Use Facebook to raise your company profile

Practically all companies, brands, products and personalities can benefit from a Facebook promotions or fan page that furthers their cause (commercial or non-profit) or raises their profile.

The good news is that setting up a basic foundational Facebook page is simple and free. Facebook makes it easy for even the most technologically challenged person or cash-strapped small business to enter social media.

Among the free functionality available to micro businesses is the following:

* An events application allowing users to create events as well as invite people to the events

* A newsletter application with subscription tool

* Photo galleries and

* RSS feeds which allows you to aggregate content to your Facebook page from your website or blog

Beyond the foundation page

Beyond this, however, you will need a social media budget, to hire specialist development skills for the applications that maximise the brand engagement benefits of social, and the manpower to manage your Facebook presence and monitor its effectiveness.

Content resources

One of the most important steps to building a successful Facebook page is having a content strategy. You need to know what type of page you need in order to decide the type of content you will post, how often you will update statuses and the tone you want to take.

Once your Facebook page is active and fans begin engaging, you will need to monitor and measure your page. Facebook provides a built in page analytics tool called Facebook insights. This tool monitors your fan demographics as well as gives insight into what type of content works best for your page. Although this may seem simple to measure, you need to find the correct person for the job. Analysis of your Facebook data is crucial for creating a successful page.

Application development resources

Facebook pages are free and somewhat easy to create.  Therefore you have to make sure your page is going to be cutting edge and will stand out from the rest. This can certainly be achieved by developing custom Facebook applications. To decide which ones, go over your objective again. It will be something like “we need to improve our brand” or “we need to showcase our new product”.

Now, think of a creative way to make it happen. It is a competitive market, and brands will need specialist help to stand out. Obviously, budget-conscious micro businesses will make do with free apps, but if your page needs to be different you will need help.

Remember also that the fit has to be pretty perfect – you will probably not be able to reuse apps for every new product, market or brand.

Another useful bit of advice is to offer value to your Facebook fans. Incentives like gift vouchers and discounts are well-worn tactics, but they work. Competitions naturally get a lot of attention. Some brands offer competition winners a special appearance in upcoming advertisements, but it need not even be that high-value. Fans appreciate entertainment value too.

For instance, one vehicle maker offered Facebook fans the ability to ‘custom-design’ their own car (‘paint’ it in their favourite colour), and share it with their friends. The difference will be in the creative spark that sets one campaign apart from another, and that is where professional support comes in handy.

Inspire and delight

It’s important to view your Facebook page for what it is – not just a means to generate thousands of fan memberships, but a great opportunity to actively engage those fans.

Get an experienced development and creative team behind your social media efforts, to help you inspire and delight the people who engage with your brand and spread the word about it.

by Simon Bestbier  RealmDigital Director