Before any attempt to answer the above question is devised, firstly another question must be answered. What is facebook? Facebook is the social network, to prove this point even further a film called The Social Network was made. How facebook answers the, what is facebook question is as follows “Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connect. People use facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them”. As mentioned by facebook it’s largely used for social interaction as people share what they are doing, where they are doing it and who they are doing it with. So what’s the big deal people like to post stuff on facebook, well the big deal is the volume of people posting stuff on facebook. Recent research has suggested that facebook has on average one billion users per month, roughly on average 584 million daily active users therefore the reason businesses are using it is becoming very clear.
Current research has suggested that there are roughly 42 million businesses on facebook and facebook allows businesses to set-up their business page not profile as a profile is for a personal page for free. So how does it all work for businesses and if this is such an easy way to promote, brand and direct target your customers then why hasn’t every business got a facebook page? The facebook theory for businesses seems to be as follows
your page with people your audience friends of fans
So in more simple terms set up your business page, collect likes these are important as you require at least 30 likes before facebook will allow you to view your page insight
The facebook business theory is as follows, everyone that likes your business page will see your status update that you post on your business page as it will pop up on their news feed. Then when those people like, comment or share what we have posted, their friends will see it too. Taking your business page to a whole new level of audience figures, or does it? Well this all depends on whether facebook and your business page are a good match or not. To explain this a little better, facebook uses a process called edgerank which basically means facebook polices what every single person that uses it gets to see on their news feed. It monitors what people like your business page do with your status update. Edgerank is looking for something before it decides if your page’s status updates will show up in the news feed of those who liked your page. What it’s looking for is if someone has liked your facebook page, what do they do with your status update, if they ignore them, facebook notices this and you lose some edgerank points however if they interact with them, then you gain edgerank points.
As you can see above in the photograph of a facebook business page insight, it tells you about your likes, reach, talking about this and check ins per your status posts. For example the purple circles above are status update posts, the very last one of the right hand side posted on the 20/3/2013, the insight panel gives a breakdown of this post. Which is as follows it reached 393 users, engaged 25 users and had 2 people talking about it. Therefore its wasnt an overly successful post as edgerank would see only 2 users are talking about it and it wouldnt gain edgerank points.
So the facebook business theory should actually be share, comment then like as this process helps to keep you within the edgerank boundaries as such. What is the overall impact edgerank will have on the promotion of your business through facebook, research done on edgerank has concluded that the most reach that facebook really ever gives your business page is 16 %. Facebook is all about posting relevant fresh content especially by using pictures and video links to YouTube as this engages people to share, like or comment. For more information on how to increase your facebook edgerank view this article Promote your business with Facebook . Nevertheless it’s not going to work for every business as it’s not the target or appropriate market for every business and this coupled with edge rank means no facebook isn’t the main social media for businesses.
Successful Facebook Businesses
Of course there are many successful businesses that are using facebook well and its working for them; these businesses understand the importance of edgerank and content management of their facebook page. One of the most famous success stories of a business page really working for the business is The English Cheescake Factory facebook itself advertises this company as one of its main success stories. A quick synopsis of The English Cheescake Factory’s fcebook success is as follows, 11x increase in fanbase from 2,000 to 23,000, 4,500 likes delivered through Sponsored Stories campaign alone and 30% of new customers now come through facebook. How did they do this, well they set the following goals - to at least doubling fan growth on their Facebook Page, increasing repeat purchases and customer spend through increased fan engagement, acting as a platform for developing and launching new products and building and communicating a strong personality for the English Cheesecake brand. The facebook approach was as follows; setting up a Facebook shop to drive Sales from Facebook fans, using Facebook to respond to customer service requests with a dedicated member of staff responsible for responding to all customer comments, asking Facebook fans to vote on their top flavours with regular flavour opinion polls and engaging fans to help name special occasion cakes like the 2012 Valentines special ‘His and Hers’ cake. To keep connecting and engaging with their customers The English Cheesecake Company uses facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories by using precise interests such as “cheesecake” and “bakery” to reach their target audience and also predominantly targeting the core demographic audience of UK-based females aged between 25 and 35. Therefore is facebook and your company are a good match then yes it will work for you, however adverts can be expensive so as much as facebook can help you direct target your market, the best use of facebook would be to always refer customers back to your own website to build up your website traffic. As more often than not customers will only be able to purchase items from your website, so you should always be directing them back. It you are promoting an event then have an image of the event and a link back to your website for customers to purchase tickets, or even a new menu launch have a picture of a dish with a link to the new menu on your website plus the phone number to encourage customers to book a table.
In conclusion facebook can work for you and if your willing to spend money it will work even better but it’s not for every business out there as some businesses and facebook don’t have the perfect match.