Top 10 Facebook Fan Pages and How To Use Them In Your Business
It's not an automatic win if you sign up to Facebook, slap up a fan page, and get a few fans. The big name-brand companies out there have spent hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars to try to figure out how to take advantage of the social network. Some of the best companies out there have finally realized that you have to "humanize" yourself on a site like Facebook.
Unlike Google's organic (or even paid) search engine, people don't come to Facebook with the intention of solving a problem - not really. They log on to have fun. It's probably the largest site dedicated solely to the purpose of being entertained.
Even news stories that get shared, liked, and quoted often take a back seat to neat science photos, comics, and - of course - funny cat pictures and videos. Photos happen to be one of the most sharable things on Facebook (along with videos). The best fan pages take advantage of this, along with the viral nature of contests or sweepstakes. Here are some of the best examples of companies that get it right:
1. iTunes - Apple does an excellent job of designing some of the best computers in the world. It shows us that it's also pretty adept at designing webpages - even on arguably clunky sites like Facebook. It features content related to, you guessed it, iTunes. Videos showcase new movies and music videos available on the app store. Photos give you still shots of some of the latest releases while user tips help you get more out of this popular music player. If your company is a technology company, here's the takeaway: provide cool user tips and free videos and photos showcasing your best stuff. Integrating support channels right into your fan page would also be a good idea.
2. McDonald's - You probably already know where your local McDonald's is, but the company dedicates a section of its fan page to locations just in case. Hey, if you're out of town and you need your fix, it shouldn't be too difficult to find, right? While you might not think that there's much to say about a hamburger joint, McDonald's manages to pack in a lot of information into its fan page. Of special interest is the page dedicated to "quality matters." Most people think of the fast-food giant as "cheap food," but here the golden arches makes an attempt to demonstrate what actually goes into its food. Paying homage to its suppliers helps to show customers wqhat they're really getting aside from boxed mystery meat.
This is an awesome PR section. When you watch the videos in this section, you get the feeling that McDonald's makes everything from scratch. If you have a commodity business that's difficult to be unique in, this is an idea you can use. Show the passionate people behind your products and services. Tell their story.
3. Baskin-Robbins - The company isn't known for its health food. That's why BR spends a lot of time showing off food porn in the form delicious, sinful, ice cream. After you're done feeling guilty about all of the sugar and empty calories in the videos and photos, you can buy gift cards right from the fan page. Lesson: commodity businesses can demonstrate that they are of higher quality by showing off extremely high resolution photos and good quality video. Then, it's just a matter of leading fans to some kind of purchase offer. Notice how BR doesn't pitch its fans outright. It offers gift cards - because fans should want to buy a delectable treat for a friend or loved one.
4. Honda - Honda has some of the most enthusiastic fans on the planet. It's not surprising - it invented the engines with variable valve timing and lift that now common in high-end automobiles. But that's not what fans love. They apparently love the fact that they can play the drums in the back of some of the vehicles (as highlighted on Honda's current Timeline cover photo). The hook for Honda is "million mile Joe." He's driven his 1990 Accord 1 million miles. That's quite a story. If you have a business with a "superstar" customer (most businesses do), then showcase him or her on your fan page. It's a great publicity stunt and it helps you connect with fans. Just look at the feedback Honda has gotten from it.
5. Skittles - Friend the rainbow. Really, the coolest thing about Skittles is that it has a simple fan page and a little game fans can play. Other than stunning photos, this is the takeaway: put up an interactive game that draws in your fans. While the candy company could have done a little better job with theirs, the idea is brilliant.
6. Harley Davidson - The famous bike company gives fans a lot to do on its page. Watch videos, look at cool photos, and even find events. Harley's hook is really its events. Have you ever talked to a person who owned a Harley Davidson? Half the reason they own one is to go on group rides and attend events.
7. Walmart - The retail giant has a lot of enemies, but it also apparently has a lot of fans. Over 22 million of them. Two of the best sections on the fan page are the videos section and the layaway section. If you have a company that is basically shrouded in mystery for the most part (you know who you are), consider throwing up some videos that give fans a "behind the scenes" look at your operation. You might be surprised at how many people enjoy watching that kind of thing. Likewise, payment plans are very popular in some markets. Walmart clearly understands its user base and has chosen to allow fans to shop right from its fan page and put things on layaway. A great move.
8. Victoria's Secret - It's hard not to like this fan page. While the "house rules" section could be done away with, the section dedicated to customer service is interesting. Some companies hide their "contact" page on the corporate site. Victoria's Secret goes out of its way to make it available to fans right there on Facebook. That's a bold move considering the issues that could potentially cause. If you have an awesome brand, and you know it, allow customers to contact your company right from Facebook. It's also a clever way to push users away from the fan page and to your ecommerce site (i.e. get them on a mailing list).
9. Starbucks - The coffee company uses its page for the usual stuff. Photos, videos, and PR, but it also uses part of it for coupons. Under the heading "events," you get updates about cool deals and special promotions. This is something every business should be doing but isn't. Even if you don't like their coffee, take a tip from Starbucks on this one.
10. Coca-Cola - It's not healthy for you, but the company has a good marketing department. Its Facebook fan page is especially interesting. While many companies try to keep users on the fan page, Coke is OK with letting users connect with each other and leave the page entirely. The "Your Stories" section of the fan page highlights its customers and even links to fans' pages (even personal profile pages). If you want to bring your community of fans together, this is definitely one way to do it.
While there are many ways to spice up your fan page, a lot of what happens on Facebook will be determined by your marketing budget and goals. Your industry also dictates what's appropriate for your business. However, don't think that because no one else is doing something that you can't start. Borrow ideas from unrelated industries and test them out on your fan base. Who knows, you might become a thought-leader in your industry.