June 2009
Copywriting Curiosities
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411 on Facebook's Company Fan Pages
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Dear Robyn,

It has more than 200 million active users, and more than half of these users log onto it at least once a day. And the fastest growing demographic? 35+ (yes, which I fall into).

What am I talking about? Facebook, of course! It's my favorite form of procrastination and source of inspiration (and occasional frustration when I lose at Scrabble).

But it's important to keep this in mind: Facebook isn't just for reconnecting with that guy or girl you were crushing on in high school or to find out which Golden Girl you channel. Facebook means business.

How so? Read on.

Enjoy the article, and I'll see you on the Book!
The 411 on Facebook's Company Fan Pages 
The growing popularity of social media, like Twitter and Facebook, is exciting for businesses because it creates a new way to directly interact with customers and prospects.

For example, you might have heard about the Papa John's fan page on Facebook and how last November, right before Thanksgiving, it ran a free pizza promotion for anyone who became a fan. Papa John's effectively uses its fan page and Facebook presence--and receives lots of free press to boot.

I thought it would be a good idea to give you a deeper understanding of Facebook fan pages, including how you might use them for your company. I called upon an SEM (search engine marketer) friend and colleague of mine named Lewis Forman, who owns WetNose Marketing. His website is undergoing construction and will be available soon, once the lead dog stops eating the homework.

RB: Is there a difference between a company page and a fan page on Facebook? If yes, explain the difference?

LF: In terms of creating a company or fan page on Facebook, they are the same. The only real difference is that with a company page there would be a greater focus on the core values of the company while a fan page would focus on promoting your company's goods/services/e-commerce etc.

***[Note: for the purpose of the rest of this article, we're going to use "fan page" exclusively, but know that it could mean either fan page or company page]

RB: Why should a company consider creating a fan page?

LF: The use of a fan page would allow a business to cross promote all marketing efforts. This could be something as simple as using the Facebook fan page to promote a blog posting about a service or product that would directly point "fans" to the specific service or product page. Mini promotions could be highlighted and sent out to the "fan base" with special offers exclusive to your company's Facebook fan base.

RB: What "prep" should be done prior to creating the fan page (e.g. does there need to be professional copy, images, etc.)?

LF: First and foremost, determine what you company's goals are with creating the page. Looking for traffic to your site? Promoting your goods or services? Once that's answered, the rest is fairly easy. Pool together all your digital resources, including company logo images and video. Create a word document with a copy/paste of all website content, and choose the most relevant, top-level messages. Have a list of other social media channels that you are using as well. This way you can include your Twitter or Flickr username to cross-market your other social media channels.

RB: How do you go about creating a fan page?

LF: Once you have all your assets together, it's as simple as going to Facebook's fan page creator and clicking through the thorough step-by-step instructions. Facebook has done a fantastic job of making the process extremely pain free.

Following confirmation that you're authorized by your company to create the fan page and signifying what category you'd like to place your company or product in, you'll be brought to your fan page which, if you're already a Facebook user, will look very similar to your personal profile page. Once you're on your page, you can upload your company logo, add company information, include core messages, upload photos, and change settings to your page.

Checking your settings on your company fan page is a very important step before publishing your company fan page for the rest of the world to see. In your settings, you can set who can post things to your wall, edit key portions of your page (important if you have a marketing team who handles most of the page content), and any page restrictions that, for legal reasons, may need to be in place.

Once you have your fan page created and your settings finalized, it's time to show the world what you created by publishing your page. Now your company fan page has been made public and you can begin to build your Facebook fan base.

RB: What are the key "best practices" when creating a fan page?

LF: The biggest pet peeve I have is companies that make their fan page sound completely different from their own website. Remember this is an extension of your website and it should have the same type of messaging and personality.

Try to schedule time to post about your products or services, and, once in a while, provide your fans with something special like 10% off their entire purchase or free shipping. This provides value to your fan base and ensures that your posts that appear on fans' news feeds aren't removed for being labeled as spam.

RB: What are ways to promote your fan page?

LF: The first step is to promote your new fan page on your website via a link and using a Facebook icon on your home page. Here you can directly link website viewers to your Facebook page, where they can instantly become a fan. Have all employees become fans of your page. Once they have, they can then share the page with other people on their friends' list. If your company is using other social media marketing services, cross promote using your company profile. Facebook also allows you to promote your page/site through their new pay advertising feature.

RB: What should you do if someone already created a fan page for your company?

LF: First, don't panic! Take a deep breath and realize that someone likes your company so much that they created a fan page for you. The best example I can give is what Coca Cola did with their customer-created fan page. Key takeaway: Work WITH these creators, don't alienate them. You can always create your own "official" page with a slightly modified name.

Have questions on this or something related to marketing copy? Contact me today

Portions of this article appeared--or will appear--on Blue Acorn's blog. Blue Acorn is an eCommerce consulting company based out of South Carolina.
Bring on summer! See you next month.

Robyn Bradley
E.T. Robbins Productions
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