Facebook and Twitter are in the business of building social communities and interactive brands, and business is currently booming. Through these social media channels, brands and businesses engage with their target audience at nearly every click-through, profile search, and touchpoint. And potential consumers are letting them in to connect emotionally deeper than ever before.
The traditional lines of consumer-brand relationships have been blurred, erased, and redrawn with online communications. There was once a time when radio spots, television commercials, and magazine print ads were an advertising and marketing tri-force of reach, frequency, and exposure.
Now, the internet is opening new communication channels and creating a new kind of society: an online society built around friendships, fan-hood, and fun. For more information on how to better market your Fan Page, install Facebook Google Analytics, and recommended Drupal Facebook modules, join me after the jump.
Online Society - Friends, Fans, and Fun Friendships
Social media has redefined and extended the meaning of “friend” for more of us than we’d care to admit. Once, a friend was someone who knew your whole family personally, called you on your birthday, and helped you move (I’m not saying that doesn’t still exists, but...).
Now it seems that a “friend” has been watered down, extended to someone you may have known in high school but haven’t spoken to in 15 years. On the other hand, Facebook has also nurtured “long-distance” friendships that may never have grown using a telephone, snail mail, or even traditional email.
Maybe they should have an “acquaintance” section of people you know as well. However, introducing a feudal system to Facebook friendships may be an absolutely horrible idea. What do you think?
Social media has also built more fan clubs and groups than Max Fischer from Rushmore. With just one click, you can “Become a Fan” or “Join a Group” of any and all bands, brands and causes available on Facebook.
From household names like ABC’s LOST, Vice Magazine, and Band of Horses, to charitable and comedic causes like Breast Cancer Awareness, Save Darfur!, and Singing in the Car, you can join nearly any type of club or group you want. And if it’s not available, feel free to create your own.
Check out this “Can this pickle get more fans than Nickleback?” fan page.
Although it seems a bit silly, it is a great way to start a community that humorously enjoys a good pickle more than they would another Nickleback song on the radio. It is also a much better way of saying “I dislike Nickleback with every fiber in my body” fan page.
I doubt they would have gotten as much engagement with people with the latter. In the end, I think that is a fun example of how people came together to form a community, and something I think most of us could agree with.
Facebook Gets Branded - Social Media Optimization is Born
It should come to no one’s surprise at this point in the discussion that there are tons of brands using Facebook for “social media optimization”.
Social media optimization (SMO) is quite literally the use of social media profiles, fan pages, and groups to strategically communicate a brand’s identity and build its online community through engagement with potential consumers.
Here is the Wikipedia Social Media Optimization definition. Q: What is your definition of SMO?
Savvy social media strategies will get your brand popular amongst its peers, but to truly optimize your social media efforts and value, you need to expand your engagement beyond the growing standard. Let’s take a look at three Facebook pages that exceed consumer expectations and expand engagement:
Interacting with The Gap
“Sharing” is an critical component of social media. In fact, if I were to make an acronym of the term social media, I would use it as the ‘s’. Q: What would your acronym for social media be?
The Gap is a perfect example of social media engagement. On The Gap Fan Page, they have a tab for Baby Gap, as seen here:
This splash page is a link to their photo albums where fans can upload pictures of their own babies wearing Baby Gap clothes.
1) Who doesn’t like looking at pictures of cute babies?
2) Who doesn’t like showing people pictures of their cute babies?!
This campaign utilizes the functionality of photo uploads (something built into Facebook) and has brought in tons of user-generated content for Gap products.
Designing with Dell
Some brands are turning their Facebook Fan Pages into a total website experience. Let’s take the Dell Studio page as an example.
It allows you to browse and customize artwork for your new laptop before linking you over to the corporate site to finalize your purchase. You can also share your design with your Facebook friends to get their feedback before you order, all without having to connect another app to your account.
A Social Media Katalyst
Did you know that successful punker, cougar-bait, and wedding photographer, Ashton Kutcher, has his own social media optimization company called Katalyst? Then I bet you didn’t know that their only website is the Katalyst Facebook Fan Page?
This is what the future could look like. Yes, this example may be a bit unfair because they are doing what they do best: social media. But the best way to learn how to do something is to learn from the thought leaders and professional doers.
Google Analytics for Facebook Fan Pages
I happened across some words of wisdom by a web development company in London on how to successfully get all functions of Google Analytics working on Facebook Fan Pages, including: visitor statistics, traffic sources, visitor country, and keyword searches with reporting and maps overlays.
Step 1: Setup a Google Analytics account. If you already have one, create a new site profile. Name it: facebook.com or facebook.com/your-brand-name. Your tracking code will look something like this UA-3121919-3.
Step 2: Create a custom img tag for each individual page you want to track, i.e. - wall, contact forms, services, and products.
Step 3: Add the entire custom img html tag from Step 2 to the bottom of each page that you need to track. After you’re finished, you should be ready to go.
Facebook Drupal Modules
Wouldn’t we all love to have a Drupal website with as much success and social savvy as Facebook? Facebook pages looking like websites and websites looking like Facebook pages... anyone seeing a trend here? Someone in the Drupal community has and created a few modules that you may be interested in using for your Drupal site.
Facebook-style Statuses Module
The Facebook-style Statuses (FBSS) module imitates Twitter and Facebook statuses, where you can express how you feel or what is on your mind. You can also use references, such as the @references and #hashtags, to spread your message to other profiles and mediums.
Facebook-style links Module
One of my favorite components of Facebook is link attachments and submissions. You can choose an appropriate thumbnail to visually intrigue friends and fans, as well as clean up the URL and add your own commentary. Drupal user, publicmind, has created the Facebook-style links (FBSL) module for Drupal.
The FBSL module allows your Drupal site to attach and submit links with thumbnail, title, and description to their status. It is the perfect compliment to the FBSS module, and should be used parallel to each other. While these modules don’t fall under your traditional SEO modules, they are sending social media juice from your site out to the rest of the stream, including Google, to read, index, and spit out in search results. And everyone knows Google loves them some social media pie. (See Google Buzz)
P.S. - I Just Facebooked Your Boss
Social media has ushered in a new online society, where people are nurturing friendships, extending fan-hoods, and finding fun for their real lives. Consumer-brand relationships are being redefined and if you aren’t part of the new definition, then you won’t get a piece of their paycheck.
There are now ways to creatively extend your brand through Facebook while making sure there is some quantitative fodder for the left-brained members of your next meeting. Everyone is getting on board, even your boss. There have been several accounts in the last year or so of someone getting fired for their status update, kicked off their college football team for racial tweets, and ruining personal relationships because of privacy issues. Remember, if you wouldn’t want your boss, coach, or spouse to know what you are doing or saying, don’t do it!
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