My WPMU for Facebook Business Plan

Dear Fellow Blog Farmers,

You might think this to be stupid or strange, but I want to share my business plan with you. Why? Well, have a read through this article and you'll have a better understanding of the size of the market:

http://www.merchantcircle.com/corporate/press/2011-01-15-social-marketing-continues-meteoric-rise-among-local-businesses.html

I'll sum up what the article says:

(1) Local businesses have little time or budget to devote to marketing.

(2) Social media are now the top marketing strategy for local businesses.

(3) Tried-and-true online methods trump new, unproven approaches.

(4) Use of traditional offline marketing methods continues to decline.

(5) Online marketing services companies are aggressively targeting local businesses.

Here's the critical statistic that made my head snap...

"70 percent [local businesses] are using the social network [Facebook] for marketing..."

This got me thinking. Why not build a WPMU service just for Facebook Pages? Let me explain.

Unless you've been living in a cave without WiFi, you probably got the word that Facebook axed FBML last year. That means millions of business that would like to have a Facebook Page must use an external iFrame solution. That's way beyond what most local businesses can do themselves.

There are plenty of WordPress solutions available already, like WP Fan Pro, WP Face Pages, WordPress for Fan Pages, etc. Have you ever tried to use one of these templates or plugins? They are not for the novice, I can tell you that. Plus, all of these solutions have an "affiliate marketer" feel to them that will instantly turn-off local business owners.

This means there is a fantastic opportunity to offer a complete social media marketing solution to local business owners at a price they can afford that's also profitable to the WPMU blog farmer. Here's what you need:

1. WPMU network with Pro Sites, Domain Mapping, Ultimate Facebook and New Blog Templates
2. Facebook compatible WP templates
3. Facebook Fan Gate graphic templates

Okay, here's the basic business. You're selling a fully integrated Facebook Page setup and monthly service. The Facebook Page can display ANYTHING you can publish on WordPress. They can be:

- Information pages
- Sales pages
- Product pages
- Survey/poll pages
- Contest pages

You name it... So, the more template examples you have setup, the better you will do.

Your service is more than just a Facebook Page, it's full integration. Remember bullet #1 above from the article "Local businesses have little time or budget to devote to marketing."? That means the more you do to integrate everything (e.g., blog, Facebook, Twitter...) the easier it is to prove your value. The business owner does not have the time to post to their blog, and to Facebook, and to Twitter, and to LinkedIn. BUT, if they can post to one place and have it go to all, that would be a huge value.

This is EXACTLY what I'm rolling out with my first WPMU blog farm. I'm calling my service Faceblogr, and it's based on a series of themes I'm developing that are both mobile responsive and "Facebook Responsive." What this means for my clients is that they can have a single blog that also drives their Facebook Page. Now, all of the goodness brought to us by WPMU Pro Sites, Ultimate Facebook, etc. can be put to amazing use for local businesses that need to market on Facebook with a limited budget.

Here's an example of one of my Facebook Responsive themes:

http://lecafe.faceblogr.com/

Here it is on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Le-Cafe/284844631581432

It's not prime-time yet, but I'm getting close.

How does it work? Simple. Stretch and collapse your browser width while viewing http://lecafe.faceblogr.com/ and see what happens.

The ability to make your blog your Facebook Page is a trump card. The "other guys" don't have it. It's an idea this community should embrace so we can all go kill the Facebook market.

Let's discuss how we can actively work together to further this concept to bring more business to WPMU blog farmers with Facebook Pages.

Cheers,
David

P.S., if you're wondering how I also get out to Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites when posting on the blog, I use a plugin that hits Ping.fm. Now you have the secret to a fully connected blog.

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings David,

    Thank you again for a positive insight into Business ventures/avenues in which you have shared with WPMU Dev members and for being a WPMU Dev member!

    In addition, thank you for sharing links and resources as well with our members.

    Some rep points sent your way.

    I will be certain that senior staff view this as well.

    Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

  • bynon
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Joe,

    Thanks for the feedback and the points! Unexpected and greatly appreciated.

    I do hope others will take advantage of what is possible with Facebook and WPMU. It is a goldmine opportunity. I built three FB pages for clients last week and I have not even finished launching my site.

    Cheers!

    David

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    would you mind elaborating a bit more on this part:

    P.S., if you're wondering how I also get out to Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites when posting on the blog, I use a plugin that hits Ping.fm. Now you have the secret to a fully connected blog.

    I thought to reach twitter a simple plugin that sends out a tweet for every post would be enough? or simply using http://twitterfeed.com/?

  • bynon
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I thought to reach twitter a simple plugin that sends out a tweet for every post would be enough? or simply using http://twitterfeed.com/?

    Ovi,

    If Twitter was the only other status update I wanted to make, a Twitter plugin would do. Ping.fm allows you to reach a dozen or so status and bookmark sites with a single call out from your blog. The next upgrade up from Ping.fm is OnlyWire. I have over 25 accounts setup on OW, but rarely mention it to people because they freak out over the $13 per month.

    The reason Ping.fm is limited is because most sites require a CAPTCHA. OnlyWire solves the CAPTCHAS for you.

    Anyway, the whole point to the conversation was creating blogs that reach your top social places without having to do any extra work. Using the Ultimate Facebook plugin and Ping.fm/OnlyWire you can hit everywhere that's important with every blog post.

    db

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    let me add some question here:

    2. Facebook compatible WP templates
    3. Facebook Fan Gate graphic templates

    can you give some more links about this topic? I haven't kept up-to-date with FB developments so these terms don't ring any bells with me. i.e. what does a theme need to be FB compatible?

    The Facebook Page can display ANYTHING you can publish on WordPress.

    what are you using to "sync" the looks of WP with FB? I used to use something like this: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facebook-tab-manager/ but I don't see you listing anything similar in this thread or am I missing something?

  • bynon
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Ovi,

    I don't want to "sync" the look of WP and FB, I want to use one site and one set of pages to provide a similar experience regardless of how you are viewing my site. What I linked to was an example site I'm using to test themes that are responsive to the media used to view the website (e.g., desktop, laptop, smart phone, Facebook...).

    I'm not familiar with the FB plugin you listed, so I will need to have a look at it to see what it does. What I've been looking at are the top commercial products people are using to be able to use WP as a publishing tool for their FB page. What none of these tools consider is that you may want to use a single WP site as both your website/blog and your Facebook Page. Here are some links for you:

    http://wpfanpro.com/
    http://www.wpfacepages.com/
    http://wp4fb.com/
    http://wordpressforfanpage.com/

    What I decided to do is to treat a Facebook Page as being like a mobile device. It has a very narrow display (520px) and specialized navigation requirements. It's easy enough to make a WP theme "mobile responsive," but Facebook is another story.

    The reason mobile responsive is easy has to do with the fact that iPhone, Android and other smart phone devices all have CSS3 compatible browsers. CSS3 allows you to test for media capabilities, including screen size, so you can make your CSS code conditional. With IE still being the most used browser on desktop and laptop devices, and IE9 only recently released with some CSS3 features, you can't rely CSS3 media types to work.

    What I'm working on is a method to make themes both mobile responsive and Facebook responsive using JavaScript. So far it's working out pretty well, but it's limited to a family of designs using a framework and child themes. If you do it any other way you are switching in and out too much CSS code.

    How a theme responds to the viewing media is just one of the problems on Facebook. You also must consider navigation, including links on a page. Remember, you are viewing a WP site on a Facebook Page through an iFrame. If your iFrame is say 3000px long and your viewer has used the main browser scroll bar to scroll down the page, a link on the page (inside the iFrame) that navigates to a new page (inside the iFrame) must be able to re-orient the entire browsing experience back to the top.

    Facebook Fan Gates

    A Fan Gate, for those not familiar, are Facebook Apps that work as a page switching mechanism. If you have not "Liked" the page you see a teaser asking you to click the like button. If you have Liked the page you have full access to whatever the Facebook Page has to offer.

    You can find Fan Gate apps on Facebook by using the fb search tool to search for "static iframe". Most of the apps are free or have a free mode.

    What's needed is a way for your average client to be able to create a nice looking Fan Gate page without being a designer.

    David

  • bynon
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    @Ovidiu: thanks, will read through that and check the links provided but I can't figure out how you solved this:

    I solved it my making a smart theme. The theme switches in different style and navigation elements based on the width of the display.

    NOTICE:

    Facebook just announced that on March 30 all Facebook Pages with be forced to use the new Facebook Timeline format. With the new format it's possible to have an 810px wide iFrame. This will make it more difficult to detect Facebook as the media because mobile devices operate at 800px.

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