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>Facebook Part Two


Facebook, Part Two

Lead Generation

   This is one use of Facebook that many people do not make use of. Facebook has a lot of information about its users, and this information is made available to others depending on the privacy level that the users specify. Whenever they use their Facebook ID to log into your site, (if you install this facility of course), Facebook will make available to you as much information as the user has in his or her public profile. 
   This means that when it comes to savvy people who are aware of how Facebook works, you may well only get general information like email addresses.  Email addresses are useful tool considering that the email address on Facebook will mostly be genuine. When it comes to users who are either not knowledgeable enough about the different privacy settings in Facebook or are just not bothered enough, you can get much more information from Facebook.
   This can help you not only generate more leads for your ad campaign but also target it to specific niches based on the information that you get from Facebook. For example, if you are selling fitness equipment, you will probably be able to target your campaign to those people whose profile lists anything related to fitness as their hobbies. Not only is the campaign going to be much cheaper, it is also going to be much more effective, because you will never be able to target the audience in such a focused manner anywhere else.
   As mentioned, the amount of information that is made available to you by Facebook depends on the users themselves, so there is always the chance that users will not make much information available to you. Yet, this method is still effective because you will get the basic information that you know is at least accurate and not outdated.
   This facet of Facebook is even more useful when you consider the kind of business you deal in. If your business is local in nature, you can focus your search to a particular geographic area so that you know that any leads generated would be useful. This is much better than spending time on worldwide customers who are not going to benefit your business in any way.

Gain New Friends

   This may not be a top reason, but it still has its uses. For example, if any user wishes to be friends with you and clicks on the friends tab in your company profile page, you can configure your account to accept friends by default. That way every person who becomes your friend is accepted as one by you. You are not only connected to them, but to their friends as well through their Facebook account.
   This may take a little bit of time to net results, but as a long-term option to increase the profile of your organization it is a good idea. This is especially true if you have a dedicated person to maintain the profile of the company and put in any information about the company on a regular basis. They can also respond to queries or take note of any complaints. You are creating a certain loyalty in your network by working to take care of their issues so that the next time they want something they will come to you. They will recommend you to others and your network will be able to continue to expand.
   Since you are an organization here, you can basically connect with everyone who wants to connect with you and over time, your network can only increase. With the pace at which the virtual world moves, many people are actually saying that they get their news from the social media long before they get it from the mainstream cable news channels. People are starting to rely on Facebook to get information that they need, rather than go through the news and then filter out what they do not need. If you like tennis, but are not interested in politics, you can keep abreast of what is happening in the tennis world while not having to sit through the political news to get to the sports.
   This kind of targeting means that your network will be full of only people who are interested in you as they have the option of leaving your network at any time. This becomes useful when it comes to sales conversions, which is our next point.

   The first thing that you should realize is that Facebook is a social network site. This means that you cannot actively canvass for sales the way you would elsewhere. Yet, simply because there is such a large network out there, there are things that you can do to increase your sales using your social network.
   To bring back the example of the launch of Call of Duty, the producers of the game started their marketing months before the launch of their product. They sent out coded messages to people who were big in the gaming world. This included not only die-hard Call of Duty fans, but also critics. The code had to be cracked, and when you did that, it gave the URL to a new game that was supposed to come out soon.
   There was nothing about Call of Duty in this strategy at all, yet because the URL had short scenes from the game, most people knew that it had to be Call of Duty because it coincided with their release schedule. This led to a storm of activity with gamers discussing about the merits and demerits of the new game, and all this without any basic information regarding the actual game.
   When the activity levels started to die down a carefully choreographed leak would send the gamers into another storm until finally when the game was actually released there was so much demand for it that it grossed $410 million on the day of its launch, an all time record, putting to shame high grossing movies like Harry Potter.
Most of this was done only using social media, and even if Facebook did not play any part in this, it still shows the potential that an innovative strategy can have on sales. In addition, all this would not have cost 1/100th of the cost of traditional marketing. The producers were shrewd enough to use the strengths of such a network and the results are there for all to see.
   Of course, the product itself was a good one, and the previous editions of the same game were top sellers themselves, so the producers had a base from which to work. The basic principles however do not change. There are a number of other companies that use their Facebook fan base to do beta testing. 
   The advantage of being a fan of the organization is that, you get to do free beta testing, and they get a discount when they do buy the product. This is a win-win situation for both the network as well as the company because their fan base will assure them of a minimum number of sales.
   The kind of strategy depends on the kind of product you have to sell, and you cannot very well do beta testing for a new landscape design, if that is what your company does. Yet, it gives you the opportunity to try something really innovative, and the best part is that this is not expensive at all.
   When Call of Duty had its beta testing, they had to rely on their fan base built over years but through their own network built at their own cost. Now, you have the opportunity to use an already existing network to try out your own unique marketing strategy and at little to no cost to you.

Community Pages
   This is the reason why many manufacturers are wary of Facebook. Facebook launched their community pages in April 2010 and created a furor of complaints about how it was not only useless but was actually damaging for small business owners. Facebook has since gone out of its way to educate people on what exactly the community pages were and how it could be used.
   The community pages is a feature that you can create in Facebook, much like a forum or a blog. It is easy to set up and you can have your own community. While this may not be absolutely necessary considering that Facebook in itself a networking place, a separate community page gives many advantages.
   When Facebook launched this initiative, it created a few hundred thousand community pages by default based on information they had about existing networks. Many businesses thought that this was not only pointless; it was an infringement because these pages were not created by them. These pages were, however, totally community driven, and while there were pages with as few as one or two fans, there were others with thousands.
   While this left most businesses thinking that they had gotten the short end of the stick, over time these community pages actually started serving a useful purpose. Most of the more online perceptive companies employ a few people to search the net to gather information on what exactly is the public perception of the organization. While in the real world this is usually done using polls, it was much easier and cheaper to do so online. All one had to do was to monitor these community pages, or forums to know what was being said about the organization. If there were complaints, it did not take long to track these members down and mail them regarding their difficulty.
   This was a huge opportunity for organizations that were willing to take the bull by the horns. While these forums were community driven, it gave organizations an existing framework where they could deal with customer service issues. This strategy is simple, yet effective, and Google is a good example for how an organization can use these forums to their advantage.
   When Google released their browser “Google Chrome” there were a number of issues with it. In fact, many critics said that it did not deserve the Google name. There were so many complaints about the browser that if you look back now, you would wonder how it survived the beta phase itself. Google tackled this in a unique way. They had a Google employee keep track of these forums and answer any complaints that came up. 
   The effectiveness of this strategy can be discovered when you consider that the stable version of Chrome was launched in December 2008. By Jan 2011, it had garnered an 11% share in the browsermarket and was the third most widely used browser in the world, rapidly approaching Firefox’s share of around 30%.
   With the number of faults that the beta version had, this kind of growth is surprising. This is even more surprising considering that when the beta version was launched in Sep 2008 it hit 1% almost immediately. By October, however, this had dropped to 0.69% because of the number of issues it had. Yet, they have reached 11% in just two years. Most of this is because Google kept its ear to the ground, had employees tracking forums where the faults were discussed.
   In many cases if a solution was not possible a bug report was filed in the customer’s stead and the link was posted back to the forum. This generated a lot of goodwill so many users continued to use Chrome because they were sure that people were working to sort out the issues.

   Although these community pages are just another kind of a forum, the advantage this gives is that it is within the Facebook network. This means that all users get the advantage of being connected all the time.


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