Registration in thematic web-servers
On the Internet there are lots of servers that contain collections of hypertext links to information resources in the marketing field. Such servers usually contain a large number of links and are very popular as a starting point for finding information on a particular topic. This can be article databases on marketing, research libraries, marketing community websites (Emerald, Sage, Australian Direct Marketing Association, Australian financial review, etc.)
Placing links on other servers and banner exchange is possible in several other directions:
– posting links to partner servers, for example, to the site of the university (CQU site homepage) and sites of other fellow-universities;
– links exchange with servers with equal traffic (other Facebook group on marketing; making a Twitter blog of the group web-page). Most website owners clearly understand that it is Twitter that largely determines traffic. By its very conception, it is a content-referral network. In other words, it gives a wide opportunity to share links and click banners;
– posting links on job search and hunt websites, as the student making the target audience are in a search for the carrier starting positions (seek.com.au; australia.santifjobs.com; jobsearch.gov.au)
– posting links in exchange for something else, such as permission to use the information materials of a server (news blogs and feeds). As all server developers face the problem of creating a significant amount of free information, and the use of information materials with reference to the source is a common practice.
In addition, researches show that people who like reading articles view more sites and have more friends (Figure 4). Facebook’s transferring of messages from servers of publications suggests that such users are more involved in the network and remain longer in it they are stimulated for it by personal characteristics and friends through social plugins. For example, NHL.com reports that the number of pages per user has increased by 92%, time spent on the website – by 85%, video views – by 86%, and the total number of visits by 36%.
It is obvious that Facebook is only a part of referral traffic of social media, but it becomes an increasingly more significant part of it as the virtual network grows and the user gets the habit of contact with external, third party and external content (in comfort framework of social graph, of course).
Figure 4. Effectiveness of sharing links with sites containing thematic articles.
Source: Kaynama & Keesling 2000, pp. 84-89.
Retaining web-page visitors and group members
Retention of visitors after their initial attraction to the web-site is one of the most important tasks. Practice shows that the retention of visitors usually costs the company much less than attracting new ones. So the company should try to use all possible means to make the users interested in periodic visiting of its site.
In this case, the objective of the user’s visit is a need for information, and communication with other users.
The guarantee of the user’s loyalty to the group and of his/her repeated visit to its site in such a situation is the maximum satisfaction of the basic need of the user which led him/her to the web-site (timely content expansion and updating; launching on actual discussions; organization of interesting round-tables, conferences, seminars and other events), as well as the creation of conditions that increase the value of the obtained service by offering additional information services (Kaynama & Keesling 2000). Thus, it is necessary to involve the users themselves into the work of the site. This can be done only by paying constant attention to the work with the site audience, and using special tools, which include:
– Discussion board and opportunity to start new topics;
– Wall and opportunities to share info/photos/videos/link on it /, comment and post like;
– System of collective decision-making, voting;
– Games, contests;
– Mailing lists and discussion posts, events;
– Opportunity to ask direct questions to marketing experts involved in the group.
In addition, to better understand the needs and desires of the audience of the site, it is necessary to use tools providing a stable feedback from them.
Suggested Marketing Program
Facebook group site provides a wide range of new possibilities in addition to previously available communication services. The main feature is that it is now possible to provide users with additional service. With one’s own web page the effectiveness of the web advertising campaigns increases, as any advertisement may contain a link to the group’s site, which provides much more information to the user, so that he/she can form a more complete opinion about the group and its offers. Apart from that, the information about the behavior of visitors on the site can be immediately transferred to the information system of the group and be used to improve their service (Charlesworth 2009). Further, we’ll determine the main objectives we plan in order to implement the project on promoting the Facebook group on marketing.
The first phase is the definition of goals and ways of their achievement, conducting of market researches, and development of a plan of necessary activities. This step is essential because the data received during this stage and decisions made on their basis will determine the effectiveness of the constructed system and its viability as a whole.
The next step is to implement a web-site. During this phase the following issues should be resolved: the development of server design and its structure, filling the web-site with its initial content. After that, the problem of attracting users to it needs to be addressed, because they are the current and potential clients of the group. So the next stage is to conduct a set of measures to attract visitors to the server. This stage involves the use of all types of advertising on the Internet: from placing the banners to using mailing lists and participating in teleconferences.
The mentioned three stages are concluded by the fourth one: summing up basing on the comparison of the obtained results with the planned ones in the context of previously established criteria.
The subsequent section is devoted to the detailed discussion of the marketing strategies, which are to be introduced in order to reach the abovementioned objectives.
Further, the tasks that are to be fulfilled within two years are followed by the corresponding marketing strategies:
1. Creation, design and content of the community
According to statistics, out of 100 community members only one creates a new content, about 9 members respond to it, and 90 silently watch (Gay 2007). To manage users’ attention it is necessary to create interesting content that will attract their attention and make them respond. To be more comprehensive and closer to users, it is necessary to place the information necessary for them, share the living experience of the use of information contained in a group in articles, tell about the group in blog, post videos introducing one’s users, etc.
The type and format of information may include new publications and books, marketing experts’ opinions, useful links and recommendations. In our view, in the case of a young and active audience, the best would be the integration of videos, sound files, animations, etc. in the web-site content. The user will also be given information specifically compiled for him/her from databases. For example, comparison tables, ratings, charts. In the case of dynamic pages, it is possible to display for the user exactly the information he/she is interested in, and in a form most convenient for perception, analysis, decision making, etc. (Taylor 2011).
2. Spreading of the information about the group and attracting new users
The more often people refer to the community, the easier it is to find it in a search engine, and the more known and available the community is to potential users. Social network in itself is an ideal self-promoting system.
Thus, the main page should contain announcements of news, new additions to the library and database, marketing programs, grants, etc. Such information will be useful for regular visitors, and if each time they find something new, it will be a good incentive for the repeated return to the site (Kaynama & Keesling 2000; Shapiro 2003).
3. Providing communication
Creating in the community topics that are interesting to discuss will increase attendance and the list of the community’s friends. Once the group starts talking with users, the entire network will start talking about the group. It will become its living participant, who is trusted more than advertising.
4. Maintaining interest towards the community
Having become part of a social network and having gained some credibility, it is possible to strengthen it by making users active participants of the group’s life. Having found in a network the people who always give positive feedback about the community, it is necessary to say their opinion is highly valued.
Work on one’s own community is not easy, but living and trustful communication with users can give a good return. No longer imposing the information, but providing it through a social network, the group will gain the image of caring about customers, and this will inevitably affect the level of loyalty.
With the right approach to building business using the Internet, it will continue to improve and develop. Thus, after summarizing the first results, the overall goals and objectives may be adjusted, which may involve a revision of the issues related to the first phase of the marketing program. In case of insufficient returns from the web-server due to unsuccessful, from the end user perspective, implementation of its design, or a small number of visitors, it is necessary to go back to the second or third stage for the appropriate adjustments and corrections. Significant changes to the original plans may be made by the Internet environment itself, high growth rate of which requires constant improvement of methods and tools. Thus, the construction of marketing program based on web-server is an iterative process moving together with the development of the Internet.