Social media is an important component in marketing, but unlike print advertising and other more traditional forms of advertising, it’s harder to measure.
For instance, if you are using Facebook to promote your site, it is more of a soft sell marketing tool. It helps with branding and keeping your name out there. It can also help drive traffic to your Web site and build an online reputation. Sometimes it can bring in people who might not have found out about your business otherwise. Look at Facebook primarily as an opportunity to interact with the public.
Like I said, I have primarily experimented with promoting an organization I belong to (Carroll Technology Council). So far, my approach with CTC and Facebook is something along the lines of “You-who, we’re out here, and we have some information for you.” CTC is branding itself with Facebook postings. I provide people with links to articles about technology and business both locally and across the US and some fun information as well. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel – I find something interesting and find an article that has already been written and use it. Other sites will like that because we drive traffic to them.
CTC through me has a light touch except when it comes to our events. Facebook has a wonderful feature for posting upcoming events, and since CTC has regular meetings and other events, I make good use of that feature. I invite people once I post the event, and then along the way, I post photos and images that go along with that event. For instance, for our annual dinner, I will post photos of where it is taking place, items that will be on the menu and even photographs of the menu items. I stagger them, so that the event keeps popping up until the event takes place.
Once we have an event, we often post photographs of it as soon as we can. People love to see who was there and even if they were photographed. Once when we had a robotics team at a booth of ours, we posted video of the robots and high schoolers. Of course, we could have posted them on YouTube and linked to it, but we kept is simple.
The thing that Facebook has done for CTC is keep the organization in people’s minds. We try a variety of postings, and delight when one is interesting enough to elicit a response from someone. We want to interact and engage our audience.
Soft sell is the roll I see for many who use Facebook to promote their business.
If you’re interested, here’s 11 Business Benefits of Using Facebook Applications from a fellow blogger: http://www.marketing-jive.com/2007/09/11-business-benefits-of-using-facebook.html