Daniel Burstein

Social Media Marketing: Should Facebook host your landing page?

It’s the latest trend in print ads and TV commercials – drive customers to a landing page on Facebook instead of the brand’s own website or microsite. So, for example, a Toyota print ad with a contest might include Facebook.com/Toyota as the call-to-action this year when last year it was likely Toyota.com/contest.

So I can see the benefit to Mark Zuckerberg for you paying good money to drive all of your traffic to his site, but is a Facebook landing page the right call-to-action for your campaigns?

As with many marketing questions, there is no one correct answer, no one-size-fits-all solution. However, if you are thinking of using a Facebook landing page in your marketing, here are some factors to consider.

 

THE BENEFITS OF A FACEBOOK LANDING PAGE

Build your Facebook presence

This first one is a no-brainer. Every marketer and every unpopular guy you went to high school with who is now filthy rich and wants everyone to know is trying to build their Facebook presence and get those likes. While there are plugins to do that on your own landing page, it’s probably much more likely to, well, capture a like on Facebook’s own site.

 

Social proof

The basic idea behind social proof is that if others do something, you’re more likely to do it too (an apt time to mention that I read the MarketingExperiments blog quite often).

This is an idea pioneered by Robert Cialdini. And, really, the very reason for Facebook’s existence. (Well, this, and to help Zuck get into some Harvard club where the parties are just craaaaaazy, if you believe Justin Timberlake’s movie).

 

No IT support needed

This is probably a bigger benefit if you work for a small company where resources are tight (and, in fairness, those looking to avoid zombie discussions). With a good CMS, making a landing page on your own site could be easier, but since Facebook is aimed at the lowest common denominator … um, I mean, the average consumer … it is pretty darn easy to use.

 

It’s not a buy or bounce landing page

At the end of the day, Facebook is really a community. So even if you don’t get the conversion right away, at least you can get a new friend and nurture that relationship until she either comes to her senses and understands that you were “the one” all along … or decides to buy.

“It is easy to start a relationship with them at that moment,” said Steven Van Belleghem, Managing Partner at InSites Consulting and author of The Conversation Manager. “If they click the ‘like’ button, we have the opportunity to maintain a conversation with them.”

 

SERP domination …

That search engine results page (SERP) real estate is valuable. And nowadays, you can take it up with more than just your homepage. Facebook can be one ally in that homesteading claim.

“For big brands, Facebook can be a powerful tool for asserting a little extra force on branded searches,” Herndon Hasty, Associate Director, SEO, iProspect said.

“Facebook pages tend to rank especially high for brand names and, with the right management, can expand to take up two-to-three positions on the first few pages of results. This allows brands to own more natural search real estate around their name, and to push any sites – such as affiliates or less-than-stellar reviews – further out of view of potential customers.”

To really help dominate that SERP, Herndon has a few tips…

“We know that the degree to which a brand is shared and engaged in social media can affect its search rankings, and over time that will become an even more significant factor. Brands should always make sure to take care of the basics:

  • Fill in every ‘about us’ section
  • Secure the brand in the URL
  • Include links back to the main website wherever possible

Additionally, they should promote through:

  • Frequent postings
  • Link-sharing
  • Encourage sharing directly from their website

All in all, Facebook can provide at minimum, good person-to-person exposure of the brand, and can potentially drive ranking higher.”

 

THE DRAWBACKS OF A FACEBOOK LANDING PAGE

… but a hit to SEO

Herndon also pointed out that, while links to a Facebook page can help you dominate a branded keyword SERP, any links you send to Facebook landing pages aren’t going to (and sending link juice to) your own pages.

 

No LPO

While there are A/B testing capabilities for Facebook advertising, I don’t know of any for actual Facebook pages and walls and the like that essentially make up your Facebook landing page. And without split testing, it’s very hard to perform landing page optimization, which can drive significant conversion gains.

On your own site, your abilities to test and optimize are only limited by your imagination … and IT budget.

 

Terms and conditions

You’re playing in Facebook’s house, and if they don’t like what you’ve done, they can just take their ball and go home thank you very much. If you run afoul of their guidelines, Facebook can tear down your wall.

 

Command and control

As with testing, what you display on your landing pages is only limited by your own imagination (and, again, your willingness to listen to zombie stories while you tell IT what you’d like your page to do). While Facebook is quite flexible and even has its own language (Facebook Markup Language), you are still limited by what this platform will allow.

 

Related Resources:

MarketingSherpa Social Media Marketing Tool Kit

347 million Europeans use social networks (results of Insites Consulting’s global social media study)

Social Signals Are Here to Stay: Google+1 and its Influence on SEO

 

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  1. November 2nd, 2011 at 05:53 | #1

    I’ve always thought Facebook LP is a good strategy for well-known brands, that already has a huge group of fans. Do you think, Daniel, a Facebook LP can be really useful, in terms of gaining prospects, for a small brand? I ammit, I’m still quite skeptical…

    One more question: is inserting social buttons on a “classic” landing page helpful?

  2. November 2nd, 2011 at 10:37 | #3

    Totally agree with you, Daniel. I’ve asked about plopping a social button on a LP, just because some collegues of mine they think it’s something usefull. They say something like: “If I’ve created a good content, If I have a good service, why shouldn’t I allow prospect to share it?”. In general, I think that LP is not the right place where to put social buttons, it’s one thing you’re supposed to click one, and it’s not the form button.

    I do apologize, I went little off topic.
    Thank you Daniel.

  3. November 2nd, 2011 at 11:55 | #4

    Hey @Valentina,

    It’d be really interesting if you tested those social buttons. See if they drive more revenue. Your conversion rate on the page might go down, but the traffic could go up (from the sharing) which might actually drive more revenue.

    Let us know what you find out from the test and we’ll write about it on the blog. :)

  4. November 2nd, 2011 at 13:46 | #5

    Hi Paul, sure, I’ll try and I’ll let you know.
    I’ll be glad to share with you my experiments, and I’ll be honered if you’ll write about them on this blog ;)

    In the meanwhile, after joing your amazing LPO online course, I’m renewing the all look of my website. I’m sure that, thanks to your advices, I’ll gain more prospects with the new version.

  5. November 2nd, 2011 at 13:49 | #6

    Ehm… I meant “after joining” :-/

  6. December 2nd, 2011 at 09:54 | #7

    There are solutions to introduce LPO to your facebook landing pages. A custom page in Facebook is nothing but an iframe to an existing page on your site. So, you can employ your same A/B solutions (GWO, LiveBall, etc.) at the source of the page and you will have LPO.

  7. December 2nd, 2011 at 10:26 | #8

    Facebook is great to pull people from into your own community. Its a great way to get your message out, but anyone who puts their “Group” on Facebook is really missing the boat. The “value” of members is owning the data, but when you use a Facebook group, Facebook owns the data. The system I built offers Members community features like Facebook, uses Facebook API to pull the member’s Facebook profile info in the Project community database (as well as Google, Twitter and soon LinkedIn) when Members register. Then we use Invite features for Members to then recruit all their friends and associates in Facebook, Twitter, Google, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, Live, and many others. Facebook Groups are good for Facebook, but not for enlightened folks. Although, they do need the extra money? :-)

  8. December 2nd, 2011 at 10:46 | #9

    Interesting post as I’ve had similar experiences except with a different social networking site. You should also include some issues with paid search as domain level QS affects everyone. For example, if Joe Bloggs had facebook.com/JoeBloggs and had a poor PPC campaign throwing traffic into it and Toyota had paid search throwing traffic into facebook.com/Toyota, then Toyota would risk having to pay higher CPCs because Joe Bloggs is dragging down the QS of the domain. Perhaps an extreme example maybe. Thoughts?

  9. December 2nd, 2011 at 10:50 | #10

    Daniel,

    Good advice, overall… in particular, your key warning: “there is no one correct answer, no one-size-fits-all solution.”

    However, in regard to your initial assumption that “it’s probably much more likely to, well, capture a like on Facebook’s own site,” the results from a recent campaign we ran for a client showed the exact opposite by a wide margin.

    In a nutshell, like most brands our clients initial social media marketing efforts focused on building and leveraging a large base of ‘Fans’ on Facebook & other social media sites. Relative to their competitive set, they were ‘successful’ in terms of Fans, Followers, etc.

    As an advertising agency that puts a lot of emphasis on Brand Management, we were concerned about the impact of building a community of our client’s ‘Brand Advocates’ on someone else’s website.

    As a result, we developed & tested something we called the Q&A Dialogue Brand Advocates Campaign, which delivered the following results:

    - 20X more traffic to the landing page on the clients website vs. their best FB-focused campaign.

    - Total website page views jumped significantly, as the campaign’s landing page traffic filtered out to other parts of the website, after customers completed their business on the landing page.

    - Most importantly, within just 3 weeks the ‘brand’s online community’ (on the brand’s website) enrolled twice the number of customers it had taken them 3 years to enroll on FB.

    While we will continue to test & understand each clients individual results, the smart brand marketer will focus on building a community of brand advocates on its own website. That, of course, starts with a strategy of driving customers to & engaging customers on your own branded website… not someone else’s website.

    • December 2nd, 2011 at 12:09 | #11

      Thanks,
      I would love to hear more about your success…and our audience might as well. If you’d like to have one of our reporters contact you about potentially publishing a case study, please email me.

  10. December 2nd, 2011 at 13:21 | #12

    Good write up Daniel. Creating a landing a page (or fan gate) doesn’t have to be very difficult on Facebook. Facebook itself can be a wonderful source of cheap leads for small businesses through FB Ads and certain viral methods of marketing.

    On the subject of Facebook landing pages, one of the things that we’ve found to be more effective when using FB Ads is to use a landing page on Facebook as opposed to redirecting them off FB and onto a stand alone landing page. I guess people don’t want to be yanked off Facebook without their say so.

    Another very important thing to do is to collect their personal email address from the get-go and keep most of the selling through the email follow-ups, websites, and such. People don’t really like to be sold on Facebook. Some of our product users find it much more effective to have an FB Ad or just your default Landing Page on Facebook to have a great free offer (video, coupon, ebook, etc) for those to “Like” your page and on the other side they can receive that free offer either right there or request which email to send it to with an option box on that page.

    We tend to keep Facebook strictly for building that social credibility that you mentioned and keeping fans/customers engaged and informed. Again, I’m referring to smaller businesses and not so much the larger brands like Toyota and Coca-Cola but I see a lot of those guys grabbing personal email info and dragging the sales process off Facebook as well.

    Look forward to reading more from you.

  11. December 8th, 2011 at 18:16 | #13

    Great article…. I wanted to comment on doing A/B testing for Facebook landing tabs.

    “While there are A/B testing capabilities for Facebook advertising, I don’t know of any for actual Facebook pages and walls and the like that essentially make up your Facebook landing page.”

    At Webtrends we are leveraging Optimize, http://webtrends.com/products/optimize/, to do landing page testing within Facebook.

  12. March 28th, 2012 at 21:48 | #14

    Facebook really is one helpful way of creating a traffic on your website… One great way of advertising as well…

  1. December 28th, 2011 at 03:03 | #1
  2. January 12th, 2012 at 03:02 | #2
  3. February 2nd, 2012 at 09:46 | #3