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Ensuring A Successful Corporate Facebook Presence

Not surprisingly, it's difficult to find a large brand that isn't at least thinking about how it can participate in social networking phenom Facebook. With over 400 million members, Facebook teases with an audience that is nearly four times greater than that of the Super Bowl... every day. Unfortunately, many brands are finding that there is a big difference between setting up a fan page and creating a meaningful presence that attracts real customer engagement.

The single biggest point of failure according to my colleague, Kevin Tate, principal of StepChange, is an unwillingness to follow the four golden rules of creating a successful Facebook presence. Kevin knows a thing or two about this topic, as he has worked with nearly 100 brands to create meaningful Facebook presences in a world where many have failed.

The four golden rules of creating a successful Facebook presence are fairly straightforward, but to rush straight to stage four is where companies typically fall down.

1. Strategy - Before you start building, there are a few things to think about. For instance, who do you want to talk to? What do you want to talk to them about? What do you want them to do? Figuring these questions out up front will help ensure a successful step two.

2. Presence - With most companies, creating a solid presence requires creating one or more fan pages with several tabs. This is the "getting the house in order" step. Presence can be a difficult step, as this step requires patience while you build your following.

3. Activation - This is the "what do you want them to do" part. A brand can have all the fans on Facebook, but what's the value of a fan just sitting there? Activation is the "what do you want them to do" portion of building a fan page. Real value is when a fan is doing something for you outside of being just another follower.

4. Amplification - This is more of an outcome than a stage, but if you have the right presence and you've done your activation, amplification should allow you to tap your Facebook presence to amplify or build on current campaigns, in-store promotions and other marketing activities.

A good example of a company that has done a great job building out its Facebook presence, with a little over 1.1 million fans, is Dunkin' Donuts. The company has a "fan of the week," where it highlights that fan in its profile picture. In addition, fans celebrate promotions that are going on in the different tabs where they can dunk themselves in chocolate, design their own donut (leading to hundreds of thousands of likes and comments by fans) and even upload photos taken in stores or with Dunkin' Donuts products.

Unfortunately, for every Dunkin' Donuts, there are fifty other brands that have failed to lead with a strategy or even create a meaningful presence on Facebook, but instead have gone right to trying to "activate" their customers. Some will eventually figure out a way to engage with the 400 million-plus members of this increasingly popular site, while others will abandon their efforts and just assume that Facebook "isn't for them."

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6 comments about "Ensuring A Successful Corporate Facebook Presence".
  1. Chris Mcardle from TARGUSinfo , March 22, 2010 at 7:55 a.m.

    Great article Aaron. Will forward along.

  2. Andrew Ettinger , March 22, 2010 at 9:20 a.m.

    I agree that Facebook is an important platform but I don't think you can equate its daily audience with the Super Bowl viewership. With the Super Bowl those people were all watching the same commercials. On the other hand, Facebook's audience is vastly more fragmented making true reach much harder to achieve- even if the POTENTIAL audience is as large or larger. But still a really good article.

  3. Steve Harper , March 23, 2010 at 4:51 p.m.

    Outstanding article Aaron. Will be sending this out to my Twitter followers right now.

  4. Chris Ripper , March 24, 2010 at 10:11 a.m.

    Great points. Depending on the core demographic of the business, it makes sense to use Facebook ads. They let you pinpoint your audience by interests, groups, marital status, education level, gender, location and a lot more. All of this is dependent those who filled out their entire profile when signing up initially (or updating it), but you can play around with this, without actually placing an ad. It's also incredibly affordable compared to most traditional PPC campaigns.

  5. Aaron Strout from Powered , March 31, 2010 at 10:33 a.m.

    Chris R. - we agree. Great Facebook presence (with an active fan base) can always benefit from the amplification a Facebook ad campaign brings to the table.

    Steve - glad you liked it and thank you for sharing with your network!

    Andrew - believe it or not, I totally agree with you. I was only making the point that one of the reason so many marketers are excited about Facebook (vs. other social presences) is that it's got a huge audience built in. Unfortunately, many of them want to treat their Facebook Fanpage like it's a Superbowl ad which is not a great approach.

    Chris M. - thanks brother. I always enjoy knowing that you're reading my stuff.

  6. Judy Bellem , April 8, 2010 at 1:22 p.m.

    This is so good Aaron that I've done a second retweet since your first posting. @ChrisRipper makes a strong point, too, in his comparison between Facebook targeted ads and PPC - Facebook is much less expensive.