As the largest social network, Facebook offers plenty of opportunities for marketers. However, extracting those opportunities sometimes can be difficult using only the tools Facebook provides. Improving a social network and scaling it for use by 500 million people is difficult; because of this, the tools and engagement opportunities for marketers are still limited. Fortunately, through the Facebook API , third party developers have been able to create tools to help make a marketer's day on Facebook a little easier.
Facebook Marketing Tools
1. Wildfire -- Want to run a contest on Facebook? Facebook has some pretty strict guidelines for just how contests can be conducted on their platform. Fortunately, the folks at Wildfire have worked closely with Facebook and its guidelines to create an application that easily enables marketers to create Facebook marketing campaigns like contests, coupon giveaways and user-generated content promotions. The marketer builds the contest using the Wildfire app, and the contest is then accessible via a tab on the marketer's Facebook fan page. Marketers can also make it accessible via their company's website or a unique microsite. While a free version of the app does not exist, pricing starts at just $5 per campaign (plus $.99 for each day the campaign runs) for the most basic package and increases depending on the features and functionality you're looking for.
2. Liveworld's Facebook Forum 2.0 -- Managing a Facebook fan page can be clunky; it is a manual experience that can be time-consuming, and Facebook provides very little reporting and analytics. Facebook Forum 2.0 is a tool from Liveworld that makes it easier for companies to manage their Facebook communities by allowing companies to quickly and easily respond to and moderate Facebook comments. Also provided is additional metrics such as unique visitors, subscription emails and active threads. Pricing for this application is not publically posted.
3. Networked Blogs -- Have a corporate blog and looking for an easy way to connect it to your Facebook page? Networked Blogs is a Facebook blog directory. By setting up an account, you have the option of automatically posting your blog articles to your Facebook business page. Additionally, you will be included in the Networked Blogs directory, which is another method for your blog content to be found online. Networked Blogs is a free application.
4. Facebook Social Plugins -- Launched recently, Facebook's own social plugins have managed to fly under the radar for many marketers. Facebook used its own API to give businesses and website owners a way to facilitate Facebook engagement from their own websites or blogs. Two of the most powerful social plugins are the Like Button and the Recommendations Plugin. Both of these free widgets allow a marketer to drive more traffic by sharing content through Facebook.
Facebook marketing isn't right for every business or situation. However, it is important to regularly test Facebook marketing efforts to ensure they are properly resourced and supported. Providing content and engagement opportunities to customers and fans on Facebook can have an impact on B2B customer acquisition. Think about your online marketing in totality and strategize how or if Facebook fits in.
What other tools do you use to improve your Facebook marketing?