Christopher Parr wrote the following article for Adweek:
Want to know how to most effectively build your brand’s presence on Facebook. While we have presented numerous guides for marketers using Facebook, some of our guides are not created by the leading practitioners which is why we like to give these individuals the opportunity to share their experiences on Facebook. Christopher Parr directs the social media efforts for Sub-Zero and Wolf, a luxury kitchen appliance maker based in Madison, Wisconsin. Below are ten tips that he has for building your brand’s Facebook presence based on the company’s successful execution of their Facebook strategy.
1. Build It, And They Might Come
For years, people have asked “What’s your brand’s AOL/Second Life/Twitter/YouTube/iPhone/MySpace Strategy?” Facebook is the world’s leading social network, with over 400 million users – 50 percent of whom login everyday. It’s easy for brands to become distracted by the latest trends, but let’s face it, Facebook is the real deal. Affluent consumers are slowly gravitating to social networking, specifically Facebook. However, simply creating a Facebook presence alone just doesn’t cut it. It’s better to create the destination, guide it, nurture it — and allow your followers to flock to an official channel. Your brand’s Facebook Page may not explode overnight, but at least you control the medium.
2. Establish Your Page with Real Customers
Unless you’re a mass brand, Coke, McDonald’s or Disney, don’t expect a million users to “Like” your brand. I’d prefer 10,000 real fans and owners, true brand advocates — instead of an irrelevant mass. Go with quality over quantity when amassing friends — as your Facebook Page should be an extension of your brand’s voice. First, to build that foundation, establish and invite your core customers. Begin by communicating to your existing owner database and announcing your brand’s Facebook Page via email. Link to your Facebook Page on your website at every opportunity. Secondly, provide an incentive for your current customers to “follow” your brand. With a strong call to action, be it exclusive content or sweepstakes, your brand’s existing enthusiasts will propagate the Page.
3. Talk Like a “Friend”
Mark Zuckerberg’s mission statement is to “help people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers.” What’s missing? Nowhere does it state to “help people communicate more efficiently with brands and products” — so stop talking like one when broadcasting status updates to your followers. Give your brand a voice — turn off the PR speak and press releases. Facebook users will quickly “Hide” your activity. Be casual, approachable, and communicate like a “friend.”
4. Content is King
Always add value to your customers’ busy lives. At the Sub-Zero and Wolf Facebook Page, we share seasonal recipes, wine pairings and recommendations and cooking tips. Additionally, we spotlight hot kitchen designers and their latest projects. We showcase photos of great design, inspiring new customers. The actual culinary and design content is hosted on, and links customers to, subzero.com. Excluding search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo), Facebook.com is the third top referring site to subzero.com. The consumers sent by Facebook view more pages, spend a longer time on our site and have a lower bounce rate than any other referring site. To manage your social media content, find an easy solution such as Shoutlet (http://www.shoutlet.com) — which allows you to create, distribute, track and engage with video, polls, text messaging and podcasts. Analyze reports and see what works — and what doesn’t.
5. World Premiere
Reward your followers with exclusive news, videos and photography. By offering your loyal Facebook fans the “first look” at fresh content, they’ll feel like brand insiders — part of the club.
6. Be Open
I quickly leave a Facebook Page that leads directly to a large spammy graphic. Guide me to your brand’s wall — and don’t hide fan feedback, it’s more engaging to see the dialogue. Select Your Brand + Fans for your wall’s default view. Don’t create barriers to the interactivity and engagement. You’re more likely to grow followers by allowing users to preview the activity. They are more apt to “Like” your page and “Become a Fan” if they see that their contributions will count.
7. Remove & Report
If a follower states “I effin hate Apple” or “Google Sucks,” they aren’t exactly brand loyalists. Your brand’s Facebook Page is a community, a “fan” page where followers “Like” your brand or products. Most of your Fans do “Like” you — so why should it be a negative experience for your core audience? Maintain a pleasant destination for the true fans; it’s your own Page, not a third-party blog. Do some housekeeping if the Page is littered with off-topic links and comments. Remove the clutter, profanity, and MafiaWars spammy links. Don’t hesitate to “report and remove” offending followers.
8. Act “Like”able
Don’t be the friend who overstays their welcome. No more than two posts a day — and spread it out. Once, we featured four different stories and videos — all within an hour. The response was a bit negative. A follower summed it up best with “I’m a fan of Sub-Zero, but this is too much.” Respect your followers, otherwise they’ll just click “Hide.”
9. Invite Participation
On your Facebook Page, encourage engagement from your followers. Pose a question. Ask them to upload photos. Nurture a natural dialogue — and the conversation doesn’t need to be about your brand. Recently, we asked “What’s for dinner tonight?” to the Sub-Zero and Wolf followers. We received over 100 responses, including photos of their meals and recipes. Facebook is a two-way street; don’t just push your message, “pull” the best out of your fans. Invite, praise and showcase their passion — it’s contagious.
10. Friends of Fans
You’ve created your brand’s Facebook Page and promoted it via email to your core customers, so now it’s time to add new followers. To grow and expand with relevant fans, use Facebook’s advertising tools and create a new ad to target “Friends of connections.” For example, culinary maven Alison “Likes” Sub-Zero. Her friend Kathleen, also an affluent foodie, isn’t yet a follower. On Kathleen’s Wall, an ad will appear, encouraging her to “Like” Sub-Zero — proudly announcing that Alison is also a fan. From here, it becomes viral; if Kathleen joins, her activity is shown to her friends. Her like-minded friends, beyond Alison, may check out and “Like” Sub-Zero.
Christopher Parr, an award-winning interactive marketer, directs the social media efforts for Sub-Zero and Wolf, a luxury kitchen appliance maker based in Madison, Wisconsin. Sub-Zero and Wolf continue to dominate the kitchen appliance category on Facebook, with 10 times more Facebook fans than their competitors combined, including Viking Range, Dacor, Thermador, Whirlpool, GE Appliances, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air. Showcasing recipes, cooking tips & techniques, beautiful kitchens and design trends, the Sub-Zero and Wolf Page also has more followers than established publishers of similar design and culinary content, including Martha Stewart, Epicurious, Dwell, Architectural Digest and Saveur.