Facebook: The New Generation

Check out Facebook’s new features that could send your marketing efforts out of this world.
by Joe Dysart
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-creator

Now that many businesses are comfortable with the design makeover Facebook recently received, many beauty-retail Web marketers rejoice that the changes are making it much easier for them to do business on the social network—both creatively and from a business-analytics perspective. One of the most popular of those changes is the ability to easily add framed content to a Facebook page—technically known as content presented within iFrames. Essentially, the change enables any online beauty store to easily mirror the Web design on its company’s homepage and other pages on a Facebook page—as long as it’s within a Facebook iFrame. Scores of designers across the Web are cheering the move, since attempting to duplicate the look and feel of a company’s website pages on Facebook had previously presented quite a challenge. Moreover, Web marketers say the introduction of easy iFraming also makes it much simpler for beauty stores to crunch analytics, track user activity on Facebook pages, and thoroughly analyze how sales and other sought-after conversions are unfolding on company Facebook pages.

[Image: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder. All images courtesy of Joe Dysart.]

Facebook: The New Generation, p.2

AVEYOU Beauty Boutique Facebook page

AND NOW, SOME WORDS FROM OUR EXPERTS

It’s no small wonder that Facebook now has 800 billion registered users and growing. All told, the changes at Facebook have stimulated many beauty stores to update their best marketing practices for the service.

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, fun and multifaceted. For example, once people sign up for your fan or business page on Facebook, they immediately receive information about your beauty-retail business in their news feed. They can instantly share your offers to others in their social network and can effortlessly engage in discussions on your Facebook page. Additionally, they can give their opinions about your products or services and can shop on your Facebook page.

Learn from others. Brian J. Esposito, CEO of AVEYOU Beauty Boutique knows firsthand about the true power of a Facebook presence. He has used his page to build an army of fans for its flash sales, which feature major, across-the-board discounts for a limited time or until a maximum number of orders is reached. “Our most recent flash sale actually crashed our site for 20 minutes,” Esposito says. “We had tens of thousands of customers from all over the world rushing to the site just by our announcement on our Facebook fan page. Gaining someone’s attention in today’s world is very difficult, and Facebook has found a way to do it quickly, efficiently and in a way that causes mass excitement.”

Get creative with Facebook’s newly unshackled Web design features. For years, Web designers have 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 Facebook’s latest makeover, the service now offers Web designers complete creative design freedom within specified framed areas of your pages on Facebook. “I, for one, am thrilled,” says Janet Driscoll Miller, CEO of SearchMojo, a Web marketing firm. Essentially, any content that appears within these specially designed frames, iFrames, is no longer subject to the limitations of Facebook’s design language. The content can be easily designed with more robust Web design programs like DreamWeaver or Microsoft Expression. “This is a huge time-saver when you’re trying to program pages to match your corporate brand,” Miller says. “Don’t be afraid to try anything,” adds Jade Andrews, social-media manager at Austin, Texas-based Beautystoredepot.com. “You never know what may or may not work.”

[Image: AVEYOU Beauty Boutique says a flash sale advertised on its Facebook page was so successful that it temporarily crashed its servers.]

Facebook: The New Generation, p.3

Google Analytics
  • 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 says. That’s no longer a problem, she adds, 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. Other analytics programs will also work.
  • Easily track sales and other conversions sought on your Facebook presence. “Seriously, this one deserves about 15 exclamation points,” Miller says. “iFrames makes tracking conversions from Facebook—and keeping ad respondents within the Facebook application—much easier.”
  • Post a ‘Like’ button. A recent Facebook innovation, the ability to ‘Like’ a business confers an instant recommendation of your beauty-retail business to everyone within a Facebook user’s circle, be it 12 or 1,200 people. You can easily add a ‘Like’ button to your Facebook page by visiting developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/.
  • Consider other business-friendly social plugins. These plugins include ‘Recommendations,” which gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site that they might like, and ‘Comments,’ which allows visitors to comment on content on your Facebook site. Meanwhile, the ‘Like’ box enables users to like your Facebook page and view its stream directly from your website. ‘Facepile’ shows profile pictures of a user’s friends who have already signed up for your site. And ‘Live Stream’ 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. Facebook has also made it very easy for beauty stores to post to the walls of other pages. Previously, business messages had been restricted to appearing on the Facebook news feeds of people who liked you, 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 make promotion on Facebook much easier.

[Photo caption: iFrames on Facebook enables companies to track sales and other interactions using Google Analytics.]

Facebook: The New Generation, p.4

  • Frequently post interesting info with plenty of graphics. The only way to continually attract attention to your Facebook page is via constant updates to your page. Fortunately, you can post to Facebook a few times a week or, in some cases, every day. Generally speaking, Facebook users won’t consider this annoying. After all, those who ‘friend’ you are clearly saying 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. “For the beauty industry, posting photos seems to generate a lot of interaction with people. We are in a very visual industry,” says Michelle Courtney, founder of True Beauty Store, based in Eugene, Oregon. Adds Alan N. Glazier, author of Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search, “I update the page regularly so it remains interesting and fresh, and I try and draw attention to posts that contain video.” Trenton Hughes, owner of 1st Choice Hair & Beauty Supply Store, in Mobile, Alabama, is another big believer in updating. He continually posts fresh info about special sales on his Facebook page. “This constantly reminds our Facebook fans that we are open for business,” he says.
  • Engage, don’t broadcast. If you’ve had a business page on Facebook for any amount of time, no doubt you’ve already heard this, but it bears repeating: Businesses that use traditional methods to broadcast their brands on Facebook are generally received with a collective yawn—and sometimes worse—from Facebook users protective of the social network’s culture. Quite simply, Facebook users expect a conversation from the businesses they befriend and they expect it to be authentic. Says Kim Snyder, owner of Overall Beauty, based in Elk Grove, California: “I am not really overly pushy about it. I use Facebook more for sharing information, not sales. It helps drive traffic to my website.” Adds Glazier, “You can never create too much content, as long as that content you create brings more value to your visitors than yourself. Social-media efforts are successful only when you give away your expertise and knowledge, and the same goes for Facebook efforts. Keep your feed full of useful blogs, tips, videos and information. Market less than 20% of the time, or market subtly with giveaways and contests, so people feel like they’re deriving some benefit by participating within your network. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to create content and proliferate it. It’s really the only strategy that works.” Esposito concludes, “It’s simple to set up and even more simple to manage. Like everything else, it involves some research and understanding. It’s actually fun. You can instantly see and review your work to gauge its success and response. Finding that perfect formula will dramatically increase sales, brand awareness—and, of course, the most powerful thing of all—fans, or subscribers.”

Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in New York City.