I’m Jamaican and am always searching for things Jamaican and Caribbean on the social networks that I’m a member of. So Facebook is no different. One of those searches yielded a link to a Fan Page branded simply Jamaica under the travel category. It has 35,045 fans from across the world, this, despite that the creator of the Fan Page has never advertised it (except to his circle of Facebook friends) and has not updated it since August last year…coincidentally, the month of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, when Jamaica’s sprint factory credentials yielded an amazing show. This has not stopped the fans from joining, continuously updating the Page with their favourite pictures, shout outs and instant reviews on where they’ve visited, how much they loved it and why. Now this is powerful stuff and I let me share with you why.
Here you have a Facebook Fan Page with over 35,045 fans, people who have chosen to become a Fan of Jamaica, who have also by extension give the Fan Page creator permission to communicate with them directly. Additionally, the Page also provides the community of Fans with the platform to share and communicate their experiences, pictures and videos with each other. This Fan base, is tantamount to having a list of email addresses of 35,045 people, equal to having the mobile phone numbers of 35,045 and you didn’t have to spend a cent on expensive Television advertising, PR and travel show visits to get it. Some may argue though, that the power of Brand Jamaica demonstrated by this Facebook Fan Page, is the result of all the previous expensive advertising, PR and Travel show visits… but my point here too is that, that was then and this is now and the future. That was what you had to do then, Facebook is one of the must use social media marketing tools going forward.
That said, what could a Facebook Fan Page do for Brand Jamaica really? In a word. Alot. Here are 7 ways.
1.You control the page. When making a Fan Page you have the power to set it up exactly the way you want – Add your logo, preload videos, Add links, photo albums, kick start discussions, start a blog, load up a poll, edit or remove sections; add applications to e.g. collect email address. You control the information you share on your Fan Page and also what Fans can upload and add to the page as well. It’s like playing editor of a magazine.
2. News feed. When someone joins a Facebook Fan page, this Jamaica Facebook Fan Page, it’s published in their News feed for all their friends to read (unless they have turned this off in their settings and most people do not). When you as the creator of your Fan Page change the status on your page, add photos, a poll, videos, a new discussion, everything is reflected in a Fan’s news feed. It makes someone joining your Fan page somewhat viral.
3. Send an “updates to fans”. One of the greatest features is that you can send “updates” to fans whenever you want. You can create and send messages about new products, services, events and places that are related to the Fan Page and would be of interest to the Fan base. You have a one on one conversation with Fans who want to hear from you.
4. Create a Resource. Some Facebook Fan Pages are used as connection hubs, and that’s a great use, but you can go further by offering information pertinent to consumers. You can use information as added value to have consumers create a connection with the brand. In the case of this Jamaica Fan Page, they could create a resource page that offers unconventional niche guides e.g. Where to Stay for under $100 a day Guide or The Ultimate Guide to Historic Churches tours. What this does is allows a you the creator of the Fan Page, the brand, the company to target a new demographic, convert others outside of those that already know and love Jamaica.
5. Network with other Platforms. The website(s) for which you created the Facebook Fan Page has traffic, so leverage that traffic your site gets and push them to your Facebook fan page using a text link or one of those Find us on Facebook buttons. Likewise if your site, product, company has a MySpace, YouTube presence with traffic, Add your the link to your Facebook fan Page there too. Connecting multiple social platforms can help funnel traffic, additional Fans to Your Facebook Page.
6. You can track. One of the features of the newly redesigned Facebook fan Pages is that you have a tool called Insights, which tracks and deliver data on the level of interactivity of your Page. How many Fans are new, have any left; you get information on page views, video plays,audio plays, photo views. It’s like Google Analytics for your Facebook Fan Page.
7. It’s the Relationship. Unlike groups, fan pages are generally better for a long-term relationship with your fans, readers or customers.
Let me go a step further by sharing how can the owner of the Jamaica Facebook Fan Page and any Fan Page monetize their page directly and indirectly.
Monetizing your Facebook Fan Page
First let me say this, creating a Facebook Fan Page is not an opportunity to spam and abuse the trust and relationship between yourself and yours Fans. Don’t send them meaningless gobbledygook that will push them to UnFan themselves and then 10 of their friends about it. Monetizing a Facebook Fan Page requires careful strategy and can be done directly and indirectly. Here are 3 of the many ways to achieve this.
1. Feeding the Feed. Remember anything the creator of the Fan Page does and publish -add photos, videos, links etc it automatically appears in the friend’s feed of all Fans of the page. This is like a one-on-one conversation between a brand and their fans. So treat it with the necessary care and respect.
2. Direct message blasts using the Send an “updates to fans” feature. One of the greatest features is that you can send “updates” to fans whenever you want. You can send messages about new products, events, places and charge the company, brand for sending that information to your Fan Base, in the same manner as you would if they were advertising in your email newsletter or texting to your mobile database.
3. Creating contests that include participation. For brands that want Fan pages to have added value (a reason for users to join the page, aside from brand loyalty), you can create contests and offer coupons specifically to your Facebook Fans and to others as an enticement to for them to join the Facebook Fan Page. Offering something to consumers to join can help build a large community. So because you are the one with the Fan base of 35,000 like this Jamaica Facebook fan Page creator, you can woo business partners that will pay you to either create, partner and run such contests and coupon offerings.
Ok I said three but here is some Brawta…Jamaican word meaning a little more, something extra.
4. Changing the Page’s Profile Picture for a Day. Regardless of the brand, website, product for which you created the Facebook Fan Page, chances are you selected a logo as your Page’s Profile Picture. The act of changing this to the logo, product picture of a business partner is enough to get it noticed by your Fans and will show up in their news feeds and yes you can charge for that exposure to your Fan base too.
The greatest takeaway– never underesimate the value of the relationship you create, the trust you have when a Fan has CHOSEN to add themselves to your FaceBook Fan Page.