By now, I'm sure that as a venue owner, you've heard that you should be on Facebook. What does it really mean to be on Facebook, and why is it important?
Facebook's Evolution with Businesses
First, a little history on Facebook and its evolution over the last few years. Facebook was initially open only to college students then expanded worldwide to anyone interested in connecting with friends. Eventually tech-savvy businesses realized that they too could jump on the Facebook bandwagon by creating their business as a "person" and asking fans and clients to "Add [them] as a Friend". When Facebook realized that businesses were building profiles, they developed an official way for a business to join the Facebook family with the creation of "Pages".
Interaction with Fans Offers Free Advertising
Today, any person that has a FB login has the opportunity to create a Facebook page. Having a FB page allows your fans to "like" your venue page providing them with your real-time updates such as event announcements, links to purchase tickets, and coupons or other specials in their personal News Feed along with their friends'. And when you invite feedback from fans, the interaction is posted to their feed enabling their friends to learn more about your venue, too. This is unobtrusive opt-in advertising at its best!
Facebook Tools for Venues
In addition to increased visibility, FB offers Page owners a complete demographic breakdown of fans by age range, gender, and locale, allowing your venue to tailor event announcements, graphics, and other calls to action accordingly. Find out which of your posts gain the most traction with a day by day breakdown of unique visitors and page views by Facebook tab (i.e. Wall, Videos, Events, Photos).
Facebook also lists your Page's top "External Referrers" showing you which websites are driving traffic to your Page helping you monitor the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns by comparing the number of visits from radio station or newspaper websites, Twitter, and even your own venue's site. "Media Consumption" statistics let you see whether your fans are reliving the event experience through Video, Audio, and Photos after the event has passed.
New Tools Announced
After studying how Pages could be more useful to businesses, Facebook announced on Thursday an overhaul of the page owner experience with a new Upgrade for Pages providing new tools to administrators.
Greater Responsiveness and Ownership -- As a Page admin, you can now "Use Facebook as [Page Name]" allowing you to see new notifications regarding new fans, posts, comments on photos, etc. Edit "Your Settings" to send email notifications of updates as they happen. This is great new feature enabling venue owners to respond to fan feedback immediately.
Check-ins to your Page --
Offer Deals or Incentives through Check-ins -- Creating a Deal for a Facebook Page gives venues the opportunity to reward loyal customers through frequent check ins on Facebook. There are 4 different types of deals to choose from: Individual, Loyalty, Friend, and Charity. For music venues, the Loyalty Deal is a great option to spur repeat visits to the venue. Choose a deal or discount, determine how many check-ins are required to earn the discount (anywhere from 2-20), and offer information on how the deal can be redeemed at the venue when a fan gains the final check-in. As the Page administrator, you control how many times a fan can redeem a deal and the duration the deal availability.
Charity Deals for Non-Profits -- Community theaters and local performing arts venues may find greater value with Charity Deals as a way to demonstrate a commitment to the community or towards a known cause. When creating a Charity Deal, venues specify a donation amount per user check in. As with Loyalty Deals, the same controls exist with Deal expiration and the number of times a Deal may be redeemed. To keep fan check-ins "in check", venues can limit Charity Deal redemption to either once per user or once per day.
Photo Gallery Upgrade -- All pages will be automatically upgraded on March 10, 2011. If you haven't upgraded your Page yet, Preview and Upgrade your Page today. The upgrade now includes a photo gallery at the top of the page (just like the new FB profile). You may choose your favorite 5 photos for display. Don't have any photos uploaded to Facebook yet? It's time to get started because this is valuable real estate as it's the first thing that your new visitors are most likely to see. Add captions to each of your images, and when possible, add a link to a page on your website corresponding to the image.
Venues Without Facebook Pages Lose Out
There are no greater businesses to reap the rewards of all that Facebook offers than entertainment venues. Increased visibility to loyal fans and their friends, photos and multi-media offerings, coupons, and check-in deals offer huge advantages to your events and venue. You'll also garner greater fan loyalty, and as the single greatest reward, you'll sell more tickets.
Other Facebook Resources:
- Match Your Facebook Fan Page to Your Profile Company Page -- NEW!
- Helpful Pages Resources
- Understand Insights about your Page
We'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback through the comments. If you've already tried Facebook Deals and had success, let us know what you did and how it worked. Have more questions, we'll evaluate your Page and give our feedback on how it can be improved. To see what we're doing, check out our Facebook pages at: https://www.facebook.com/ThunderTix.