Facebook is such a big part of market branding nowadays, it's hard to think back on a time without it. Today, it's not that you're just missing out on a form of free or cheap marketing if your business doesn't have a Facebook page, but, even worse your brand will be considered irrelevant without one. As instrumental as they are today, Facebook brand pages only came about 8 years ago (in 2007).
Let's take a look back at how Facebook has changed for small business, and what that's meant for marketing.
When Pages was born in 2007, businesses and celebrities alike could finally create separate pages dedicated to their products. The main intention of pages was to, originally, allow users to build social relationships with a brand. Just as users could speak to their friends via comments and like pictures, they could now do the same with the larger-than-life brands they knew and loved. This new ability made users feel closer to the businesses they supported.
It was at this time we learned the value of assigning a personality to our brands. If our businesses were going to be talking back to our customers via social media, we better have a consistent voice that makes sense with who we are as a company.
A little further down the line, Facebook brand contests and promotions came about in 2009. With this update to brand pages, Facebook took interacting with the brands you follow to a whole new level. Users could now participate in fun games to win prizes, and businesses were growing their audiences through follower involvement and interaction. It was a win-win, and everybody wanted in on the action.
Company promotions and contests weren't new to marketing, but Facebook definitely made the process easier and more accessible to a wider range of people. Back in the day, you had to dish out a good chunk of cash to get the word out that your business was hosting a contest or promotion. Today, you can get the word out effectively, and you can do it for free.
The Business Timeline
In 2012, Business pages were given a timeline, blurring the line even further between brands and regular users. With a timeline, brands could keep updated on fellow companies in their industry, as well as competitors. Not only is it a good idea to keep an eye on competitors, but it's nice for brand managers to pay attention to bigger brands that inspire them- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.
One of the most recent Facebook business developments we've seen is the addition of paid boosted posts. Though this development isn't free, the option to boost your statuses to your ideal audience is a valuable tool. Plus, the pricing can range from $20-$1,500, so you get to decide just how much or how little you spend. This development forced business owners everywhere to take stock of which of their posts held value and to take a deeper look at their target markets.
As Facebook changes and develops, so does the way we market.
As Zuckerberg once said, "The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."