the-top approach to advertising and marketing is effective, and they’ve brought that same feel to their Facebook fan page. The page is full of fun videos, photos, and links for interacting with the Dew brand. More than just serving as a hub for Dew media, the page’s mission explicitly calls on fans to get in on the action:
Red Bull brand serves as the power supply of the “young and the restless.” Add incredibly entertaining and interactive Facebook fan page to the list of comparisons one could draw. The page doesn’t even waste precious space with lengthy and often boring details of the company’s mission and foundations, leaving a brief company description at the very bottom of the page. Fans can then focus on watching rad videos, playing ridiculously addicting games like Red Bull Soapbox Race, and listen to more drunkish ramblings. It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s what a fan page should be – tailored to the target audience’s wants and needs.
The fan page for popular potato chip brand Pringles stands out mostly for its great use of video. While Pringles has created an inviting laid back tone, and managed to engage fan via reviews, discussions, and original interactive games, the most notable aspect of the page is definitely their use of video. Pringles has recognized that its audience on Facebook reacts well to comedy and have used their fan page to catalyze the spread of a set of videos that certainly have the potential for virality. The videos are low budget productions with little editing or props depicting people singing goofy songs. It’s not much, but Pringles clearly knows its demographic, and the way Facebook works. By distributing the videos on their fan page, they’ve given users the chance to spread the Pringles brand to their friends without resorting to paid ad placements, which is exactly what thousands of people have done by “liking” the videos, an action which is then repeated in the newsfeeds of their friends and can potentially attract new people to the Pringles fan page.
The Coca-Cola fan page looks basic at first glance, but upon closer inspection it is really a testament to the brand’s commitment to user participation. First, Coca-Cola has taken the unorthodox step of displaying user created content in their main page Wall feed by default, something that most brands shy away from. That means that the page is really powered by user generated content, good and bad. That’s a bold move for Coca-Cola, but one that really demonstrates their interest in getting fans involved with the brand.
Another way that Coca-Cola stands out, is their approach to photo albums. Many companies simply incorporate an album of product pictures and call it a day, but Facebook offers companies a chance to get creative with photos, and Coca-Cola realized that. They have a number of albums showing off the product, workers at the company, photos of Coke fans, pictures of Coke products from all around the world, and pictures of old Coke nostalgia. Coke knows that their brand is an icon and people don’t just interact with their product by drinking it — they actually collect it. Their photo albums reflect that.
Then its toped up with the awesome story of how the page came to be. The page was originally created by two fans who just loved Coke. Coca-Cola found the page, and rather than trying to buy it or create another “official” page, they rewarded the two fans and worked with them to continue building the page and representing the brand. By empowering their existing fans, rather than trying to marginalize, shove aside, or steam roll them, Coca-Cola has been able to build on the connections that were already established with fans on Facebook before they even arrived in an official capacity.
The page incorporates great videos, varied content, and has active engagement with the fans. But what makes it truly exceptional, is its use of status updates.
Status updates are an important aspect of any fan page because they provide two-way communication between company and fan, while keeping the page fresh with new content and information, which gives fans a reason to return. So many companies struggle to understand how best to utilize these updates and either don’t use them at all, update solely about product announcements, or update so often users become overwhelmed and the updates turn into so much noise. Starbucks, on the other hand, has established a good frequency of updates, sharing something new every couple of days. The tone of each update is informative and casual, and even their product updates are kept varied enough to remain interesting, for example, by offering up reviews of new music or books for sale in their cafes. As a result, the quality status update content has led to a very engaged fan base, with every update receiving thousands of comments.
The Starbucks Facebook fan page is a great example of how a company can still engage fans without the use of flashy apps, and instead simply focusing on quality content.