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This article was published on April 4, 2011

How to grow your brand on Facebook: an interview with Buddy Media

How to grow your brand on Facebook: an interview with Buddy Media

Michael Jaindl, better known as “MJ” is the Chief Client Officer of Buddy Media, an incredibly successful SaaS platform for brand’s Facebook Pages, claiming 8 out of the 10 top global advertisers as clients.

MJ was employee #6 when the company launched in 2007. The Buddy Media Platform, essentially a CMS and analytics platform on Facebook is referred to as the “power tools for Facebook” and was launched in March 2009, when Facebook introduced Pages for brands. Last year, Buddy Media grew its software licensing revenue by approximately 15% month-over-month. Today, Buddy Media works with 600+ agency and brand clients including Sony, Samsung, Ford, Budweiser, designer Tory Burch, the NHL and the Dallas Cowboys. See a complete list here.

On Friday, at Mediabistro’s “Socialize” conference at The New Yorker Hotel, MJ gave a speech on “The Power Of Real Time Social Engagement.” In short? Strike short and sweet, while the iron’s hot. At length–growing a brand’s fan base isn’t an easy task. MJ gave the audience 4 strategies for social engagement. Here’s the run down in my own words:

1. Context + Content = Engagement

Know what your audience gets excited about. Think about what is on the top of mind for your audience; what are those “couch conversations”? When is your audience engaged? This is your sweet spot. Post to Facebook during the “sweet spot,”and when you hit that sweet spot, post out as much as you possibly can. Sounds sexy, yeah?

2. Make Your Fans Look Good

Know your audience. Understand how your audience likes to be perceived then create shareable content that contributes to that perception.

3. Think Holistically

Owned, earned and paid media need to work together. Conversations around your brand need to be continued on Facebook. For example, CNN has just under 1.9 million Facebook fans whom they encourage to participate through live chats on its Facebook page. FOX News broadcasts comments and conversations that their users leave on Facebook, which provides validation to its 1.8 million confused fans.

Brands need to give back to their biggest fans. For example, the company, NY&CO provided an offer of 50% off for all of its Facebook fans via its email newsletter. Over the course of the short promotion, its fan page grew from 90,000 to 160,000 fans.

4. Optimize Your Posts

Your fans are emotional. Your fans are busy. Respect them, love them and they will love you back.  Tip? Integrate Facebook into your website through live events promotions.

Best Practices

Be careful about URL shorteners. Find out which URL shortener is best for you. Keep it short and sweet for posts; timing is everything: post on the right day, use the right words and place questions at the end of your posts.

After MJ’s talk, I had the immense pleasure to sit down with him, including the opportunity to glean a bit more of his intellect for our readers.

CBM: What is social media to you?

MJ: Social media is on target to be a 30 billion dollar industry (per year) by 2015. Facebook is growing faster than any site in history. It is the #1 place to have a community for a brand because it touches every single vertical across the enterprise: customer service, sales, public relations. We’re going to see that cross platform integration a lot more in 2011.

CBM: How do you keep up with the news?

MJ: We were one of the first three Facebook preferred developers, so we are given early access to product releases. I keep up with other news through RSS aggregation on my iPhone. I’m one of the 10% of mobile users who uses 90% of available bandwidth.

CBM: What’s your friend request acceptance strategy?

MJ: I only accept people I know.

CBM: What makes a brand’s Facebook page great?

MJ: Shareable content. Brands can’t get away with just having a share button next to its content anymore. Brands need to understand when and what to post. You want to paint your audience in the light they want to be painted.

CBM: What should brands NOT do on Facebook?

MJ: Don’t be bitter. Don’t ever start a fight on Facebook. Don’t be negative.

CBM: Tell me about a recent and successful project:

MJ: L’Oreal recently created a national Facebook campaign, extending its social media presence out to 5,000 of its partner salons. Also, Starwood recenltly launched a global campaign, which included managing Facebook pages for every single one of its 1,000 global properties.

CBM: What do you think of Google’s +1?

MJ: I could join a Google social network, but why? Remember Google Wave? These services don’t leverage the social graph. On Facebook, the social graph is already there. The power of Facebook lies in the fact that it’s the true representation of your social graph. Myspace didn’t include your family or extended networks. That’s what Facebook gives us, one unifying technological platform.

CBM: What do you think the biggest social media opportunities will be in 2011?

MJ: Social commerce is massive for brands. [See our Key Trends in Social Commerce.] Brands should be focusing on humanizing their image and a building community fan base, hitting those sweet spots.

Watch this video for our live interview:

To date, Buddy Media has raised 38.3 million in funding, backed by WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), Softbank Capital, Institutional Venture Partners, GGVC, Greycroft Partners, Facebook investor Ron Conway, Facebook board member Peter Thiel, Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus, Roger Ehrenberg and others.