Key to Facebook Success? One Word: Integration

Facebook or Twitter? It’s a debate that’s been around awhile now, and really it’s a debate that’s not worth having. Each serves a different role, and the "best" choice depends upon each individual business and that business’ consumers.

Ragan.com recently had a post entitled Are you aware of Facebook’s dirty, little secret? The post makes the point that Twitter gives marketers better tools to better identify prospects, address consumers and close on sales than Facebook. The article also contests that Facebook Pages are essentially scams because brands’ posts fail to reach consumers much of the time, which leads marketers to go one of two routes: purchase advertising to make their Pages work harder or waste their time with Pages that are doomed to fail or at least deliver poor results.

The post makes some good points and raises some strong rationale for making Twitter part of an overall social media marketing strategy, but I wonder about the proposition of Facebook having a “dirty, little secret” when it comes to Pages.

Are Facebook Pages a Scam?

If Pages are a scam, a lot of brands have leveraged this scam successfully.

Facebook Pages aren’t a scam. From Facebook's perspective, they’re intended to lead brands in to purchase more premium options like advertising. Facebook offers a freemium model. It gives brands a certain amount of functionality and additional options to take the free offerings to the next level with premium services.

Facebook Pages are Facebook’s solution for brands that want to stake their claim on Facebook, much like websites are the Internet’s way to allow brands to stake their claim there. Much like a Page, creating a website can be completely free. However, you wouldn’t just create a website and expect people to find it. You have to invest in ads, search optimization and perhaps even design to make the experience more appealing to visitors. Facebook Pages go the same way. Brands may need to invest to get the most out of them if they deem Facebook is a priority.

Facebook Pages aren’t a scam, but they do offer just enough to leave brands wanting more. With more than 700 million users, the hunger for more doesn’t come as a surprise.

Facebook Success Requires an Integrated Approach

Success on Facebook is really three-fold:

  1. Stake Your Claim: Create your brand’s Page with an image, multimedia content (photos, videos), information and custom tabs.
  2. Post Frequently and With Purpose: Develop content for your Page to engage your base. Encourage them to interact by starting with one post per day. The content should be inspired by your brand and be of interest to the consumer. Encourage interaction by asking questions, encouraging “likes” and soliciting comments to show Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm that your content is worthy of being displayed in your Likers’ News Feeds. Otherwise, your content will be hidden.
  3. Spread the Word: It’s great to stake your claim and have killer content, but if no one knows about it, you’re wasting your time. Depending upon what your objectives are, Facebook offers multiple kinds of ads, including Market Place Ads (ads that point to the Page encouraging Likes), Sponsored Stories (ads that show to friends of your Likers), ‘Page Post’ Sponsored Stories (ads that feature your Page’s posts as ads to ensure it makes it to your Liker’s eyeballs) and ‘Page Post Like’ Sponsored Stories (ads that are created when a Liker “likes” one of your posts because your post then displays to that Liker’s friends).

Yes, you can stop at simply creating a Facebook Page, but if you’re ready to take your Facebook presence to the next level, you’ll need to invest. The key is to put everything you can into each piece: the Page, the content and the ads. One will not work without the other two. Set the foundation and build from there.

Facebook Pages don’t have a dirty, little secret. Facebook simply offers additional options to make the platform it gives marketers access to for free work harder. I’m not a Facebook apologist, but considering the fact that Facebook knows pretty much everything about each of its users, I’m guessing that the news that you get more from your Page if you spend some money is Facebook’s worst kept secret (if it ever was one).