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Facebook has just launched Fan Box, a new widget. This is great news for brands wanting to grow a Facebook fan page. But it's probably going to drive traffic in the wrong direction for most brands.

fan box facebookFan Box provides Facebook page owners with a way to attract visitors from external sites. Page owners can simply place the box on an external web page where it will provide a window into their Facebook fan page. 

The box will display the number of fans and recent comments. It will also allow visitors to the external site to register as a fan with one-click. 

This is a great development for Facebook. It will drive traffic to the site and increase interaction on fan pages. It is an essential move in helping Facebook achieve more for brands with fan pages. Furthermore, it strengthens the case for Facebook as the community hub for brands.

However, there is a downside. Fan pages have shortcomings when used for community building: there are constraints over branding, the community management tools are pretty basic and the data on advocates is significantly restrained.

As a result if brands start to put Fan Box on their own sites, they may be sending visitors and advocates away from a space where they can guide and influence conversations to one where different rules apply.

It's the constraints of the Facebook group that have caused many firms to establish their own online communities. A good example is ASOS. The retailer recently re-focused efforts away from their Facebook page towards their own online community, ASOS Life

In so doing, they regain ownership of the customer conversations and relationships and can more directly influence brand messages and acquisition.

So how should brands use the Fan Box widget?

The best way for a brand to use the widget  is by placement on other people's websites. In most cases brands should steer away from directing their own hard-won traffic to Facebook.

Instead, they should encourage current fans to place the widget on their own blogs or pay for the widgets to be embedded. I suspect the most valuable use of Fan Box will be when it is used in place of a banner advert on appropriate carefully chosen websites.

Charlie Osmond

Published 10 July, 2009 by Charlie Osmond

Charlie Osmond is MD of FreshNetworks, and a contributor to Econsultancy.

2 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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Ilana

Hi Charlie, thanks for the mention!


We launched ASOS Life in May as an integrated platform on ASOS.com - but we're still incredibly involved and improving our Facebook page, rather than re-focusing our efforts away from it.

We like talking to our customers, but we'd never dictate where they talk about us. We noticed they were talking about us on social media sites (with Facebook and Twitter the two main examples), and we joined in that conversation with them - we have 55 members of staff on Twitter, and we actively engage our customers just by being ourselves.

We also have Customer Care reps on both sites, helping customers with any shopping issues they may have too. It's a brilliant service that I'm proud to be involved in.

And then there's ASOS Life. Because our customers are so into social media and talking about shopping and fashion, we decided to launch our own community. Our customers can create profiles, make blogs, join discussions, start groups, get to know each other, and ask each other for style advice. It's also a way for us to open up ASOS so our customers can see what's going on behind the scenes ... which is something we can only provide a snapshot of on Twitter and Facebook.

I'm looking forward to playing around with the Facebook Fan Box, and seeing what we can do with it! x

Ilana, ASOS LIfe.

about 7 years ago

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Tabitha

This is a great idea for those companies not willing or able to take on their own online community hosted on their site. By providing a forum for feedback, users can voice their concerns/opinions thus benefiting the company.

This also builds Facebook's own community, attracting new users. Companies will be seen as keeping up with the times by embracing the social networking community.

about 7 years ago

Charlie Osmond

Charlie Osmond, Chief Tease at Triptease

Ilana, thanks for the correction. Apologies if I incorectly suggested you were now reducing your Facebook efforts.

When I looked last night I was super-impressed with the take-up you've had on ASOS Life. 300,000 members within a few months. v's 100,000 Facebook fans over a much longer time.

As a business are you able to gauge the relative benefits / depth of engagement between the two platforms?

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

myra ford

 How do i uses this Faceback FanBox Help me Please me   Thank You

over 6 years ago

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