Now Add Your Anniversary on Facebook

One of the things I’m horrible at is remembering birthdays. One of the best things about Facebook for me was the birthday notifications of friends and family. After all, who doesn’t like getting a “Happy Birthday” note on their wall!

As part of the numerous changes Facebook has been pushing live another important annual celebration will be included in the mix: the anniversary. Facebookers can now go to their relationship status and add the specific day, month and year in which they became a couple.

To update your anniversary status, simply click on the Edit (Update Info) button on your profile (soon to be known as timeline):

  1. Click on the Friends and Family bo
  2. Select your anniversary date from the Anniversary dropdown menu
  3. Save your changes

Please Note: You must first be in a relationship with someone on Facebook in order to select an anniversary date.

Facebook Relationship Status

One less date for me to try to keep track of! Now I just need to get my parents on Facebook!

1-1000 Facebook Fans in 35 Days

One of my favorite blogs, Freelance Folder, created a Facebook fan page on October 6th, 2009. On November 10th,approximately 35 days later, they reached the one thousand fan milestone. How did they do it? I’ll show you how they accomplished it and how you can to!

First things first, we’ll run through a quick guide to creating fan pages. From there we’ll move into some of the fan growth strategies.

Getting Started With a Facebook Fan Page

To create a Facebook fan page you can simply visit the public page that allows you to create ads and pages. Click on Create a Page. You will be given three options:

  1. Local
  2. Brand
  3. Artist, Band, or Public Figure

Creating a Facebook Fangpage

Simply choose the category that suits your business the most and follow the instructions. As you can see, creating a fan page on Facebook takes about five minutes max. That said, building it and growing a community within that page can take months.

Now that you’ve created a fan page for your business or site, let’s start growing it.

Get Your Friends Involved

The first thing you want to do to grow your fan page is utilize close friends on Facebook. Let your friends know that you have created a fan page and ask them to be a fan. It’s almost guaranteed that they will become a fan without hesitating.

Save the first few days for the close-knit group and then extend invites to a larger group.

Now it’s Time to Send Some Invitations

Suggest your fanpage to friendsNow that you have asked your close friends to become fans, it’s time to send out invites to your acquaintances.

If you have a few hundred friends, do not send out invites all at once. You don’t want a spike of fans one day and be dead in the water the next day. A great ‘rule’ to follow is to send out invites in sets by first letter.

 For example, you can send out invites to those folks with names thta begin with the letters A, B and C on day 1. On the second day, send out invites to people whose name begin with the letters D, E, F and G and so on.

This way you don’t end up getting fifty fans one day and nothing the rest of the days. The Suggest to Friends feature is on the left right under your fan page profile picture as seen in the image above.

Now that you’ve sent out your invites, you need to decide whether to run an ad campaign to promote your fan page.

Run a Facebook Ad Campaign (optional)

Being a freelancer myself I know that budget are extremely tight. That said, if you can spare $5.00 to $20.00 I highly recommend running an ad campaign. Facebook allows you to target your ads and gives you the option to pinpoint who sees the ad. You can target ads based on age, gender, location, profession, etc.

Facebook ad campaign

You can either pay for impressions or for clicks. I recommend the impressions model because the main goal is to get the page seen by as many people as possible. Even if they don’t click and sign up when they see the ad, there is a possibility that they might come back later.

To create an ad, go to public page that allows you to create ads and pages.

At this point, you can start promoting your fan page through your website.

Cross-Promote Your Fan Page

Now that you are done asking for help from your close group of friends and sending out invites, it’s time to start promoting on your web properties.

Talk about your fan page on your blog or your site – and don’t forget about Twitter! Grab a fan page box and embed it on your blog.

Promote with a Fanpage box

After you are done implementing the above tips, be sure you are engaging with your fans. Above all, make sure your fans are interacting. There is no point in having a fan page with thousands of fans where no one really interacts. So let’s see some of the ways to pull in people without really having to ask them to become fans.

You should follow the tips outlined below as soon as you get your fan page up and running.

Your Updates Should “Call For Action”

Ask questions to draw participation

One of the best ways to “call for action” through your updates is by asking a question – something that Freelance Folder does extremely well. People love to voice their opinion and share their expertise. Make sure your updates ask them to do that. Simply linking to each article you publish on your blog won’t help you much as far as growing your fan page goes.

Two of the best ways for your fans to interact are through the Like and Comment features.

Like and Comment Are Your Best Friends

Facebook "like" feature

These Like and Comment features are extremely important to growing your fan page. Every time someone comments on your update or clicks the like button it shows on their feeds. Your fans’ friends see their profile or feed on the main page. They also see that one of your fans have been commenting on or using the like feature on your fan page. This can creates a viral effect.

If the update is good enough and really thought-provoking, those users who didn’t know about your fan page might join because they saw someone they knew on Facebook actively using it.

The key is to make sure your fans are participating and using those Like and Comment features so that it shows on their feeds. This is one of the best ways to get your fan page exposed to as many people as possible.

Now onto third party apps…

Utilize Third Party Apps

Blog and Twitter Tab on Facebook page

One of the reason Facebook is so popular is because of all the third party Facebook apps that are out there. I am talking about the apps that actually add value to your fan page.

If you look at Freelance Folder’s fan page, you will notice two tabs at the top that are not default tabs for fan pages — News and Twitter. If you click on the News tab you will see our recent posts. If you click on the Twitter tab you will see our Twitter updates.

These apps allow for a single stop information source for their fan base. (you can find these apps at involver.com for free). Now fans can quickly check Facebook updates, see what’s new on the blog, and even see what is being tweeted.

I personally think one of the best Facebook apps is the FBML application, also known as FaceBook Markup Language. You can use this app to create customized tabs, etc.

Here is a good example of a custom welcome page created by AllFacebook for their fan page using FBML.

Using FBML app to create a custom page for your fanpage

We’d love to hear your experience growing your Facebook fan page! Do you have any additional tips to share?

How To: Customize Your Facebook Page & Attract More Fans

Facebook Fan Pages are gaining popularity due to their high adoption rates among Facebook’s 300+ million users. Currently more than 10 million users become fans of Pages each day. However, the basic fan page layout is quite, well, basic. Adding some simple modifications can really make a Fan Page standout and  attract those valuable fans. By doing so, you’ll benefit not only improved appearance, but it is easy and cost effective as well.

The average Facebook Page lacks the ability to modify a page so that the visual appearance can match that of your website, promotional material or landing page. One simple application can add this functionality to your pages and pull in Facebook statistics as well.

The application Static FBML will allow you to create a new tab on your Facebook Page that can be completely customized to mimic your web presence and branding by displaying HTML and FBML so that you can render a truly customized section for your fans. Here is a step-by-step look at how you can implement this tactic.

First, you must have an active Facebook Page that you have admin access to. Then, head over to the Static FMBL Page and choose the “Add To My Page” link:

Static FBML

Once clicked, you will have the ability to choose a page (or pages) that you can add this application to. The application will then be added to the chosen Page(s) and will be labeled “FBML.”

Next, you will want to click “edit your page” then choose to edit the “FBML – FBML” application.

Change Name of Box

This is where the magic happens and the customization occurs. You can use simple HTML to fill this page and really have it stand out from your competition. Important: javascript is not supported, so stick with plain old HTML for best results.

There is also a good deal of helpful conversations which can enhance your troubleshooting within the “Discussions”  box of the FBML Page if you get stuck.  Coca-Cola and Gap both offer a great example of a customized FBML Page if you are looking for a few creative ideas.

Now, you should have your customized look in the newly named box … but you are not done yet! If your newly created page is really important for your brand (timely promotion, special savings or just an all around improvement from your wall) set this new box as your default location that users will arrive on when they visit your site. You can accomplish this by simply editing your “Wall Settings”. Select your new box in the “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else:” drop down tab.

Default Boxes

So there you go! With these simple steps, hopefully you can step up the presence of your Facebook Page and differentiate yourself from your competitors!

How To: Send Facebook Fan Page Updates

Over the weekend Facebook removed the sidebar action link that sends Fan page updates to your Facebook fans directly. You will now need to go through an extra click to get your updates sent. According to All Facebook, since the new Facebook inbox launched the click through rates on Fan page updates has increased significantly! We highly recommend Page administrators take advantage of this increased visibility.
So how do you send the updates? Simply click on the “Edit Page” link on the sidebar. On the right hand side under “Promote Your Page” you will see a link which says “Send an Update to Fans”. Despite the decreased visibility page updates are extremely useful for reaching those Fans who’s feeds your stories may not be displayed in.

As Fan Page updates continue to be implemented we’ll be sure to keep you up to date!

Facebook Rockstar Marketers Roundtable

At SES Chicago there was a great roundtable discussion from some of the best Facebook marketers in the business. I thought it would be beneficial to provide a quick run-down of the questions and answers for those Facebook marketers out there!

Here is a quick rundown of the panel:

Moderator:
Marty Weintraub, aimClear

Speakers:
Addie Conner, Avenue100 Media Solutions
Melissa Mackey, Fluency Media
Muhammad Saleem, ChicagoNow

So what are the burning questions and topics coming from the audience?

* Better metrics
* Advanced targeting features
* Job and talent search using Facebook
* Percentage of spend on Facebook
* Is it better to get a fan or a web site visitor?
* FTC regulations (it’s the wild west)
* Conversion funnels from Facebook
* Strategy for moderating speech from your advocates [Marty just laughs] * ORM

So onto the question and answer.

What do you do when you first walk up to Facebook as a business?

Mu: They didn’t have anything when they started: no vanity URL, no profile, no call to action. Match your branding objectives to your actual platform.

How do you make money?

Addie: It’s all about knowing your audience. Do a survey, send e-mails, get the analytics. Get the users that have demand even if they don’t already know it. They’re in academic lead gen. They know who wants to and should be a nurse before they do.

Marty: Reputation defense is something you need to do for sure. Go into organic search and see what comes up. Then pretend you’re setting up ads and see what’s showing up for your company.

What should I do? Facebook page, group, profile?

Mu: We have a page for our corporate presences for the whole network. At the same time, some individual bloggers have groups because they need greater levels of control and more intimate conversations. Groups are limited to 5000 members and you can e-mail all of them. Admins on page have larger membership but can’t email.

Melissa: They started with a group and moved to a fan page.

Marty: Facebook gives marketers great tools to do classic human tasks. He used to have to feed photos to his mother by taking the pictures, developing them, driving them to her. Now he can post them on Facebook.

Is it possible to target people by Facebook Wall posts?

Addie: It’s not possible. It’s not one of the options.

Marty asks Addie: What information do you pull down from the Facebook API?

Addie: It’s not as robust as it should be. They use it for click information. They found that people who clicked on their ads were also interested in the Bible so they created a religious schools landing page.

Tell me about the word of mouth marketing. How do you greet people? How do you find the right people?

Mu: They didn’t approach Facebook as something different than the rest of their other social sites. They always put in a call to action to bring visitors from other sites to their fan page.

Melissa: They promote events. They played around with the number of things that they were posting and what time of day. Mid morning, lunchtime and mid afternoon are the best times to post.

Addie: User behavior patterns on Facebook are incredible. Users convert at night and on the weekends. Users browse during the weeks. More people convert coming in through apps (like Farmville). You can see which apps they came from and which converts best for you.

How do you integrate Facebook Connect with your blog?

Mel: They don’t use Facebook connect but they do cross-promote everything. They post snippets and links of all blog posts.

Marty: There are a lot of ways to cross-promote.

Mu: There are lots of ways to connect. Driving traffic, sign-ups, conversations. They don’t use Facebook Connect to use allow comments because they want the user information, they want those signups on their system. They don’t post everything — just snippets of highly focused content to capture interest.

Marty: Learn to market with your snippet. Compare Digg bookmarks to the actual titles. That’s marketing.

Mu: Customize your Meta information before you click the share button.

How do you guys feel about ping.fm?

Mu: Ping allows you to cross-post across multiple services. It’s not usually good because the messaging shouldn’t necessarily be identical.

How do you integrate Facebook into your marketing mix?

Mel: They didn’t get any value out of integrating their Twitter stream into Facebook. They wanted community and Twitter was just noise. It’s all about speaking the right language. If you walk into a room and everyone’s speaking Spanish and you start speaking English, they’re going to look at you funny even if they speak English.

Mu: Twitter-specific language doesn’t translate to Facebook. You have to optimize to each.

Addie: Facebook is a young platform. There’s a lot of testing that still needs to go on. She’s talking Facebook Ads. They drive people offsite to a conversion. Their conversion rates are similar to search.

Marty: Facebook is a conversation about paid, organic and social. A little bit of everything.

What kind of staff do you have dedicated to the running of strategy and not the paid element?

Mel: They don’t have a full time person on it. The client handles Twitter because it’s more time intensive.

Mu: It’s just him at the moment but they’re going to be moving to one hour and one person per vertical per day. The best way to look at it would be that right up front you’re going to be putting a lot of time into it matching demographics and building conversation, but once that’s good, it doesn’t take a lot of time.

How do you recruit/find jobs on Facebook?

Addie: Usually when you’re recruiting, you’re geo-targeting. Then you can target by job title, degree, passions, groups. It’s all about referring your friends on Facebook, right? So do an ad that refers your friends and get people to recommend their friends to you.

How can you use Facebook Groups for marketing?

Marty and Mel aren’t impressed with the performance of Groups but Mu thinks they have a place as a small local discussion platform. Marty says they do aggressive research in terms of marketing.

Addie asks Marty: Hey, Marty, can you pay an influencer to promote your stuff on their Wall? Is that illegal?

Marty: He doesn’t know but he does know that his clients would never stand for it.

Mel: You might not have to pay them. Some people are just enthusiastic.

Mu: He wouldn’t pay anyone to do promote your stuff. For him, it’s a matter of transparency. If you say it’s a paid tweet or something, it’s not a big deal. If he suspects you’re being paid and you didn’t say so, he loses trust.

How do you keep your fan page interesting if you don’t have content because you’re an e-commerce business?

Marty: Well, you have to be interesting.

Mu: Don’t sell the service, sell the lifestyle. Don’t just offer coupons, sell a frugal lifestyle.

Addie: If you’re not interesting in and of yourself, create something interesting and build an interesting community so that you can sell your boring product to them.

Bring Facebook to your Windows Desktop

If you’re looking to bring Facebook to the Windows desktop and Twitter-centric update tools like Seesmic or TweetDeck just aren’t cutting it, you might want to take Fishbowl for a spin.

The app, built on Microsoft Silverlight 4, features photo browsing and zoom, photo slideshows, drag-and-drop image uploads and a completely ad-free way to browse and update the news feed. It works on XP, Vista and is fully integrated with Windows 7.

For those Windows users looking for a rich desktop experience, the folks at Download Squad are calling Fishbowl a “kick-ass Facebook client for Windows 7” – it’s free and built by Microsoft’s own developers, so it might be worth taking for a spin.

Privacy-Per-Post: Facebook's New Privacy Settings

Today Facebook is rolling out a new set of more granular privacy controls to its 350 million members. Founder Mark Zuckerberg already announced the changes on December 1, but today they are going into effect.

Members will now be able to choose exactly who they share status updates, photos, videos, or any other piece of content posted on Facebook. The options include: “Friends, Friends of Friends, Everyone and Customized.” As part of this change, Facebook is killing off regional networks such as “New York” or “Silicon Valley,” which are too big and meaningless anyway.

These customized options will allow Facebook members to create Friends Lists so that you can share new baby photos with family, inappropriate YouTube videos with only your college buddies, or your latest professional news with your business friends. Overall, Facebook is simplifying its privacy settings to make them less confusing.

Giving users the ability to select privacy settings on the fly should encourage more people to select “everyone” as the default for much of what they share on Facebook. This really begins to open up the data that is made public and provides even more opportunity for Facebook search.

Facebook Movie Gets a Release Date

facebook-movieThe movie, The Social Network, based on Aaron Sorkin’s narrative about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook finally has a release date. According to ComingSoon, the movie will be released on October 15, 2010. Columbia Pictures has set the date, which means that we’ll be seeing Justin Timberlake grace the screen as Sean Parker in just under a year’s time.

Production has already begun on The Social Network (otherwise known as the “Facebook movie”) and scenese are being shot in the Boston area.

Are you planning on seeing the movie?

Big Changes to Facebook's Privacy Policy – Again

Facebook is in the process of a much needed overhaul of their privacy structure, one that is bound by a rather complex yet ineffective model. They will be allowing users to control permissions for browsing personal photos and entries. The system will be based off of three tiers- friends, friends of friends and everyone.
Currently, users are bound by groups defined by college boundaries, which is a model that has become obsolete.  Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a post Tuesday evening:

“almost 50 percent of all Facebook users are members of regional networks, so this is an important issue for us. If we can build a better system, then more than 100 million people will have even more control of their information.”

Facebook is suggesting that once the overhaul takes place, users should educate themselves on the new settings and make changes accordingly. We will alert you of the changes when they take place.

Facebook Goes Red for World AIDS Day

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day. Facebook is working along with other companies such as Google and Twittter to help raise awareness about AIDS in Africa.

If you would like to do your part in raising awareness about Aids, head on over to www.facebook.com/joinred where you can share the (RED) video and even turn your profile picture (RED). From the link above you can also  shop for various products that are part of the (RED) campaign. A large portion of the procedes will go toward finding a cure for this horrible disease.

A sampling of the products you’ll find include the red iPod Nano and the red Dell Inspiron Mini 10v.