Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing tools developed to date on the Internet. The willingness of people to post their personal and career-related interests and activities and share them with both their network of friends and the Facebook advertising engine is quite amazing.
The ability to target not just on demographics but on psychographics is impressive. However, like many new marketing tools that arise quickly on the scene, the platform is ripe for misuse and disappointment.
Although plastering a well-targeted banner ad next to a targeted user's profile is certainly better than plastering one on an untargeted page, it's still not exactly enough to generate significant ROI. For example, whereas a pay-per-click link on Google's search engine is "double qualified" because the person is actively searching for your keyword, Facebook's targeting does not capture those "in market" users who are actively looking for your type of product or services.
Facebook users are there to socialize. What is more annoying than trying to be sold something while you're socializing?
That's why the most effective Facebook marketers know that in order to effectively market on Facebook and other social media sites, you must understand and commit to the concept of "community." What is community? While scientists and Wikipedia posters debate the exact definition, one thing is for sure about online communities: it's a group that has voluntarily come together around a common interest or affinity.
Sometimes that interest is buying stuff, but rarely. More commonly, a marketer must understand what common interests are worthing tapping into, and then decide how to add value to that community vs. distracting it with a pitch. You can add value through information, enabling people with common interests to find each other (a major benefit of any community) or humor, among others.
Unless you are a brand with inherent community-building appeal, or have established a cult-like following already, you may not want to start with a "fan page". Instead, think of a cause or topic related to your brand that you could build a community around. For example, if you're a hybrid car manufacturer, sponsor a "green motoring" group. You'll attract far more people while gaining credit in the community for building on this topic.
Another way to generate interest, buzz and action is to address the social network in terms that are relevant and contextual to the situation. Burger King's Whopper Sacrifice campaign is a good example in which they challenged users to delete ten of their friends in order to get a free Whopper. It was humorous as well as effective. In fact, perhaps it was too effective from Facebook's point of view, but Burger King is craftily keeping the buzz going by offering to help you send an angry-gram if you were de-friended over a hamburger.
Here is my steam-release angry gram to "Brandie."