If you’ve seen the film The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by David Fincher, and starring Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, you may already know that Facebook was created as an on-campus web tool that allowed members of a select number of colleges and universities to network with one another. In its infancy, it was, to a degree, a closed network. That didn’t last long.
Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook” in February of 2004. At the time, it was little more than a novelty with the undergrad population at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and Yale. Initially, the thought of using the social networking site for marketing, advertising, and revenue was somewhat of a passing thought. But by the time the social networking site hit 70,000 users, Facebook was thinking seriously about advertising. In April of 2004, Facebook CFO Eduardo Saverin was pitching targeted display ad placement and looking for businesses willing to make serious commitments in order to reach their user population. Saverin knew that the 15 million students who made up the population of U.S. colleges and universities had somewhere in the area of $85 billion in purchasing power. He also knew that they would quickly gravitate to Facebook. Saverin was right. In four and a half years, Facebook hit the 100 million user mark. And they had a billion active users by October of this year. Facebook is a marketing essential for businesses large and small. It is a must for any brand.
In regard to start-ups, Facebook is often the first place they turn to as soon as they have their certificate of registration from the Secretary of the State. Generating buzz and interest in the earliest days of a new business can dramatically shorten the road to profitability. As such, many businesses are leveraging a lot of the Facebook marketing tools available. Apps are one of the hot tools in the Facebook toolbox for generating fan engagement and boosting social shares, likes, and overall influence. And as we ease into the holiday season, many Facebook app users are finding creative ways to leverage the season of “thankfulness” and “giving” as an added incentive for fans and followers to participate, engage, and share.
For many brands, it could be easily said that creating a Facebook app with a concept that borrows traits from the holiday season and begs engagement is wise marketing during the months of November, December, and January. During this holiday season, many have much to be thankful for. They actively participate in the season of giving. They look forward to the New Year with highest hopes. Therefore, a simple question like “What are you thankful for?” could result in a wall full of comments (especially when referring to military, charity, and community pages). The Facebook home page “Ticker” is uniquely helpful in generating new engagement and shares, due to the fact that even those who are not engaged with a particular brand are able to see their friends post comments, add likes, read articles, and more.
A standard company Facebook page comes pre-loaded with some default apps such as photos and events. To add to the default list of apps, you must create more apps own your own. Early apps on Facebook were pioneered by big box retailers who could afford to hire developers to build and test applications – and keep up with the changes Facebook was making on their end too. The good news is, app development platforms such as ShortStack.com have leveled the playing field. A reduced level of technical skills needed to develop applications on Facebook has given online marketers more power. Having more affordable apps has given many SMB’s the ability to implement the same Facebook app marketing strategies as their bigger competitors.
Taking holiday-themed apps to the next level could include doing an essay, photo, or even video voting contest around holiday themes. The voting aspect of Facebook apps keeps fans and friends highly-engaged – returning often to see how their submission is faring or to vote again. In these cases, it may be beneficial to set a 24-hour time span on voting.
The key to Facebook app success – during the holidays or any other season – is to design and develop apps aimed at getting fans engaged and prompting them to take action.