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Sociableblog posted this article on developing Facebook applications. A great idea for brands and small businesses who may have already created a page and want to add some interactive elements to keep users interested. The article gives you some basic guidelines on how you can use applications as a marketing tool. Read the full post in Facebook Application – Develop It with Care
This article in the New York Times Small Business section provides anecdotes of small business owners who rely on Facebook as a critical selling and relationship management tool. Business owners are using it to find new customers, build a base of followers, and hone in on targeted prospects. With forthcoming advancements in digital communications technologies, like geolocation for Twitter, it will be even easier for mom-and-pop shops to take advantage of social media tools. Highlights from the New York Times article include:
For most businesses, Facebook Pages (distinct from individual profiles and Facebook groups) are the best place to start. Pages allow businesses to collect “fans” the way celebrities, sports teams, musicians and politicians do. There are now 1.4 million Facebook Pages and they collect more than 10 million fans every day, according to the site.
Businesses can easily create a Web presence with Facebook, even if they don’t have their own Web site (most companies still should maintain a Web site to reach people who don’t use Facebook or whose employers block access to the site). Businesses can claim a vanity address so that their Facebook address reflects the business name, like www.facebook.com/Starbucks. Facebook pages can link to the company’s Web site or direct sales to e-commerce sites like Ticketmaster or Amazon.
Facebook enables small businesses to engage in targeted marketing that they only could have dreamed about a few years ago. Facebook users fill out profiles with information like hometown, employer, religious beliefs, interests, education and favorite books, movies and TV shows — all of which can help advertisers deliver messages to specific demographic slices.
Honda has recently had a push adding social media to their marketing mix. The most widely received is their set up of an official Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/Honda. The featured campaign “Everyone knows somebody who loves a Honda” is mediocre, in my opinion, but it’s really the Facebook fan follower response that matters. The campaign was part of the auto giant’s plan to talk about their core values while sticking to a tight budget. The idea is that Honda owners use the site to link to friends and create a global web. In turn, Honda can demonstrate how Honda is connected to everyone else. They refer to this campaign on their page as a “global social experiment”. Although when reading comments from the creative minds behind it, they say “It’s really an awareness campaign on a limited budget.” Not that we marketers and social media users haven’t already figured that out.
While the positioning is hardly original, and the page doesn’t look much different from a car manufacturer’s website, especially given the humdrum lineup of Honda models with devoted pages for each model, it’s enough of a hook to attract the target audience. As of November 10, 266,908 fans can’t be wrong. To participate in the “global social experiment” simply go to facebook.com/honda and click on the button “I love a Honda (current or past)” or “I know somebody who loves a Honda”. You get the idea.
It wasn’t their first foray into social media, but certainly their broadest campaign. They had tried much smaller social media efforts as part of their marketing mix to promote specific vehicles from the Honda family. These included a MySpace page for Element, and then Facebook pages for Fit and the hybrid Insight. Honda was initially hesitant to open up the two-way dialogue. “You open yourself up; it’s risky, but with the success of Fit and Insight with Facebook, they were able to see the advantage,” says Joe Baratelli, SVP and creative director at Honda’s creative agency RPA in a recent article on Mediapost. Ads and offers are noticeably missing from the Facebook page. However, one of the first user comments I saw was from a guy (possibly car dealer) with a car to sell, so there is no stopping users from doing their own advertisements. (more…)