There are several websites worthy of a social media blog post, which include Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr etc. But by far the most popular is the digital growth-bag that is Facebook.
Facebook hit the whopping 500 million user milestone in July 2010 and is currently involved in a metaphorical fist-fight with Google for the title of King of the Internet. Although, Social marketing and SEO were initially separate entities, they now often come merged as part of a successful online marketing campaign. It is the fan pages (rather than annoying inbox spamming groups) that are the most effective marketing tool for businesses on Facebook.
While facebook.com features “nofollow” links, which means links featured on Facebook will not benefit your Google positioning, a fan page acts as a daily reminder about your brand which can lead to large numbers of traffic visiting the site. However, both Bing and Google have confirmed that links shared through Twitter and Facebook DO actually have a direct impact on rankings (despite the aforementioned “nofollow”) , so do need to be seriously considered by businesses and SEOers everywhere.
But what makes a good fan page? Regular updates? Debates? Interesting links? Possibly all of these, but the real key to success on Facebook is basically to encourage fan participation and offer a good reason for joining the page. Asking questions and opinions is a good starting point. For example, asking your fans about an image or YouTube video is likely to lead to a response and establish a bond between brand and consumer that is lacking from your more impersonal main website. Also a page featuring debate and information that ISN’T featured on the main website gives a reason for a visitor to click on that all-important ‘Like’ button.
However, the best way we have found to encourage people to join fan pages is by dangling a juicy carrot…a competition. We launched a Facebook campaign for one of our clients, Aab – a leading Islamic fashion brand selling designer abayas and hijabs, which brought in over 600 new fans in a couple of weeks.
We managed to do this by launching a ‘Name Our Hijab’ competition that involved fans sending in a name for a new Hijab being launched by Aab (with the motive of the winner receiving the Hijab and also a £84.99 Abaya). The fire was fuelled with press releases, contacting bloggers, and posts on Twitter with ‘hastags’ (#hijabs) that would be seen by the target audience. The best names were then placed in a Facebook poll that could only be entered by joining the fan page. The response on Facebook was phenomenal! In addition to this a number of quality backlinks were generated by leading Islamic fashion blogs posting about the competition to their readers.
A campaign that gets your target audience scrambling to join your Facebook fan page will cause you to become a bigger fan of Facebook than your legions of new Facebook fans.