The Impact of the New Facebook Brand Page
Did you hear the big announcement from Facebook? Apparently, Facebook is rolling out new brand pages. According to reports, the new brand pages will allow companies to better engage their fans via the social utility.
The new format offers consumers a more personalized experience because they can see how their friends have interacted with a brand, says Facebook.
The question I see amongst marketers, though, anytime Facebook makes a change is "How should we react?" or "What do we need to do now?". It's frustrating because Facebook can make adjustments to their website at any time. They really don't give any warning to brands (although this change had happened previously with personal profiles).
Brand managers are always reacting to Facebook changes and looking for answers. There is a better way to handle Facebook and its changes. In fact, there is a way to setup your social media marketing that allows you to be proactive for any changes that happen with social channels. Let's discuss...
Social Media Marketing Strategy
When Facebook (or Twitter, etc.) make changes, the reaction of most brand managers is to contact their designer to work on new images. The new shiny object on the Facebook brand page is the Cover Image. You can see what Macy's rolled out on their page. The Cover Photo is pretty nice. It looks cool.
You've probably seen them on your friend's pages. But what impact will this really have for brands? Profile photos and even the Photo Stream have been cool new features as well. They allow brands to do fun things and to show off the personality of the brand. This can work well to further establish what a brand stands for as interpreted by the target audience on Facebook. But there is not much more value than that added by putting up a neat Cover Photo on Facebook. If you can have your designer do something cool with the Cover Photo it is probably worth a little bit of time. I do mean just a little amount of time.
The biggest issue here is how your company handles social media. Channels like Facebook and Twitter are great. They have huge amounts of people using their sites each day. Some of these potential people might be your target customers. The goal of your social media strategy should be to gain the attention of these target customers and get them to be aware of your brand and eventually become customers. This often requires you to get your target customers that are using Facebook to eventually come away from Facebook to visit your website. This is an important part of social media that can often be overlooked.
So many people are focusing on sending people to their Facebook pages. You see emails promoting Facebook pages. You see TV commercials promoting Facebook pages. I just don't get it. Why send someone to your Facebook page when you could just send them to your own website? There is nothing on Facebook that isn't on your own website. In fact, there are more limitations on Facebook than there are on your own website.
Your designer's time is probably better spent working on your own properties. Focus on how you can make the people visiting your site happier and more willing to purchase. The key to understand with Facebook is that of discovery. People on Facebook do discovery things. They see their friends liking things. They see photos. They see articles and such in the News Feed. I think eventually this will have some value for companies. I think local companies could have a future with Facebook.
I think companies that have target customers in the age range of 20 to 30 might have some opportunity with Facebook. Outside of those two areas I just don't see the effort paying off with Facebook at this point. I'm all for experimenting with the platform, but that's about it. There is nothing wrong with experimenting. That's what all these brands are doing including Macy's. Heck, even Facebook itself is experimenting with brands. That's what they're doing with this new brand page. It's all an experiment to see if there is a way to make money.
To summarize, when Facebook makes a change like this you don't need to make sure your web designer creates an image immediately. You can take your time to assess the change and see if there is opportunity for your company. Time is probably better spent focusing on your own properties. If you satisfy your customers they will spread the word. Most word of mouth happens offline anyway.
Make your customers happy (on your website too) and they'll help other people discover your brand. It's an old strategy, but one that works.