Everyone in natural products is enamored by social media marketing. According to the Natural Products Marketing Benchmark Guide 2011, Facebook is the 2nd most used marketing tactic, almost even with websites, and Twitter is #7. Natural marketers use social media for a bunch of reasons – to increase their brand awareness, to improve customer loyalty and drive web traffic, and for research (yup, the #1 type of market research conducted in the past 24 months by natural products companies).
But one of the things that came out from the report was the paucity of Facebook followers for each of the respondent’s Facebook pages. On average there were only 1,898 people who “like” their pages. (This is not all natural products companies, just from those companies that participated in the survey.)
So why so few followers?
Maybe it’s because these companies have Facebook pages like everyone else’s. There is no branding on these pages – just the standard wall. Don’t get me wrong – as a marketing consultant I love Facebook walls. They are the heart of any Facebook company page. But as far as visual branding goes – they only perpetuate the Facebook brand.
I went to some natural companies that have special branded pages and that are using their Facebook more and more like another website.
Tom’s of Maine
Over 260,000 people “like” Tom’s Facebook. When you go to their Facebook page, it’s all Tom’s.
The beauty of this page is that it emphasizes natural beauty and, more importantly, Tom’s brand in relation to that message. It ties in the Sheryl Crow tour and implies that people who “like” Tom’s will have access to the tour and free tickets, if they so choose.
You can also buy their toothpaste. Click on the link and you go to an online store.
So what’s the takeaway from this? Tom’s does not assume you understand their brand or who they support or that you know their messaging. They are still marketing to you. So if people take the trouble to find you on Facebook, give them a big and bold reason to join in your conversation.
Not boasting the same numbers as Tom’s, Stonyfield Farm has over 84,000 people who “like” them. And do they have a branded front page? Why of course.
Let’s break this page down for interaction. First there is a video embedded at the top and it’s about the organic movement. Not about yogurt. It features a short video of someone on the street who tells us how he got involved with the organic movement.
Underneath is a button that allows you to share your story. To do so you go to the www.yourorganicmoment.com site.
Scroll down and guess what. You get rewarded with coupons, free yogurt and groceries – provided that you share your story.
Now for a quick question: Name me some companies that support the organic movement. Or, name me some companies whose brand is associated with organic. I think you get the idea.
Do you think that Stonyfield would have gotten that across as quickly if their main page was their wall?
So the takeaway here is you can use your Facebook main page to build a community while getting across your key brand attributes.
Silk has over 79,000 people who like their Facebook page. Unlike Stonyfield which does not overtly promote its products, Silk is all about Silk (and not milk).
But what it’s really about is making Silk as accessible to the average person. You get a chance to see a series of videos that seem to be made by true users of Silk – kind of like a mash between a video testimonial and ad.
The takeaway is that you can use your Facebook entry page for whatever singular purpose you want. In this case it’s about getting people to feel OK about drinking Silk instead of milk.
Facebook Home Pages
There are not that many natural products companies that have unique Facebook home pages – so the opportunity to stand out early is still here. There are those companies that are doing well without these pages, but they are a minority. Burt’s Bees has a whopping 427,000+ people who “like” them, so you can still build up your Facebook followers without a unique home page.
For most of you out there who are trying to establish your brand, why wouldn’t you have a unique page that can reinforce your brand. It costs you the design of that page and nothing more and it’s pretty simple to do.