Winning on Facebook

Joel Farr

February 22, 2011

First of all, did you even know there was a Facebook Blue Ribbon Award? Neither did I, but according to a note posted by Facebook, companies like Starbucks and Coca-Cola have been recipients of this award since 2009.  The award is issued monthly by Facebook’s Marketing Solutions Group, who judge businesses Facebook pages by looking not only at overall fan count, but also at interactions between fans and the particular page (i.e. comments and likes). So what do you or I do to start winning on Facebook, what does it take to compete? If we throw marketing dollars and gargantuan budgets aside there are a few components that are consistent among winning pages. Here are a few tips I’ve gathered to create a successful and innovative Facebook page:

Create Interactions of Value – Without fail, every great Facebook page I’ve ever visited has offered something of value to me. In some cases this “something of value” was nothing more than a good old-fashioned belly laugh. Other times it was a valuable coupon or a free giveaway. Many pages are creative about the delivery of the coupon or giveaway, making the user “like” the page before receiving it (See Levi’s page below). All of these interactions not only provide me with something, but also make me want to share it, thus providing an opportunity for fans to grow exponentially.

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KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. One thing that guarantees failure is a Facebook page that is over-populated, busy and hard to follow. Great design doesn’t necessarily mean complicated or busy. Many of the winning pages I viewed had very clean and simple designs along with a simple call to action. These calls to action usually consist of interactive buttons and links that allow the user to participate in a branded experience. The busier your page gets, the less attention the user will pay to your brand. Here are a couple great examples from McDonald’s and Toyota:

Make it Media Rich – Most people aren’t going to spend all day looking at your Facebook page, no matter how much you want them to. But one thing that will get them to linger a little longer with your brand is to provide them with media rich content. I can’t say enough about videos. We are all getting a little more A.D.D. by the day, and if you’re one of the lucky ones who isn’t, you still don’t have the time to sit back and read a facebook page for hours. Ninety-five percent of us would rather watch tv than read a book and the same principle applies to your facebook page. It’s apparent that Disney and Adidas know this little secret:

Don’t Toot Your Own Horn – Believe it or not, you love to talk about yourself, and as great as that is, it can easily get out of hand. While most businesses have a product to advertise, it’s amazing to note how little is actually mentioned about the product in particular. I found that most of them are trying much harder to develop a relationship with me or get one of those belly-laughs I mentioned than talk about how great they are or how great their product is. Humor is a common factor among the winners. I have to admit, the things I share the most on the Web are humor related, and I think it’s safe to say that is true for most of us. Capitalize on this and get something funny on camera. If it’s funny enough, it will be shared over and over again.

A blue ribbon would be a cool thing to get from Facebook, but by the time you’ve earned it, you will have gained far more than a ribbon. And after all, it’s not Facebook we are trying to make an impression on, it’s our customers. Applying these principles will help you in your endeavor…not to toot my own horn or anything.