Of Facebook and dead trees
August 20, 2011 4:37 AM   Subscribe

What is the correct way to direct people to a Facebook page in print media?

I'm making an advert for a local business and they would like a reference to their Facebook page in addition to their email and telephone number. Because the advert is to be printed in a magazine I cannot simply include a link, but rather need to direct customers by giving enough information for them to find the business's page. There is also no tidy url I can use.

I don't really use Facebook, so I would like help regarding what format a direction should take. Is it right to use a "Find us on Facebook" logo followed by the business name and expect that people will just use the search function?
posted by Jehan to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing that what you suggest in your last paragraph would be sufficient, unless the business name is likely to pull up tons of other things in the search results. That said, depending on your intended audience (and available space), a QR code would also do the trick.
posted by divisjm at 4:50 AM on August 20, 2011

You can have the business sign up for a Facebook username, which will give them a facebook.com/username address.
posted by moviehawk at 4:54 AM on August 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

You could also use a URL shortener such as bit.ly, though I don't think that obfuscated links are always a good idea.

Facebook also has it's own URL shortener: fb.me. I don't know how you go about generating a link, as the online info seems to be conflicting.
posted by Magnakai at 5:10 AM on August 20, 2011

I would agree, go for a URL shortener (I tend to use tinyurl) that way it cuts down on how much potential consumers/customers have to type in.
posted by Paul Breeze at 5:34 AM on August 20, 2011

The QR code idea has a coolness factor for the hip, but it will leave others scratching their heads.
posted by megatherium at 5:55 AM on August 20, 2011

Don't go for a URL shortener; I won't remember whatever the URL is and I read the paper in the tub, not next to my computer. I will remember Walter's Carpet Cleaning is on Facebook now, though, and search for them. Make an uncomplicated facebook.com/WalterCarpet for people who do have the paper on their desk.
posted by kmennie at 6:52 AM on August 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

There is also no tidy url I can use.

But this is the best and most common solution. A Facebook page can have a short URL on Facebook, e.g. http://facebook.com/companyname - it only takes 25 likes to be able to claim such a name, and it looks good to potential visitors (whereas a bit.ly link could be taking them any place). If they haven't got 25 likes yet, that's easy to sort out (even at the worst you could spend $5 on Fiverr and get them).

http://facebook.com/companyname is going to look a lot better than some weird URL shortener (from the eyes of your audience) and anything that can easily increase conversion from the ad is worth pursuing.
posted by wackybrit at 7:01 AM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've also seen some places that say "Search Facebook for business name", although that relies on a search actually bringing up the business as the top result and not a bunch of other irrelevant or inappropriate stuff.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:36 AM on August 20, 2011

Definitely facebook.com/businessname

Or you can just put a Facebook icon, indicating that they have a page.
posted by radioamy at 7:51 AM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just don't put facebook.com/businessname until you actually have that URL. I can't tell you how many times I've seen magazine writers incorrectly truncate one of the longer Facebook-page URLs (usually removing the numbers at the end, which are necessary in the longer-style URL) to make it look like that. Go through the steps wackybrit and others describe to make sure you actually have the shorter URL you want for the business before advertising with that URL.

Alternately, you can do what one of my company's publications does and figure out exactly what people need to search for on Facebook (make sure to carefully test this yourself!) to bring up your page, e.g., "Search for Company Name on Facebook to learn more."
posted by limeonaire at 7:58 AM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

With Facebook pages, you need to make sure the business has more than 50 "likes" already for the Definitely facebook.com/businessname idea to work.

But does it really matter? The internet is all about immediacy, and it's a bit of a leap to assume that a significant number of readers in print media are going to take the time to look up the business on Facebook. There are too many steps involved: read advert, notice Facebook URL, go to computer, login to Facebook, type in business name, "like" page.

The number of people who are going to do this is too small to be significant. It's okay to reference FB in the advert, but don't spend too much time on it. However, a QR code would be kind of cool.

Still, there has to be some reward for traveling to the FB page, especially for QR code folks.

A better thing to do is to encourage your client to run some sort of contest that people enter on Facebook.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2011

Just don't put facebook.com/businessname until you actually have that URL.

That's what I was getting at with the "50 like" thing at the start of my answer above.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2011

With Facebook pages, you need to make sure the business has more than 50 "likes" already for the Definitely facebook.com/businessname idea to work.

I think the number has been lowered over time. It started out very high, but I got a URL for my Etsy shop Facebook page and it only has about 30 fans.
posted by Gordafarin at 11:16 AM on August 20, 2011

I handle exactly this all the time in ads. I'm kind of amazed this is a question, since a Facebook line in a print ad is all but ubiquitous anymore. It's pretty simple...

Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/name of facebook account

Facebook also supplies vector versions of their logo for just such usage, so you can plop the FB logo just in front of the "Find us..." line.

Never use URL shorteners in print ads. They're annoying enough online, but doubly-so in print.
As for QR codes...The jury is still out on the effectiveness of them. For the most part, marketing firms just aren't seeing much traction for them beyond the techy/hipster crowd, and even they aren't really driving anything close to wide adoption. Use 'em, if you want, but don't make them the lynchpin of your contact info.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:34 PM on August 20, 2011

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