As of May 2013, Facebook has over one billion users. According to The Zen of Social Media Marketing, more than half of Facebook’s users log on at least once a day, and its fastest-growing demographic is those twenty-five years old and older.

Using Facebook’s growing popularity as a marketing tool is obviously advantageous. The site’s “fan pages” have become excellent business opportunities, as they allow Facebook users to “like” advertisers’ pages to receive discounts and promotions. Walmart is just one example of this; in fact, Walmart takes Facebook a step further with a team of people who actually respond to fans’ individual comments on each post (Walmart remarks to fans on approximately 22% of posts). Having passed the 30 million fan mark, Walmart’s tactics might be wise to note. While the company may post anywhere from three to six updates in a day, Starbucks, with 34 million fans, counts on more interest being generated from its sporadic postings, which range from once a day to a week or more between posts. According to this Forbes article, both strategies have proven effective.

With its popularity and need to stay at the top of competing social media, Facebook is constantly developing new marketing ploys. A new feature, embedded posts, was added to the site on July 31; it allows users to place public Facebook posts to their website, mobilizing Facebook outward to the rest of the Web. Graph Search was launched to all U.S. users last week as another way to target users other than getting into their news feeds.  By using very detailed search criteria in four areas- photos, people, places, and interests- users can find who or what they are looking for much more easily than before, including your business.

As a Facebook user and a college student, I constantly see advertisements on my news feed and receive status updates from pages I have “liked”. Although I obviously am not nor claim to be an expert in marketing strategies, I have noticed certain techniques that companies use to draw my attention as a consumer, and offer these for you to consider in your marketing pursuits.

Syncapse-Reasons-Becoming-Brand-Fan-Facebook-June2013

Suggested ways to attract users to your Facebook page:

  • Give a call to action in the “About Me” section.  Example: a discount offer or coupon via a link to the company’s website, anything drawing attention
  • Promote posts. This requires investment, so use this tool thoughtfully and wisely.
  • Use multimedia! Certain types of posts receive much more interaction than others. “Photo albums, pictures, and videos receive 180 percent, 120 percent, and 100 percent more engagement respectively” according to The Zen of Social Media Marketing.
    • Include photos. According to AllFacebook.com, visual content makes up approximately 85% of the posts made by Walmart.
    • The Facebook posts of retailers or businesses I regularly browse are interesting, colorful and reflect “happy” people, subtly but positively luring me to purchase that outfit or product.  I spoke with fellow students, and we agreed that the most effective marketing technique a company can use on Facebook is to post interesting photos and videos, and ones that are relevant, uplifting or meaningful to spend the few minutes on.  Colorful pictures are always engaging and immediately grab attention from users.
    • Use Facebook’s Timeline to your advantage.
      • One exciting feature Timeline offers is the ability to add milestones. This can be anything from the opening of a new store to a key event in the company’s history; for example, the first event on Starbucks’ timeline is its opening in 1971 at Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
      • Launch a contest or sweepstakes related to your brand to draw new fans and increase their interaction with your page. The prize could include anything from a free product to a special discount. Just be sure to require little from your fans; the less work on their part, the higher the chance that they will enter.
        • For sweepstakes, try offering multiple prizes with lower value rather than a single prize. People will assume higher chances of winning, attracting more entrants (check out this site for more sweepstakes and contest ideas).
        • Consider an occasional post that offers humor, a life perspective or relevant and interesting chat (perhaps sports trivia on a breaking event if you have a sports product, etc). Engaging the reader in a brief upbeat post, or even a weekly thought-provoking quote, that is personally useful can be interesting. Lululemon, for example, posted a link to their blog with five travel destination ideas this week.

Other useful tips:

  • Timing! Many sources claim that the best time to post is during weekends and off-peak hours, when there is less “clutter” to compete with and users are more likely to see your post. Also note that people most often check their updates first thing in the morning, at lunch, or after work during the week, so plan posts accordingly.
  • Try interacting with your fans through comments and dialog, including responding to questions
  • Highlight posts by starring them in the upper right-hand corner of the post.