If you have a corporate Facebook page, here are some tips for making it extra effective…
Treat it Like a Website
Your Facebook profile is a microsite in its own right, so be sure it contains all of the information visitors need in order to understand your brand message, or to purchase your product or service.
Links are a perfectly acceptable way of doing this, so prioritise your main company website and any other social network presence you may have (such as your Twitter account) in your page’s main information.
However, you might also want to add pages to your Facebook profile to provide the information directly; an ‘about us’ page wouldn’t go amiss, and a social network is the ideal place to remind customers about your corporate social responsibility commitments.
You can create new pages as you choose, and have a fair amount of control over which order they show up in on your page’s navigation menus, so experiment until you’ve got a profile that fairly reflects what you’re trying to convey to visitors.
A corporate Facebook profile is an extension of your brand, so be sure that what you post on there is coherent with your overall brand profile.
Use your best-known public-facing logo as your profile image, and add graphical elements where possible elsewhere on the page to help make your corner of Facebook more recognisably ‘yours’.
Write posts and status updates in your company’s usual tone of voice, if you have style guidelines already laid down – and consider drawing up a set of rules if you don’t already have them in place.
Facebook is a social network, so when replying to customer comments and feedback, it might be appropriate to be chattier than you would be elsewhere. But remember to be understanding and sensitive in how you deal with any complaints you receive on a public forum.
Speaking of complaints, the way you handle negative feedback on Facebook says a lot about you to potential customers.
Consumers are savvy these days, and a little negative feedback will not destroy your reputation – but the way you deal with it might.
Be proactive and helpful, even if the complaint seems unfounded – offer to resolve the matter in private, by email or telephone, if you think things could turn sour with the individual in question.
Keep an eye on subsequent mentions of your brand and, again, be proactive about responding to any further negative discussions of your company. Try to remain civil, though, as a ‘cease and desist’ letter from your solicitor can often enflame an issue even further.
If you have the resources, don’t be afraid to actually chat to your followers – this is how you build rapport and create brand ambassadors who will provide positive word-of-mouth among their own social spheres.
Finally, if you launch a competition, remember to respond promptly to anyone asking for clarification of the rules, and make sure you announce the winner where everyone can see their name.
An increasingly common practice among corporate Facebook users is to hide some content behind a ‘like gate’ – this means it is only visible to people who have clicked ‘Like’ on your page.
Be careful about whether you choose to do this. Some individual Facebook users object to seeing ‘You must Like this page…’ on a corporate profile, and web marketers are divided on how ethical it is.
Either way, be sure that you know the rules. If you’re running a prize draw or competition, Facebook expressly forbids using the Like button as the means of entry. So, even if you hide your contest behind a like gate, you’ll need to use another method of collecting entrants’ details.
Facebook was devised as a way for people to keep up with their friends’ activities. For businesses, it serves a similar function, allowing you to share information with your customers.
Keep on top of it, like any social networking presence, and it can provide a powerful means of creating positive sentiment among the people most likely to say good things about your brand – your loyal long-term customers.