SEMA News—May 2011

Next-Generation Best Practices

Millions of Facebook users had been watching the latest evolution of the service—which includes a new look and feel for everyone who has a Facebook account—roll out across the network since late 2010.
One of Facebook’s most anticipated changes is the service’s new ability to easily add framed content to a Facebook page—technically known as content presented within iFrames.
With the rollout of Facebook’s new makeover this spring now a fait accompli, many web marketers rejoice that some of the service’s new features will make it much easier for them to do business on the social network. This is true both from a creative standpoint and from a business analytics perspective.

But for marketers, one of Facebook’s most anticipated changes is the service’s new ability to easily add framed content to a Facebook page—technically known as content presented within iFrames. Essentially, the new feature makes it much easier for web designers to be significantly more creative
on Facebook.

Moreover, web marketers say that the introduction of easy iFraming also makes it much easier for a business to crunch analytics, including tracking user activity on Facebook pages and thoroughly analyzing how sales and other sought-after conversions are unfolding on their Facebook pages.

All told, the makeover has stimulated marketers to update their best marketing practices for the service, as detailed below:

Understand Why Facebook is So Powerful: While social networking has been around for awhile (it was done on discussion forums long before Mark Zuckerberg got his first tricycle), Facebook was one of the services that made such networking so effortless, so fun and so multifaceted. For example, once people sign up for your “fan” or business page on Facebook, they immediately begin getting information about your firm in their news feed, can instantly share your offers to others in their social network, can effortlessly engage in discussions on your Facebook page, can give their opinions of your products or services and can shop on your Facebook page—all without even thinking about how to do these things. Small wonder that Facebook now has half a billion registered users and is still growing.

Executive Summary

  • A March 1 Facebook make-over includes features that make it easier to be creative and to crunch analytics.
  • “Best Practices” include the recommendation to post a “Like” button, which allows your Facebook page users to confer an instant recommendation of your business to others within their own circle.
  • Now you can post using your business name on the walls of other Facebook pages, making promotion a whole
    lot easier.
  • New business-friendly plug-ins allow users to converse and talk in real
    time during a live event on your Facebook page.
Get Creative With Facebook’s Newly Unshackled Web-Design Features:
For years, web designers bemoaned the fact that they were forced to use Facebook’s propriety programming for much of the designing they did on the Facebook site. No more. With the March 1 rollout of Facebook’s latest makeover, the service now offers web designers complete creative design freedom within specified framed areas of their pages on Facebook.

Essentially, any content that appears within these specially designed iFrames is no longer subject to the limitations of Facebook’s design language. Instead, the content can be easily designed with more robust web-design programs, such as DreamWeaver.

“I, for one, am thrilled with this long-awaited news,” said Janet Driscoll Miller, CEO of SearchMojo, a web-marketing firm. “This is a huge timesaver when you’re trying to program pages to match your corporate brand.” (Users can check out what their content will look like within an iFrame)

Take Advantage of Facebook’s New Integration With Google Analytics: “Not long ago, Facebook removed some features that allowed you to track your page views in Facebook via Google Analytics,” Miller said. That’s no longer a problem, she added, now that Google allows company web content to be displayed within the new iFrames model. Any content showcased within the frame can be completely tracked, sliced and diced with Google Analytics, a free program that has a great reputation for analyzing user behavior on websites.

Easily Track Sales and Other Conversions Sought on Your Facebook Presence: “Seriously, this one deserves about 15 exclamation points,” Miller said. “iFrames makes tracking conversions from Facebook—and keeping ad respondents within the Facebook application—much easier.”

Post a “Like” Button: A recent Facebook ability to “Like” a business confers an instant recommendation of your business to everyone within a Facebook user’s circle, be it 12 people or 1,200 people. You can easily add a “Like” button to your Facebook page.

Consider Other Business-Friendly Social Plug-ins: These plug-ins include ‘Recommendations,” which gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site that they might like; “Comments,” which allows visitors to comment on content on your Facebook site; “Like” box, which enables users to “like” your Facebook page and view its stream directly from your website; “Facepile,” which shows profile pictures of a user’s friends who have already signed up for your site; and “Live Stream,” which allows users to exchange comments and engage in other shared activity in real time as they interact during a live event on your Facebook page.

Post Freely Under Your Business Name to Other Pages on Facebook: With the March 1 makeover, Facebook made it very easy for a business to make a post to the walls of other pages. Previously, business’ messages were restricted to appearing on the Facebook news feeds of people who liked the business, friends of those people and, of course, on the wall of your own business Facebook page. Used judiciously, this new freedom to post to the walls of other Facebook pages could suddenly make promotion on Facebook a whole lot easier.

Post Often, Interestingly and With Plenty of Graphics: The only way to continually attract attention to your Facebook page is via constant updates to the page. Fortunately, you can post to Facebook a few times a week or, in some cases, every day, and other Facebook users won’t consider you annoying. After all, those who “friend” you are clearly saying that they are interested in what you have to say. Just be sure it’s interesting and includes images or video often. Graphics are the lifeblood of Facebook.

Engage, Don’t Broadcast: If you’ve had a Facebook business page for any amount of time, you’ve probably already heard this, but it bears repeating: Businesses that use traditional methods to broadcast their brands on Facebook are generally met with a collective yawn and sometimes even negative retribution from users protective of the social network’s culture. Quite simply, users expect a conversation from the businesses they befriend. And they expect it to be authentic.


Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan, New York. Contact: 631/256-6602


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