A 30-second Super Bowl commercial cost $3 million; not exactly chump change. Granted, that 30-second ad had the potential to reach an expected 110 million viewers worldwide; but what is interesting is that, this year, Super Bowl advertisers were not as focused on the immediate marketing impact of their ads as they were on using them as teasers to draw viewers into interactive Facebook and Twitter conversations.
The power of social media to connect with consumers, drive brand recognition and build customer base is changing the way businesses connect with consumers. Social media marketing capitalizes on the same type of good will and loyalty that people afford their friends to convert casual site visitors into product consumers. Using special promotions, contests, surveys, games, videos, polls and wall dialogs on their Facebook page, businesses develop a friendly, accessible, interactive relationship with potential customers. In effect, Facebook humanizes your business, transforming it from a faceless, corporate “it” into “one of the guys,” someone consumers can trust and count on and want to do business with.
As casual as this business-consumer relationship may seem, it is important to differentiate between a personal Facebook page and a business Facebook page, also called a fan page. Your business fan page should focus exclusively on your products and brand. Because Facebook requires accounts to be tied to a personal email, it’s smart to open a separate email account for this purpose to keep your business and personal lives separate. Access settings on your Facebook business page should also be adjusted to prevent access to any personal information.
The Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” promotion is an excellent example of how interactive Facebook promotions build brand recognition and excitement. Doritos was a fading brand in 2007 when it first invited consumers to create their own Doritos commercials, then allowed Facebook fans to vote for their favorites, and aired the top vote-getter during the Super Bowl. Since then, the annual promotion has drawn thousands of entries (5,000 this year), driven hundreds of thousands of fans to Doritos’ Facebook fan page, generated months of positive brand buzz, and made Doritos the best-selling tortilla chip in the U.S.
Savvy business owners know that to sell a product you have to take your pitch to the consumer. Today, that means social media, and Facebook is where the action is. Facebook boasts 500 million active users, 50% of whom log onto Facebook daily. The average American Facebook user spends about 15 minutes a day on Facebook, more than double the amount of time spent on all other web programs. Advertising your product where it can get that kind of attention at zero cost –Facebook is free — is a marketing asset you can’t afford to ignore. The real beauty of social media marketing, however, is that each consumer contact has the potential to explode exponentially as fans share “liked” sites with their friends. According to Facebook, the average Facebook user has 130 friends. If just one visitor to your Facebook page shares a link to your site with his friends, traffic to your site can mushroom quickly.
You don’t have to be a corporate behemoth to put social media to work for your business. Facebook is ideal for small business owners. It’s free, business pages are easy to set up and there are hundreds of optional applications available to handle Facebook’s more sophisticated features. Social media has the power to take your business to a whole new level and it won’t cost you a cent. If your business isn’t on Facebook yet, what are you waiting for?