Live from Pubcon South: Facebook Optimization and Marketing

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Mar 8, 2011
More Articles by Janet

One session I’ve really been looking forward to at Pubcon South is “Facebook Optimization and Marketing” with the all-star panel of Alison (Driscoll) Zarrella, Jabez LeBret, and Mark Barrera.

Facebook Conversion — The Accelerated Version

First up was Jabez who covered Facebook conversion from your fan page. He shared a statistic that up to 92% of fans never go back to the fan page — the interaction happens on the newsfeed. So you have to make the most of your fan page to capitalize on that opportunity.

His fan page is optimizing (using opt-in for lists) at a rate of 21% — a great rate! First and foremost, don’t take people off of Facebook. But how do you get people off of Facebook already ON to Facebook?

Examine the psychology of Facebook. Facebook doesn’t give you a lot of options for many steps. But, when someone clicks on the “Like” button, they are positively engaging with your brand — making a commitment of sorts. Take advantage of that!

On every page, ask the person to participate. For instance, if they don’t already like you, highlight exactly where the like button is. When they do click like, give them a conversion action immediately.

The first people you want to target are people that share common interests in a network. So target the friends of your fans. One example was a guest blogger contest he ran. In only a few hours, he had over 400 people who wanted to guest blog. He asked them to put out a Facebook status update with the link to a particular page, and told the potential bloggers that the person with the most comments would win.

This was a really fascinating presentation!

The REAL Truth About Facebook

Next up was Mark Barrera, covering the real truth about Facebook and some basic do’s and don’t’s. First, Mark had to state the obvious: Mark Zuckerberg is VERY RICH. (haha!)

He opened with what Facebook IS NOT:

Facebook is NOT your primary website — you need to control your website. It is not a place to push your products or services and it is not a one-way conversation. It’s also not a good place to make an ass of yourself! It’s also not a place to tweet — so don’t auto-send all of your tweets to Facebook.

Facebook is also not intent-driven per se.  Facebook also has not yet reached its full potential. Think about the future — there may be more things to come that you can use in Facebook.

However, Facebook IS:

A great channel to share content. Facebook drives 44% of all online social sharing.

On the Facebook ad side, the CTRs are typically low, but they do have great targeting. Use the ads to promote your brand and to drive more subscribers for your content. He emphasized not to worry too much about low CTR — it’s common on Facebook and if you’re used to PPC CTRs, you might be alarmed by the low CTR in Facebook — but don’t be. It’s typical.

Facebook ads, in Mark’s opinion, do work. You can build fans through giveaways, contests, and usable content. Limit your giveaways in scope to focus on your target audience.

It’s a great place to provide interesting content to users, to let users share your content (so make it easy to share!), and to have a genuine conversation. It is key though to maintain a routine. Mark mentioned SEOMoz’s Whiteboard Friday as an example.

Facebook is also international. About 70% of Facebook users are outside of the US. Also be timezone aware for international users.

Mark also mentioned that Facebook is good for SEO. Once you get 30 fans (or is it 25?), get your custom URL. The links on a fan page CAN be crawled by engines, but headlines are also important.

Facebook is also a great place for fan-only discounts like coupons. It’s a great way to get feedback on your products and a place to find your brand evangelists.

Facebook is powerful. Matrimonial lawyers said that 20% of divorces involve Facebook! And 80% of divorce lawyers said that Facebook is being used as evidence in divorces! Wow!

Frightening, but people spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook each month.

Facebook will evolve. Mark felt that they are a “content farm”, but they had a 2% lift after the Farmer/Panda Google update recently.

Facebook Marketing Lessons

Last but not least was Alison Zarrella who covered Facebook Marketing Lessons. Alison compared Facebook marketing to lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Rule 1: Give them what they want.

Crowdsource your content. Find out what they want, then give it to them. Give fans exclusive deals.

Rule 2: Be predictable.

Pick a pattern — a set idea of what you’re going to do. For instance, coupons are posted on Fridays.

Rule 3: Don’t push — persuade.

Be subtle in social media. Don’t make the hard sell.

Rule 4: Keep spinoffs simple.

Think carefully before you do a spinoff in social media. You don’t want to dilute your brand. For instance, J. Crew has one Facebook page, even though they have many parts to their offering (like kids, womens, mens, etc.). It keeps brand cohesive.

Rule 5: Keep your options open.

Don’t put all of your eggs in the Facebook basket. Cross-promote your content. Have your Facebook page and your website/blog work together.

Rule 6: Go with the flow.

Facebook should be fun — so be fun back! Don’t make it just a copy of your website. Even if you’re a serious company, you can have more fun with it on Facebook.

Rule 7: Imitation is flatter (really).

Keep your cool with copycats.

Rule 8: Know when to let go.

See what is working and what is not. A good example of this is the recent Gap logo conversation. Gap realized that the new logo wasn’t working, so they changed it back to the old version of the logo.

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