If you want to immerse yourself on Facebook, the first and most important step is to set up a Facebook page. Facebook pages represent local businesses, products, brands, companies, artists, bands, public figures, and more (take note that this is different from a Facebook profile, which represents an individual). With pages, you can have fans (while with profiles, you can have friends). Pages are easy to set-up, are customizable, and best of all — free! Pages can have videos, photo albums, Flash pieces, games, discussion boards, and many other things that would help facilitate activity, conversation, and user interaction. In short, pages can help you socialize with the Facebook user, garner brand affinity, and build relationships.
Then there is the usual above-the-line type of advertising opportunities such as the Box ad unit. This is a box ad unit with title, body copy, and image that appears in the left-hand side (in the old Facebook format) or right-hand side (in the new Facebook format). This ad unit may link to a Facebook page or an external Web site. This is a run-of-site placement, meaning it appears all over Facebook and not just on the home page. It offers the same targeting options as the ads mentioned prior, and this type of Facebook ad may also be bought on a CPM or CPC bidding model — which means it does not require spend commitments with an insertion order (IO) as it is managed daily, similar to a Google Adwords account. On the whole I have found that this does attract clicks but on the whole they did not transform to sales in the same way that Google PPC ads do. However – perhaps these ads should be used more to build brand awareness as opposed to garnering actual sales…after all, Facebook is a social network and not a shopping mall.
To me one of the most innovative ways of raising awareness is the use of gifts. “Gifts” is actually a Facebook application that lets users send and receive virtual gifts. New gifts are added everyday; most gifts cost £1 but some are free for users. “Gifting” is a very popular Facebook activity. Once a user receives a gift, the gift is seen on the recipient’s user profile. A gift sponsorship is a one-time sponsorship of a branded gift, which users can give away to their friends for free. The featured gift of the day appears on the home page. Sponsored gifts usually have limited availability, thus adding to the “prestige” of sending a gift or receiving a gift. Even if the gift gets sold out or is no longer available, the gift will still be seen on the receiver’s user profile thus extending the life of the gift and the branding component.
There’s no real ‘right way’ to use Facebook, but there are ways to get the most of out it for leads and sales. Get in touch, we can help.