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.
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
- 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.
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.