Why do some pages make success look easy, while other pages fail to make an impact?
Stand Out to Gain Attention
Imagine being in the shoes of a typical Facebook user. They’ve got a ton of information to look at, a constant stream of information that they probably don’t care about and a network of people that they know for different reasons.
Facebook users are not going to care about a page unless it earns their attention. This is achieved by breaking out of the consistent, traditional page and doing something that attracts attention. It’s hard to generalize this aspect of page design other than emphasizing that generalized pages are mediocre pages. Maybe they’ll succeed, maybe they won’t, but a stand-out page that demands an immediate response will always be the king of any market. Passive pages that don’t stand out are transient and easily forgotten.
Use an Optimized Landing Page
Landing pages on Facebook can be tailored in a ton of different ways. A page that is optimized to convert new users into strong traffic is best used for a landing page, while a more functional page is better for the return-traffic experience.
This is nothing new. The idea of appealing to a demographic is a fundamental tenant of marketing. Optimizing a landing page is simply appealing to the “new traffic” demographic while simultaneously maintaining a functional page for the “return traffic” demographic.
Immediately Offer Value
The easiest way to snag and convert traffic is to offer them an incentive for doing so. Pages that have nothing to give to a person are metaphorical Facebook vampires. Vampires don’t care about their networking relationships; they care about blood. A Facebook page that obviously wants something out of people while offering nothing in return is the same thing as a vampire. Would the average person run away from a vampire or give it their email address?
Use Prominent Visuals
People like nice, clearly visible pictures. A 100×100, low-quality .bmp file is not going to convert as well as a crisp, clear .png file that is easy to see and looks professional. The comparison between a .bmp and .png given here is pretty extreme, but it supports the idea that bigger and clearer are better. There’s a point where an image can be too large or too clear, but those are entirely related to the viewer’s home experience. An image that’s “too clear” won’t hurt because of its clarity, but rather due to any delay that it causes the viewer due to an increased file size. In the same vein, an image that’s too large is going to conflict with the viewer’s browser or monitor settings.
The idea here is that visuals need to look as big and clear as possible in as many different settings as possible without disrupting the viewing experience.
This is a difficult field to master, but a helpful tip is to just copy the general settings of McDonald’s or Pepsi. Those guys have massive advertising budgets and have already put a ton of work into their online marketing ventures. Copying them is a lot safer than copying some guy that says he made $500,000 last year and wants to explain how to do it for the extra-low price of 47 dollars.
Connect With Fans
There are two possible extremes to networking with a Facebook page fans: connecting with every fan and connecting with zero fans. By working within this box, a clear picture can be drawn that explains the perfect balance of connecting with fans.
A fan is already a solid lead. By networking with these people, tagging them in photos, leaving short messages on their wall or poking them from time to time, a business can make them feel much more “at home” with the company. This improves word of mouth traffic and generally improves the financial output of leads. It’s not always practical to talk to every fan, but getting as many as practically possible is usually the best option.
Offer Free Stuff
A lot of people appreciate free stuff, even if it isn’t that nice. The point is that they won something. Maserati doesn’t need to go giving out a $175,000 Gran Turismo S to build a better relationship with its network, and a small start-up doesn’t need to go giving out their best product to improve their results. Nick-knacks, pictures and creative advertising such as patches and stickers can go a long way to build a person’s loyalty.
Extend Networks as Far as Possible
A Facebook page doesn’t have to stop at Facebook. As long as a network can bring more potential viewers, increase viewer loyalty or improve returns, the network is often worth the small time investment that it takes to develop. Twitter, Flickr or even MySpace can have a positive impact on gains.
Make Fans Feel Appreciated
Whenever a fan does something that supports the business, give them some positive reinforcement. If there’s something that can easily be given away for free, go with that route. Otherwise, be sure to give them a simple “Thank you!” as a token of appreciation. This can develop a much better relationship with fans and ultimately lead to improved performance.
Respect Your Fans
Always respect your fans. Some fans will be old and fat while others might be young and healthy. Being able to recognize that Facebook is a massive social network that plays host to 900 million people is part of building a successful page. Appealing to a broad spectrum of fans will often win out over specifically targeting the generic “college kid” audience, because that market is already saturated, making it harder to stand out. This is why the broad, respectful approach is so powerful.
Facebook is a cruel mistress. A page can very easily fall into the undercurrent of dead and dying pages that lack the above aspects of a successful page. Imagine if every bodybuilder stopped working out when they were sore or every basketball player quit when they missed a shot.
Playing the “Facebook game” is about working with almost a billion people and finding out what they like. It’s fascinating. A hundred years ago, this kind of opportunity would have been unfathomable. This realization should fuel relentlessness and drive. Quitters never win and winners never quit.