According to a recent Lab24 infographic published on mashable.com¹, 87% of Facebook users “like” brands. Out of this 87%, 82% say Facebook is a good place to connect with brands and 50% state that Facebook is more useful than the brand’s website. The most common drivers for liking a brand on Facebook are to get promotions/ discounts (34%) and free giveaways (21%)¹. However users also “dislike” brands for receiving too many posts, stopping to like the brand or having a bad customer experience.
So, how should your company design and maintain its Facebook fan page?
This is the second of a five-part series detailing how to best design your social media sites. In the first part we explained why your company should be present in social media.
- Twitter (Part III)
- Pinterest (Part IV)
- YouTube (Part V)
- Measuring social media success (Part VI)
How to design your brand’s fan page
Each Facebook fan page can be broken down into four parts, namely cover & profile picture, about section, categories, and posts.
a) Cover and profile picture
In most cases the profile picture shows the company’s logo. In some cases it is well-integrated into the cover photo (see ConAgra and P&G) while others seem to be forced in (i.e. Pepsi and Coca-Cola).
Moreover, the cover photo should communicate the brand on a visual basis. This can be achieved by functional (see Kraft Foods) or aspirational pictures (i.e. Pepsi).
Yet, the best cover photo seems to be Wal-Mart‘s as it communicates an actual promotion while fostering an emotional bond with its fans using photos of children in funny Halloween costumes.
b) About section
The about section should be used to communicate in one single sentence your brand’s mission (i.e. P&G´s “Touching lives, improving life.”). Alternatively, it can explain the purpose of the Facebook fan page (see Kraft Foods).
However, it should not be longer than the content box permits (see ConAgra) as fans are unlikely to further investigate the about section. Also, Pepsi´s “Pepsi – | Facebook” is little appealing and communicates nothing.
c) Timeline apps
Timeline apps are the tabs below the cover photo working similar as folders. Most Facebook fan pages share four common apps, namely “Likes“, “Photos“, “Videos“, “Events“. The “Likes” app serves as a kind of testimonial to users on how popular your page is. “Photos“, “Videos“, and “Events” are most often used for PR purposes depicting fans participating in some corporate event.
Yet, the real power of timeline apps lies in promoting less generic tabs with a clear call to action. Take for example Wal-Mart’s “Meal Solution” app. The site promotes a new recipe every day and users are invited to comment. Ingredients for the easy-to-prepare meals can be added to a virtual shopping list and users can access a store locator to find the nearest Wal-Mart store.
In order to achieve the highest impact, a brand should evaluate which apps to place first as only four tabs are visible. For the remaining apps, users have to click on the “show more” button.
Moreover, it is possible to direct users directly to these apps by publishing their link on other websites or social media platforms thus forwarding users to the very topic they are interesting in.
d) Post section
The post section of a Facebook fan page is where most of the communication takes place. Brands engage in a two-way conversations and are advised to encourage user participation, the very essence of social media. But what if users post negative comments? There are basically three forms of intervention:
i) Do nothing and ignore the comment – It is common in social media to also receive negative feedback and a fan page with only enthusiastic comments is little credible. Hence, if the post is a statement within acceptable limits, brands are advised to just ignore it to not damage their credibility. For how this can go wrong, review Nestlé’s reaction to a negative post and the outrage it created.
ii) Correct wrong information – However, if somebody publishes incorrect information about your product (i.e. nutritional information) brands are advised to provide the correct information immediately to avoid rumours and myths from spreading. Consult our post “How To Become The World’s Most Social Brand – Gatorade’s Mission Control” to see how Gatorade deals with this problem.
iii) Delete post – For extreme posts which contain offensive language or conflict with ethical guidelines (i.e. discrimination of minorities), brands are advised to delete a post. Yet, it might be best to post a justification to provide clarification and maintain the company’s credibility.
With respect to the amount of posts to publish and the perfect timing, it is advised to post every second day at morning (8am) or in the evening (6pm)². Too frequent positing was proven to negatively affect a brand’s fan page¹.
Posts should be carefully analyzed using Facebook’s built-in tools to detect patterns among the most popular posts. This way a brand can optimize their communication with fans and adapt timeline apps and communication in other social media accordingly.
Facebook fan pages require a different approach than regular websites do. Social media is about communication and hence a fan page can only flourish with the input of users.
Yet, companies have to eventually use the platform to create tangible results. These can be improvements to brand indicators but also increased sales. In our examples presented in this article, Wal-Mart stood out for creating both a platform for communication and commercial ends while fostering communication and strengthening their brand image.
Can your fan page compete with Wal-Marts?
In our next post we will have a closer look at Twitter.
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