There are a number of obvious advantages for marketers using Facebook applications to promote their company. One of the biggest advantages that both large companies and entrepreneurs have found is that they can promote their organization or new venture online using viral marketing rather than relying on SEO (which can be a much more complex thing to understand especially for newer companies without the resources to hire an SEO consultant). Another advantage of using Facebook applications to promote a product or company through viral marketing is that it can bring in large amounts of traffic immediately without having to wait for search engines to index onsite content and tediously building links in the meantime. Of course, clever marketers can find ways to make sure that their application helps with SEO as well as provide viral marketing.
Now for the bad news. Companies trying to use Facebook Applications for viral marketing will find that the chances of reaching immediate success are not as high as they used to be. They have a number of applications that they must compete with and many Facebook users are less likely to try a random application, particularly if they do not closely know the person who invited them to use it. Marketers must also be honest with themselves about how likely the application is to help promote their company. If the application users do not feel motivated to visit the company’s website or call to purchase the products or services then the developers are wasting their time. The other major concern with using Facebook applications is that the traffic they bring in is limited to the lifetime of use for the application.
Successfully using Facebook applications to promote the flashy new product or innovative new venture they have created is actually going to require some careful planning and hard work. There are a few simple but very important tactics that developers of Facebook applications should use to sell their product or promote their business: Know when to use a forced invite for the application: The company that started the Happy Hour application required users to invite others to promote their product found their strategy to be very successful. Of course, many other ventures soon followed suit. Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t work for all audiences.
Believe it or not, many users are too lazy to take the two minutes to invite some of their friends to use the application and will actually give up on using it the second they realize they have to go through the hassle. The best solution is for developers to know who the target audience is for both their application and their company and know whether or not they will be turned off after being forced to invite their friends. If this is the case, the company should know not to force them to invite their friends to use the application at the beginning.
If they like the application, they will happily invite their friends to use it (and more importantly, go to the company’s website to learn more about the venture and the products that it is selling) Use news feeds responsibly: News feeds not only remind users to continue using the application, they also encourage their friends to use it if these feeds show up their wall. But if the application uses too many news feeds users will feel as if they are being spammed and may disable the application. Make sure the application encourages them to visit the company website or purchase its products.
Obviously, the application needs to have the name of the venture and the logo where it seems to make sense to use them. It is also advantageous to find ways for the application to interact with the company to facilitate future purchases. This can be done by offering coupons through the application or requiring the user to visit the company website to find information on how to use the application more effectively. Again, these tactics should not be overused. Most importantly, invite lots of people and hope they will enjoy your application: After all, companies never know who may want to use the application and help increase their sales or make their venture grow.