By Kevin Gault
Simply sending your well-crafted white paper to your many “fans” on Facebook is an obvious way to use the site for marketing. I recently spoke with two Facebook experts who shared some not-so-obvious methods you might want to try.
Have you heard of Facebook Markup Language (FBML)? Until I chatted with Denise Wakeman (www.biztipsblog.com), online marketing advisor and co-founder of BlogSquad, neither did I. But Denise swears by it as an effective white paper marketing tool.
Customize Your Page
“Creating a custom landing page isn’t an obvious thing to do on Facebook, but it’s a great option,” Wakeman says. “FBML is a free application. Search for it in Facebook applications and attach it to your fan page. It gives you a box where you can post HTML code for your landing page. When someone contacts you on Facebook, instead of having them go to a wall that has many posts on it, you send them to the landing page that tells them who you are, what you do and how to connect with you. It also gives free access to your white paper.” Click here to see how Michael Stelzner set up SocialMediaExaminer.com’s Facebook fan page.
Denise also suggests that you brand your Facebook landing page. When you create the page, accent it with your company’s logos and colors. If you don’t have an in-house design team, a designer can create your custom page for a small investment. It’s worth the price to give your page a professional look.
Target Your Message
Another potent tip comes from Mari Smith (www.marismith.com), the world’s leading authority on using Facebook for business. Mari suggests advertising on Facebook “Using advertising on the site is the most targeted messaging you can buy. You can drill down into precise keywords to give your Facebook fans exactly what they’re looking for. This might sound like an expensive way to go, but it’s actually very affordable.” Ads can be targeted by geography, gender, ad and keywords, to mention a few.
Mari also suggests that as you write your white paper, staying in touch with your fans can serve as “pre-marketing.” As you’re working on your paper, give status updates such as “I’m writing a white paper on this topic and I’d like your advice” or conduct a poll that lets you tap into your fans’ knowledge base. This is “crowd-sourcing”—letting your fans be a source of content for your white paper. It’s also an effective way to market your paper before it’s completed.
Denise and Mari also suggest some tips for marketing white papers on Facebook:
* No hard sell—if you’re selling or offering something, don’t be too forceful or impersonal. Use friendly, conversational language. When you do a status update, mention that you’re finishing your white paper and you’re excited to launch it. This tactfully plants seeds in the minds of your Facebook contacts by telling them about the valuable information your paper will provide.
* Post every day—once you set up your page, connect with your fans twice a day. In your posts, encourage them to ask questions and to comment. Answer their questions and post links to related information so they realize that you’re a trusted resource and not just peddling your own products.
* Get contacts into your database—it’s best to move contacts from the platform—that’s what Facebook is—and into your own database. On your fan page, be sure to include information on how fans can sign up to get your free white paper. That moves their contact information into your database.
Employing these tactics is worth it when you consider the immense possibilities of marketing your white papers on Facebook. There are over 400,000,000 active Facebook users and the average user is 35 years old with a higher-than-average income. Without doubt, many Facebook users run their own businesses and value the information provided in white papers.
So by all means, use FBML to create a custom landing page on your Facebook fan page and brand the page with your company’s logo and colors. Try the focused advertising available on Facebook and do pre-marketing by keeping fans updated on your white paper project. Avoid hard selling, do posts twice a day and move contacts into your database.
After your business booms, you’ll have to decide whether to reveal these tactics when an impressed competitor asks, “What’s your secret?”