The New Age of Interaction: How to Improve Your Business’ Facebook Presence

Meet the Old Spice Guy: An Internet sensation.

“Wow, how can a Fortune 100 company fail so badly in the social media field?” I remember saying while reading about the recent social media screw-ups at Honda, Taco Bell, Asus, Domino’s, and Belkin.

The more I dug, the more company social media disasters I seemed to find. In fact, social media disasters are a huge issue facing companies: a quick Google search using the keywords “company social media disaster” yielded over 10 million results.

For the last few months, I’ve been doing independent social media consulting for a small design firm and online strategy for a large, dominant media company. Although they differ in size by about 15,000 employees (and millions of dollars), they both share a similar large concern: allowing too much user interaction on their site and, as a result, getting rude comments and failing.

Does this happen? Yes, it does. However, not nearly as much as you think, and it can be mitigated if you know what you’re doing. In fact, the benefit of a strong social media campaign can be startling to sales, customer approval, and customer retention. Let’s look at how, with a few easy steps, you can improve your company’s social media campaign by roughly 80% in 30 days.

Perhaps you’ve seen the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Old Spice TV commercials. Did you know that Old Spice recently did an online promotion as well? If you’re one of the roughly 10 million people to see the videos through Reddit, Digg, Twitter, and Facebook you did. The Old Spice Responses, as this social media campaign is called, is one of the fastest-growing video campaigns of all time. On Reddit, the two posts related to Old Spice’s campaign have a combined 5,500 upvotes, which is good for the second highest number of upvotes for all of 2010. If you look at the comments you’ll see users explain how they are planning to buy Old Spice because of how awesome the campaign is. How great is that?! Oh, and this is in addition to the “Outstanding Commercial” Emmy won by the creative minds behind the campaign.

So, if you can increase your sales, why not do it? Below I’ll outline some of the methods I give to companies I consult for. These recommendations won’t take your company more than 10 hours a week to incorporate, and soon I’ll be charging clients hundreds of dollars an hour for some of this information. In fact, incorporating just one of the recommendations below I saw a 2.4% increase in Facebook fans for a large company over a 60 hour period.

40-60 Minutes: Create a Facebook Advertisement Drawing Users to Your Facebook Page

Creating ads on Facebook are cheap and relatively easy.  For a company I’m currently working for, I created two quick Facebook ads with the intention of drawing “Likes” to their fan page.  In the span of three days, the fans of the page grew 2.4%.  Even if that paces slows a little, the number of fans should still increase about 60% for the month.  For this company, that will be 6,600 new fans on the Facebook page; an absolutely incredible number.  See the screenshot below to see how the ad has performed over the last 10 hours.

Increase in Facebook Likes due to Facebook ads
Look at those clicks!

The “Social %” is especially important, as that’s how many users see the ad with one or more of their friends having liked it.  However, it’s important to understand that this is a large company with a daily Facebook Ads budget around $400.  Therefore, if you’re a smaller company, either reduce your budget, or learn how to niche your ad to get a better ROI.  One of the neat things you can do in Facebook Ads is target users demographically: where they’re located, their age group, what language they speak, even what interests they have or what pages they’re connected to.

20 Minutes a Day: Post on Your Freakin’ Facebook Page

And not only that, post original content on your page.  Interaction with users is absolutely key.  The reason social media is so successful is because you’re seeing the man behind the curtain, so don’t blow it.  For example, look at how Pringles is successful at engaging users on Facebook.  Every few days Pringles posts something exclusively on its Facebook Wall: either alerting users to an event, competition, or asking users a question.  While many legal reps at big companies probably cringe at the though of this, Coca-Cola does an amazing job of allowing users to post on its Wall.  Look at the posts, too: very, very few are negative or spam.  When you give the users the power, great things happen.  Some other companies with strong Facebook pages include Red Bull and their games, Starbucks and their open Wall, and Adidas with a live video stream.  So, interact with those users out there; they want to interact with you!  Post questions, respond to users, post exclusive event and contest news to make your page really stand out.

2 Hours: Configure Your Facebook Top Boxes

Change the boxes at the top of the page to adopt new forms of user interaction.   You’ll notice below how Old Spice has customized the tabs to create different sections of their fan page.  Create boxes based on what your company specializes in: so, for example, a small coffee company may benefit from having a tab labeled “Our Coffee” which lists out, with pictures, the different types of coffee the company serves.  Or perhaps, you’re a sports medicine company; you could have a tab that explains the benefits of using the product, or customer testimonials.

The highly configured interface of Old Spice's Facebook page.

What have you noticed about company media pages?  Any ones you’ve really liked recently?

Stay tuned, as this is part one of a multi-part series.  The next part will be how to improve your company’s Twitter presence.

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