Minimalist is the answer for Bare Escentuals. Fans completely drive the conversation on wall updates, discussion boards and with pictures.
Bare Escentuals adopts a "hands-off" Facebook strategy, letting unsolicited testimonials from its nearly 200,000 fans drive traffic to Bare Escentuals boutiques and resellers. Customer feedback on Facebook even led to a redesign of the firm's product packaging, says chief marketing officer Simon Cowell: "We sell loose minerals, so customers wanted something more portable. That's where the new 'Click, Lock, Go' container came from. It was a huge improvement.'"
A very active blog page provides stellar advice on men's fashion while generating tons of feedback and user-generated comments.
Facebook has become a crucial part of the Bonobos business model; in fact, Facebook has now surpassed direct entry as the No. 1 referring site, and has become a powerful tool to generate new customers. "Every business needs a stroke of good luck," says Andy Dunn, founder of Bonobos, the online retailer of men's clothing. "For us, that was Facebook."
By using Facebook to generate buzz for parties, cement first-time customers, and sell swag, Brendan's was able to successfully launch a company that already had a loyal and excited following.
Brendan's Irish Pub, an authentic Irish pub located in Camarillo, California, officially opened its doors on Jan. 28. Months prior to Brendan's grand opening, owner Tyler Rex launched Brendan's Irish Pub's Facebook page, giving himself time to build up hype in the Camarillo community around his new restaurant—gaining nearly 3,500 fans. "We're trying to build a community, so if you take the time to post something on our page, we want to make sure that that's noted," Rex says.
Fans can buy Burt's Bees products directly from Facebook and watch the company's Employee Spotlight video series.
Burt’s Bees, created in Maine more than 25 years ago, has become one of the leading manufacturers of natural personal care products. With more than 150 products to sell, Facebook is the perfect space for the company to connect with its fans and customers. “Through Facebook, we can introduce new products interactively,” says Melissa Sowery, the company’s social media and content manager. Since last year, the company page has doubled the amount of fans going from Facebook to its e-commerce site.
Weekly giveaways and coupons make Candles Off Main's Facebook page the go-to place for discounts on its products, while informative videos and detailed pictures entice potential buyers.
Candles Off Main, a Annapolis, Maryland-based retailer specializing in home fragrance and luxury candles, launch five years ago but just joined Facebook in 2009. With 2,400-plus fans, Candles Off Main contends it’s a combination of giveaways, discussion boards and consistent responses that makes its Facebook page so effective. “Facebook probably produces less than 10 percent of our sales, but what we get from Facebook is more valuable than that,” says Susan Webster Adams, CEO and co-founder of the company. “We've gained insight, support, suggestions, inspiration and friends from our Facebook page.”
A virtual tour shows customers how to use their Clarisonic, while a contest encourages fans to send in pictures of themselves using it to win a new one.
Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, the company behind the Clarisonic face brushes, aims to revolutionize skincare. Judging from Clarisonic's 70,000-plus fans on its Facebook page, the firm is well on its way. Last fall, the company pledged to donate $1 to charity each time a Facebook user clicked the "Like" button on its page. The campaign raised $30,000 to support women with cancer and increased Clarisonic's Facebook fan base by 80 percent.
By offering recipes and allowing fans to post their own, Community Coffee has built an active fan base.
Community Coffee is a 92-year-old family-owned coffee company in Louisiana. The main goal of Community Coffee's Facebook presence is to make the brand known to potential customers and to engage existing customers with contests and trivia.
eCycler has built a community that is passionate about recycling by posting great content in its Notes section as well as by posting fun videos.
Tim Laurent and Craig Robertson, the co-founders of eCycler, the Illinois-based company that helps people recycle, use Facebook as a communication channel for their 9,000-plus fans and also to make the inner workings of eCycler transparent. "We want it to be a free place where people can say things about eCycler, give us recommendations, and maybe even share websites of their own," says Laurent.
By announcing discount codes to Facebook fans, Fresh Brothers can easily track Facebook referrals.
Fresh Brothers, founded by real-life brothers Adam, Michael, and Scott Goldberg, is a southern California pizza chain specializing in fresh pizza, salad, and wings. "We reward our social media users by offering them a weekly special, but we really excel at sharing family stories and history with our fans, as well as employee stories," says Adam. "It's a great way to connect with our customers, and a great way to demonstrate our personality."
An active discussion board allows for product suggestions and feedback directly from customers.
Johnny Cupcakes, based in Weymouth, Massachusetts, is a lifestyle brand that sells T-shirts, hoodies, and hats. Lorraine Earle, the company’s business manager and mother of the store’s owner, Johnny Earle, says the company’s Facebook page has been an unexpected boom to the business by driving traffic to their site, and getting useful customer feedback. The company now has over 80,000 fans on Facebook. Five percent of all site visits came from Facebook, the fifth highest referrer.
A colorful home page immediately invites fans to follow the company on Twitter, sign up for a newsletter, read the company blog, review products, and displays contact information prominently.
Mabel Label's, based in Hamilton, Ontario, makes sticky labels customized with a child’s name, color, and choice of icon. Tricia Mumby, one of the company’s co-founders, says that Facebook has been a terrific way to develop new ideas by tapping user suggestions. Mabel’s Labels, which has nearly 20,000 Facebook fans, also announces any specials or new products through the company’s Facebook page. According to Mumby, Facebook is the third largest referring website, just below direct visits and Google, and 11 percent of the site’s total traffic comes from Facebook, while two percent of sales comes from the Facebook Fan page.
Old Spice has fueled the virility of its "the Old Spice guy" commercials by posting them on Facebook and allowing fans to comments on them.
This Procter & Gamble brand achieved viral marketing glory last year with its towel-clad, former football star pitchman Isaiah Mustafa, better known as "the Old Spice guy." Facebook is a significant part of this 73-year-old brand's newfound edge, says P&G spokesman Mike Nortan, pointing to the comments posted by millions—1,314,456 to be exact—of smitten fans. “Old Spice uses Facebook to connect with our fans on a one-to-one basis," he says, adding that promoting active discussions and product giveaways on the page have built brand loyalty among customers.
Play the innovative Red Mango Founder's Game for a chance to buy products at a discounted rate or to win a $10 gift card.
"I personally control the majority of the content that’s on the page," says Daniel Kim, founder and chief concept officer of Red Mango, a popular all-natural fat-free yogurt retailer. Red Mango, created in 2006, joined Facebook in 2008 to better communicate with its customers. Kim says one of the reasons his company’s page is so successful, with about 229,141 fans, is the fact that it’s genuine. "We’re able to really connect one-on-one with customers and give them access to the people who are behind the brand," he says. "It really allows us to give the brand a personality and a voice that’s real and genuine."
A SKDY Super Widget allows users to listen to music, view videos, read blogs and buy merchandise directly from Facebook.
Founded in 2003 by Rick Alden, Skullcandy markets and sells gritty designer headphones, backpacks, apparel, and accessories. While Skullcandy's Facebook page has a discussion board and a "Super Widget" that links content from its website, its fan page's popularity is clearly a result of heavy engagement with customers. Skullcandy constantly posts news updates, product announcements, articles, contests, behind-the-scenes pictures, and videos to its wall, providing fans multiple chances a day to comment.
With dozens of videos, over 1,000 photos and a score of user-generated comments, SmartPak has cultivated a very active Facebook community.
Based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, SmartPak was founded in 1999 with the mission to simplify the administration of nutritional supplements and medications to horses. Donnie Steel, SmartPak’s director of new media, says that Facebook started as a means to market new products, but has turned into a place for its nearly 110,000 fans to congregate, chat, and offer their suggestions. Facebook is the No. 7 revenue referrer to the company website. In the end, though, Steel says Facebook is all about delivering great customer service. "We take customer complaints as a way to solve problems," he says. "We use Facebook to make sure the customer is happy."
Facebook provides a unique platform for Stella & Dot to train their direct sellers about each product and how it can be worn, using videos, pictures and forums.
Stella & Dot is a direct-selling company based in Burlingame, California, that provides an entrepreneurial business platform for women that work from home. Laurie Penn-Moyer, social media director of Stella & Dot, says, "For every piece of jewelry we sell, we produce a video that shows how to wear it and what to wear it with—the versatility of the piece. We have this rich content to share with our social community, and there's a lot of valuable user content up there, around simple ways to be stylish." The company page is nearing 60,000 fans.
With an animated video, fun photos, and intriguing merchandise for sale—such as a bacteria growing kit and Insta-snow—Spangler is a unique example of what one individual can do on Facebook to promote his or her personal brand.
Steve Spangler Science is a Denver-based company that provides students, teachers and parents innovative, fun ways to learn science by creating educational toys and conducting scientific experiments. Founded by author, teacher and toy designer, Steve Spangler, the company has been growing its Facebook presence with a little more than 10,000 fans. "[Facebook] is the perfect platform for our customers to interact," Spangler says. "It literally gives us 24-hours-a-day access.”
In addition to allowing fans to post t-shirt designs, vote on their favorites, and purchase merchandise directly from the site, Threadless also posts a ton of fun videos and broadcasts meet-ups on its page.
Threadless, the Chicago-based purveyor of awesome T-shirts, is made possible by a network of designers who submit their creations to the Threadless community to be voted on for inclusion into the Threadless collection. While design submissions are handled through the official website, Facebook is the fashion show prior to the final judgment. "We get thousands and thousands of people sharing [their design] links with each other on Facebook every week. And they use [Facebook] to get votes on that art so that those designs get scored well and get considered and hopefully get picked by Threadless," says Cam Balzer, vice president of marketing.
Special features allow users to view merchandise, receive exclusive fan discounts, gain insight from Tiny Prints Inspiration Boards, and shop without leaving the social network—turning Facebook fans into buying customers.
Line stationary company Tiny Prints, which specializes in personalized stationary and greeting cards for special occasions and announcements, has gained nearly 64,000 fans on Facebook. Originally, Tiny Prints used Facebook merely as a way to drive traffic, but lately, Tiny Print's fan page has grown into a tightly-knit community built off remarkable customer service and feedback. Anna Fieler, marketing vice president of Tiny Prints, says traffic from Facebook increased over 600 percent from 2009 to 2010, and during the holiday season, customers who were also Facebook fans spent significantly more than customers who weren't.
Zappos uses Facebook as its culture cultivator: using discussion posts, wall updates, a Fan of the Week contest, and other tactics to whip their fans into a frenzy.
Company culture rules at Zappos. So how does that translate onto its Facebook page? "It serves as a small, tight-knit community for our very loyal, rabid fans, numbering well over 100,000 on Facebook," says Aaron Magness, senior director of brand marketing for the powerhouse online shoeseller. That means Zappos won’t sell on Facebook or use slick marketing campaigns to win fans. "It's just a place to have a conversation," adds Magness, even if it has nothing to do with shoes.