Brands and organisations are all clamouring to create an effective Facebook presence. 750 million users, 2.6 million minutes spent on the site every day, 2/3 of brands have acquired a new customer through the site – you’ve heard all the compelling statistics. So what’s the big enigma about making it work for you: content strategy? Creative campaigns? Optimum rate and timing of posts? No, the secret is the feel-good factor.
The big thing that Facebook has going for it more than any other marketing channel (and I include Twitter and other social media in that too) is that, if done well, it can create a genuine and positive ongoing emotional response. And if social communications’ major impact is on attitudes and beliefs in order to positively influence the decision making process, then the holy grail of Facebook marketing is to generate warmth, affection and conviviality in how customers and potential customers feel about and perceive a brand. The good news is that this can work in any industry, from FMCG through to professional services. And there’s currently a fantastic example of this principle in action from an unlikely source.
First Direct, the UK internet bank, was relatively late to the Facebook party, only launching its page on 30th June this year. And yet in just two months it has demonstrated a total understanding of the mindset of social communications, it has built and harnessed a 3400-strong community of loyal and vocal brand advocates, and it has done what few others have got anywhere near on Facebook: it has created an overwhelmingly positive, upbeat and warm feeling on its page. The first status update the bank posted said: “…we’re constantly looking for new ways to have conversations with our fans. Not just about banking, but about all the other fabulous things in life…” And it has done just what it set out to do, seamlessly blending posts about its services and corporate updates (always written in a chatty and conversational manner) with competitions and general interest chatter about the Wimbledon tennis championships, the arrival of summer, charities, the new Harry Potter film and The X Factor, among others.
First Direct’s Facebook page is a fantastic example to any organisation in any sector of how to build an online community and how to create brand warmth. I have attempted on many occasions to explain to companies that in order to be successful on Facebook they must talk how friends talk and about topics that friends talk about. Sometimes that has been met with success but sometimes with abject failure. It simply does not fit into most marketers’ comprehension that talking to their fans about The X Factor can have any benefit. But First Direct proves the point beyond any doubt. Tap into the mindset of your Facebook fans, create a feel-good factor and the platform will come alive for you.
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