How specifically should businesses leverage third-party apps to generate leads for Facebook Timeline? What works and what doesn’t?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Grow Your Fan Base
Facebook is a critical platform for businesses as it provides a primary source of web traffic and an organic dialogue with fans who, according to Facebook, spend an average of two times more money with businesses than non-fans. However, News Feed posts barely engage or grow a brand’s fan base, reaching only 16 percent of a business’ fan base per week. Apps can increase fan engagement by encouraging fans to share with friends. There are a number of third-party app companies that provide efficient and cost-effective tools so that businesses can focus resources on their core business. According to Wildfire’s “Earned Media Study,” the most effective campaigns based on rates of sharing are for pick your favorites and quizzes. The lowest were for giveaways and video contests.
2. Timeline is a Mini Website
Timeline for Pages has really changed the game for small businesses; Facebook Pages now look and function like miniature websites, thanks to navigation-like buttons below the cover image and full, custom tabs. Free customization tools such as Timeline Image Tool are essential for turning your page from an ugly default to a professional looking mini website!
3. Crucial to Business Today
We’re in a social economy now. Consumers are increasingly going to expect that you have a presence on the platforms they spend time on, and Facebook is where this is most true. Third-party apps can save you time, money, and effort when it comes to capitalizing on the audience you build on Facebook; rather than building your own custom pages or tools, leverage niche-focused thirty-party apps to enhance your Facebook presence. Tools like BandPage for music agencies or Foodtree for food businesses can get you live, and engaged a lot faster than you might do for yourself, and likely at far less cost. That lets you focus on making great products and talking with your dedicated followers; the most useful way for you and your team to spend your time.
4. Collect Emails and Engage Fans
Timeline is an incredible tool. Every company is on Facebook, but Timeline allows a much closer level of engagement. Third-party apps like Napkin Labs are a key resource. Use third-party apps to help collect emails. Likes are important, but getting emails is better. A great method: offer deals in order to collect emails, generate buzz, and actually make sales. North Social is great for this. Giveaways are a great way to do this as well, and Wildfire has awesome tools. If your company doesn’t sell something that is conducive to a giveaway, you can also offer a product or service that is sought after by your target demographic. If you offer something irrelevant, you may collect a ton of useless emails!
5. Doubling Our Leads!
We’ve seen our leads from Facebook double since switching to Timeline, and I think the new layout gives businesses an opportunity to leverage Facebook like never before. We have been using the AWeber for Facebook app. It allows us to collect email addresses which, in my opinion, is one of the most important things to use your Facebook Page for. We offer a free gift for opting into our list, and have a custom button for the app. We also use Strutta, which is an amazing app suite for Timeline that allows you to increase engagement through contests, coupons, and more (disclosure: Strutta sponsors my site). Lastly, we love Vokle because we can do live video Q&As right from our Facebook Page!
6. Who Needs Third-Party Apps?
In terms of managing and organizing your Facebook Page for your company or brand, I’ve heard great things about Lujure, a drag-and-drop interface Facebook Page management app. However, Timeline isn’t that much different from your News Feed, your personal Facebook profile or the stream of updates you see on Twitter. So the same marketing principles still apply. Start by producing and/or sharing valuable content based on the expectations, desires, and demographics of your audience. Encourage the sharing of your updates by your Fans. Then, always have a call-to-action that promotes what you’re selling mixed into the process — either on your blog article, like an email capture form in the side bar, or with your promotion of a targeted landing page on your site.