To steal a quote from Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changing, in the boardroom and the little black book alike. In fact, in a recent study conducted by the New York Daily News, an estimated 25% of the US population uses online dating sites, and those were just the ones who owned up to it. Match.com also collected data suggesting that as many as 1 in 5 relationships start online, that’s more than the number of relationships started in bars, clubs and social events combined! And with companies steadily allocating more time and money to their social media strategies, are you getting with the times or just getting left in the dust? All may be fair in love and business, but with the trending progression towards our corporate and social lives happening online, are you making the most of your Facebook fan page ?
The first thing you have to realize is that both in social media marketing as well as online dating, the initial amount of information and content at your disposal may seem overwhelming. But using the new set of tools and tactics at your disposal (not unlike falling in love) takes energy and effort, but also like love, the rewards make up for it twofold. So with that in mind, how can you apply this clearly successful method to your company’s Facebook fan page?
1. The Object of Both Pursuits is to Get Found.
By participating in either of these activities, you are taking an active position in the molding of your own Internet-fueled destiny. This is a fantastic jumping-off point; romance just like business plans must learn to evolve alongside humanity and technology alike. I’m sure I don’t need to reiterate that before this point in time there were never as many ways to communicate with your potential consumer/love interest, and inbound marketing is the most succinct business strategy to reinforce that.
2. Standing Out in the Crowd is Imperative .
Just like the need for fresh conversation in those first, awkward online encounters, no one begins their business plan with the intention to do what’s been done. But naturally, with any good business, like the most attractive person in your pool of contenders, comes competition. Here’s where your social media strategy comes into play, even if your product is widely known, using new tools, like your Facebook fan page, to maximize your reach blazes a trail for you, by using current and noninvasive strategies and giving you a killer head start from your competitors.
Make sure the content of your fan page is engaging and conversational. It’s a less formal medium and you shouldn’t shy away from the lack of limitations this entails. Always bear in mind that this is the best way to establish casual and approachable reflection of your brand.
3. Being Too Self Promotional is a Huge Turn-Off .
Remember when I said be conversational? I’m going to take this chance to reiterate it, I cannot stress enough that your Facebook fan page is not the place for a hard-sell. Like other inbound marketing platforms, it is simply another way to engage (marriage pun anyone?) with your prospects. Don’t lose sight of the main reason why people are visiting your fan page in the first place, to size up and get to know your company; In dating terms: you wouldn’t consciously overwhelm someone you’ve just been emailing back and forth with.
4. Show Don’t Tell the Benefits You Could Offer.
Yes, I realize this might seem to totally contradict the advice above, but social media marketing is a strange beast that must be completely understood to fully reap the benefits. So when creating content to update your company’s fan page, instead of begging for their patronage, play a little hard to get. By providing your leads with the resources and information they need to generate organic interested, you’re page will evoke the sense that investing your product or service was their idea. Which, by the way, is idyllic.
5. Link To And Incorporate External, Relevant Content.
A great way to establish credibility with your demographic is by demonstrating your level of involvement within your field. Like the all-important stories you tell about your mutual friends to wrack up cool-points on a first date, linking to related articles or tying your industry to a current event is a great way to capitalize on buzz that’s already happening.
The best part of this strategy is the fact that most of the work has already been done. The information is all there, all that’s left up to you is to repackage the article/YouTube video/case-study to bolster your brand’s Facebook page reach, and in turn your general industry presence. You wouldn’t strike up a conversation on a date about the current events in the stone ages, so what good would it do to run your company’s Facebook page that way?
6. Be Current, Be Consistent: Update, Update, Up date .
If you only choose to pay attention to one section, let this be the section. Online dating (and love of all forms) as well as social media marketing techniques, requires constant care and attention to see the full extent of their benefits. Just like the intuition to get to know someone before you Blackberry message him or her exclusively, your customer base wants to get to you before they commit.
Regular and topical updates to your fan page will keep things fresh, and engaging, it will also demonstrate your company’s value over time. But furthermore, inbound marketing, like online dating, should be a pleasant experience for both company and consumer, so by following these intuitive steps, you should set the tone for a lasting love affair.
Originally published Jul 14, 2011 1:15:00 PM, updated March 21 2013