No I Won’t Be Your Friend
Dear business owner, I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t want my personal information being in your feed. I’m sure you don’t need to know about my friend drama or how high my bedazzled score is. I want to like you. I want to be a fan of your business, but we don’t need to play Mob Wars together, or ‘poke’ each other, or even chat. Please, shut down the friend page for your business and open a Facebook business page. I’ll like you, I promise.
Now, I don’t mean to be harsh. Many businesses started Facebook “friend” pages because they were misinformed or because they were early adopters before Facebook had business pages. I would like to gently encourage any business with a “friend” page to start the process of moving those friends to “likes.” Growing friends is certainly easier, but as you’ll see below there are several benefits to an active and engaging business page.
Five Reasons Why I Like You, I Really Like You
1. The Danger of Being Closed Down
Facebook terms and conditions clearly state that you will not use your personal profile for commercial gain. Additionally, profiles are to be created with real names. Business names are not “real names.” I’ve known a few businesses that have had their profile pages shut down, without warning for violating these terms. Losing connection to several hundred to several thousand people is not something you want to risk.
2. The Power of an Opt In
When a person makes the conscious choice to ‘like’ your page, they are opting in to your message. You’ve proven to them that there is a connection and through the power of engaging content you can keep them coming back for more.
3. Limited Popularity
While it may seem like a stretch to have 5000 friends, you may be surprised to learn that over time your brand may easily generate this kind of organic growth. Facebook limits the amount of friends a person can have to 5000. Ask my friend, Rick Bakas about those limitations. Rick is a person, but he is also a brand. He’s now created a business page for his brand to accommodate his popularity. Locally, I see several businesses with friend pages that will soon be at that cap. Don’t limit your growth, start thinking strategically how to move people to the correct platform.
4. Stats and Analytics
Facebook analytics can be a pretty powerful tool. At a glance business pages can see who is interacting with their page, what type of media people are consuming, and how effective their campaigns are. The demographic information alone can help make significant business decisions. Facebook also tells businesses the impressions (or reach) of each status update. Watching this information over time can tell you when people are online and what type of content generates the most interaction.
5. Facebook Ads
Don’t underestimate the power of Facebook ads. Facebook is the single most used web site in the world and those trends don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. With 50% of users logging in daily, and average time on site nearing an hour, Facebook is certainly giving ad spots greater visibility and power. The future of their revenue model is in ads. Business pages can utilize ads to gain more ‘likes’ or to promote a particular product or event. The beauty of ads is the ability to target who sees your advertisement. If you want wine lovers within 50 miles of Spokane, WA who are also interested in jazz to see your ad, Facebook gives you that kind of power. My personal preference is to pay per click, rather than pay per impression.
A Migration Plan
Now that you see the error of your ways and are scared to be shut down, you need a migration strategy. How are you going to move the hundreds (and potentially thousands) of people to a new location?
- Start: The journey always begins with the first step. Create your business page, add some content updates, upload the pictures you need, get the profile complete and then start reminding your “friends” to go “like” the page. Do this frequently with a stop date in mind (90 days).
- Create an event: From your “friend” page, create a Moving Day event to let all of your “friends” know that they should like your new page. Remind them that the “friend” page will eventually be shut down and if they want to continue to get your witty, humorous, and informative posts, then they better go like you.
- Encourage Migration: If you can afford to, offer a special small incentive to everyone who migrates by a certain date. Make the coupon only available on the business page and promote it through all your marketing channels.
Facebook recently added a feature to allow people to migrate their profile page to a business page. The process only transfers your profile picture and automatically turns all your friends into likes. No other data is transfered. Check out this article on Mashable for more information. http://mashable.com/2011/03/31/facebook-profile-to-page-migration/
Chances are you won’t win everyone over to your like page. Some people just don’t pay attention. You’ll most likely also gain some new “likes” as the organic growth of people liking your new page shows up on hundreds or thousands of people’s feeds. Start now. There will be some attrition along the way but the results will be worth it. You’ll “like” it, I promise.
Josh Wade is the owner of Nectar Tasting Room, Spokane Wine Magazine and Nectar Media. Josh used the power of relationship marketing to build a following and a brand for a business before opening. Relationship marketing and social media has helped drive successful business revenue without the need to spend money on traditional marketing. Nectar Wine Blog receives 12,000-20,000 page views per month and ranks in the top wine blogs in the country for engagement, traffic, and readership. Learn more about Nectar Media here.