Facebook Brings Fans into Focus


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As brands and personalities race to establish online communities and host meaningful conversations in Social Media, Facebook continues to pave the roads that connect them.

If your customers, prospects, and the peers who influence them are active in Facebook, Facebook Fan Pages are then not a question of if, but when and how they’re implemented and cultivated.

Many brands and personalities underestimate the value and reach of social networking, instead opting to drive traffic and activity back to the primary dot com (brand home page).  The problem, usually, forces people to traverse an all too familiar path from an interactive and dynamic social ecosystem to a static dead end. We assume people will find their own way instead of channeling the experience and also instilling and shaping strategic perception.

Effectively engaging with online influencers and stakeholders requires a new methodology that embraces the reality that Web sites are slowly losing favor as ritual destinations. To connect with those defining the landscape for brands outside of the brand domain, we simply have to look, listen, and learn. At the very least, we now need to also engage where engagement transpires.

For many, Facebook and Twitter represent the “conversation.” As Facebook currently boasts just over 350 million active users with Twitter currently hosting somewhere between 10-20 million, Facebook is practically prescribed.

It’s not as simple as creating a page and using it as an extended channel to push propaganda, press releases, commercials or one-sided rhetoric however. Creating a presence requires a proactive invitation process and also an active and dedicated program for cultivating participation. It’s a balance of curation, recognition, and conversation. It’s our job to give them a reason to not only return, but also invite others directly and indirectly through updates that reverberate across their social graph.

To bridge the social realm with the static dot com presence, Facebook recently introduced a feature that made fan pages portable – where site admins can host a lite version of the page directly on the brand web site.

Here are a couple of examples of the Widget placed within a branded Web site:

Lance Armstrong

BlackBerry

Now, Facebook is introducing the ability to more effectively reach specific communities of people to share targeted content – without saturating the greater community with irrelevant information.

Brands can now focus posts, links, photos, and videos to fans based on location and language. A post that is published to Facebook users in a specific location or language will only be visible to those users.

(Images sourced from Inside Facebook)

Some examples in Fan Pages include:

Global brands: Starbucks, who has over 5MM Fans across the world, may want to talk about a new drink currently only available in the U.K.

Musicians & Celebrities: The Foo Fighters may want to announce to fans in California that new tour dates have been added across the state.

Local: Red Mango may want to let fans in Palo Alto, California know that a new frozen yogurt shop is opening locally.

Celebrities: Roger Federer may want to separately thank his English-speaking and French-speaking fans in their respective languages.

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  • http://ubermarketing.wordpress.com Akash Sharma

    Hi Brian, Great Thoughts again.

    I remember watching a video from Brand Republic in which they have surveyed few people on what makes them join fan pages.Most of them said that if we aren't obsessed about a brand there is no point following it, some also mentioned that they were not satisfied on how some brands were using fan pages by doing promotions and presenting them with a lot of ads.
    I think Facebook fan pages would be of great use for brands if they personalize them, for eg. if someone is a Porsche Boxter fan and has joined the main Porsche fan page, his page should be customized with Boxter stuff not all of there cars.This can be something to talk about and share with friends, there are many such things which can be done to add to the productivity of these fan pages.
    According to you what should be the best use of a fan page ?

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Akash, this is a very interesting discussion. I agree that fan pages should focus on what it is a consumer can truly “fan” and I'm not sure it's rooted in simple conversations. Recognition and rewards are also part of the process…I think Facebook has a bit to work on in the area of increased customization and simplification to entice new fans and hold on to existing members.

    • http://ubermarketing.wordpress.com Akash Sharma

      Rightly said Brian, in the future I think Facebook will start taking these steps as community is just not based on conversations as you mentioned, brands have to go that extra mile in sharing there love for the people who are ready to provide them free human advertisement and there would be no better place then Facebook due the kind of numbers it boasts.

    • http://www.sunjewelry.com/engagement-rings.html Engagement Rings

      really very true.

  • alejandrorecio

    The need for social media management is becoming essential, great brands and artists need to start using a more direct channel for their fans and clients. An organized campaign focused on social media and conversations between real people is what will differentiate and position those products in the top of heart.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Well said…

  • bkcox

    After using both Fan pages and Personal pages, I'd almost instruct a client to create a Personal page for their company. A Personal page allows you to interact with 'Friends' (as opposed to Fans) the exact same way you would with a Fan Page. Also with a Personal page you can proactively try and gain more 'Friends', something you really cannot do with just a Fan page.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      I have to say that this is a recommendation I've made to Facebook.The functionality of a profile page is so much more engaging and interactive. The threshold limit of 5k is something that I too am currently struggling with. On the fan page, it's just not the same…but in order to grow, I had to switch over.

  • http://www.gennextmedia.com/chris-marentis Chris Marentis

    Really good post and discussion here. Seems we all agree we are at the beginning stages of this thing called social media marketing. Facebook and other social media sites are evoloving quickly to address the points raised here. The issue is being in the game (meaning experimenting with these new platforms now).

    When I first started working in the Internet I was at AOL in '95 and we started to think about advertising. Advertising didn't really exist on the Internet until around '96-'97 in earnest. I remember brands asking us why anyone would want to advertise on the Internet with all the limitations. New brands like Amazon came along and were innovators in the new medium and won big. This has happened in history before. When radio was introduced, P&G really exploded b/c they dialed in the way to use it before other competing (and larger) brands.

    Those of us in the forum are on the right side of this opportunity. Wishing you all a great 2010!

  • http://pop-pr.blogspot.com Jeremy Pepper

    Wasn't this announced months ago?

  • secretsushi

    Brian, there are quite a number of seemingly hidden features like the regional and language posts. One of the most recent and useful features added to Fan Pages is the ability to tweet fan page wall posts out to Twitter. In most cases the content shared on your fan page wall is appropriate to simultaneously share on Twitter as is.

  • http://zaneology.com zaneology

    Your posts always make me want to talk a lot (about it!) but then speechless at the same time (because they are so on point to me!).

    Love that new logo.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Thank you so much!

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  • http://www.facebookster.com/ Facebook Applications

    Yes by the help of customize option we can easily target the desired audience. Facebook Fan pages are really a great way to promote brands. In very less times pages become the most powerful tool of facebook. Thanks for sharing info :)

  • WatsonRodriguez

    I agree with Akash, It's a great idea. And facebook pages are the pages from where brands can have lot of promotion and many clients with the vital information but they have to personalize..
    location villa bali

  • http://www.facebookster.com/ Facebook Applications

    Yes by the help of customize option we can easily target the desired audience. Facebook Fan pages are really a great way to promote brands. In very less times pages become the most powerful tool of facebook. Thanks for sharing info :)

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  • http://interchanges.com/ Nelson Bruton

    Brian,

    2 Questions for you.

    1. Do you feel it is good for Brands to post content on their FB fan pages that reflects the personalities working at that company? (even if it is not business related)

    2. What are your thoughts on re-posting other's content on a brand's FB fan page?

    I love reading your posts. Very informative.

    -Nelson

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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