My company built its first Facebook fan page for a client over 2 years ago. At the time, it was rather obvious that there was a big opportunity to reach their customers for marketing purposes. Believe it or not, there were not that many brands that were doing this well yet. Fast forward to today and just about every major brand (and many businesses) has a Facebook fan page.
For marketers, the opportunity to find their best customers and prospects while they are socializing online is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, most brands and companies treat Facebook like another marketing channel and use it present product news, company news, offers, and discounts. In short, they use the exact same messages on email, their website, and in their offline media. I think most brands are quickly finding that this is not very interesting to most of their fans (or non-fans) and won’t serve to increase the number of fans. The more savvy marketers, offer exclusive content like contests, video, or the opportunity to talk to company executives in real-time.
And, the really savvy companies realize that Facebook is much more than just a place to market. They are using it for customer service, to recruit future employees, and even to get ideas on how to improve their future products and services. For Intuit, they discovered that they were getting a significant amount of traffic to their Facebook page vs. their very nice careers website. In response, they decided to have us build a more interactive, customized Facebook experience. The result is a Facebook page that makes a much better impression to prospective employees – for many their crucial first impression.
Intuit also made the decision to add customer service tabs to many of their Facebook pages since so many of their customers are active on Facebook. They were getting multiple Wall Posts to their page every time there was service maintenance for one of their services. The easy solution was to build another Facebook tab where they can post planned service maintenance or other product alerts. This keeps that rather uninteresting and unproductive conversation off their walls.
I see the future Facebook pages as short cut access to the most customer-facing parts of an organization. Facebook for businesses started off as a marketing tool, but is quickly becoming a tool for customer service, careers, investor relations, and product organizations as well. How does your organization use Facebook?