How to Optimize Your Off-Line Facebook Call to Action

Don't just tell people where to go (to find you on Facebook or Twitter): tell them how to get there!

Online, it’s fairly easy to send people to your company’s Facebook page. All it takes is a link and a clear call to action. In this regard, sending people to your Facebook page is no different from sending them to any other online presence. Yet, as companies explore new ways to use Facebook, they are also looking for innovative approaches to sending users there. That means it’s time to do a bit more thinking.

Company Facebook pages are evolving beyond mere Facebook-to-Facebook destinations. At first, these tools seemed to be used as a way to capture the attention and eyeballs of people already logged in to the platform. You would like a page and share its content. Then, your friends would see it and visit the company’s Facebook page. And, on-platform action could be supplemented with Facebook ads that directed people to become fans.

This is changing.

First, companies are seeing the value of Facebook beyond on-platform interaction. They can share photos and videos easily. Tools such as NetworkedBlogs make it easy to turn a company Facebook page into a hub, directing would-be customers to the commercial site, blog or any other online presence. Further, sending your target market to your Facebook page means that, if they like you, your content will show up in their News Feeds.

So, there’s certainly (some) value in sending your target market to the company Facebook page, even if, occasionally, it comes at the expense of a revenue opportunity (caveat: this only makes sense if you have a strong marketing plan in place to convert fans into customers or qualified leads).

Businesses are beginning to take advantage of this – on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms – by using off-line promotion to drive traffic to their social media environments. We’re in the early stages, though, which means that many companies are still getting it wrong.

I’ve become a connoisseur of out-of-home advertising lately, largely because it’s really the only advertising I consume. I tuned out online ads long ago, with the exception of those on Google, which I naturally scan when searching. I don’t watch television, read the newspaper or listen to the radio. The print publications that I do read, I pick up on my Kindle, which is blissfully ad-free.

That leaves billboards, signage and in-store. And, I consume this stuff like crazy. Because of this, I guess, I’ve been more prone to notice the promotion of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in these environments. Whether on signs or store doors, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen some variation of “Follow us on Facebook [or Twitter]”.

The problem is … that’s it.

There’s no mention of the company’s Twitter handle or Facebook vanity URL. If I were inclined to obey the ad, I’d have to go to Facebook or Twitter, search and then take action. That’s a lot of work. Too much. I’m not likely to do it, and I don’t think I’m alone.

What’s interesting is that the problem is relatively easy to solve. All a company has to do is provide the necessary information to make the action easier – and it doesn’t take up space. It could be as simple as:

Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NAME

Follow us on Twitter at @NAME

I did see it done well at the Vermont Center, just over the Massachusetts line on I-91 (photo above). The signage in the Welcome Center asked visitors to follow on Facebook and Twitter, and it provided the necessary information.

This is a “best practice” that requires little effort and is likely to increase the odds of success substantially. Don’t just tell your target market where to go; tell them how to get there.