As more of our marketing efforts get centered on e-customers who meet, shop, share and live their virtual lives on various social media, it becomes that much more important to build a brand that connects with them in their comfort zone. Most businesses today build their Facebook profiles to have conversations, announce promotions and be part of customers' special moments, but it is not easy to elicit responses from an audience that is exposed to so many brands. How can small- to medium-sized businesses use Facebook as a marketing vehicle to effectively engage and interact with their audience? Here are eight tips to do it successfully.
1. Develop a strategy: According to David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, "Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is about delivering useful content at precisely the right moment when a buyer needs it." We need to have a strategy in place that helps us fully explore and utilize the medium, while keeping efforts focused on the goal. To grow your business and fan base, ensure your Facebook wall reflects your short- and long-term goals at all times.
2. Understand the platform: Facebook as a vehicle is constantly undergoing changes to connect with its audience in the least intrusive manner. You have to understand the ecosystem, its features and how you can highlight your brand in a contextual way. You might not get the complete benefit with only half-knowledge of Facebook. Activities like posting about events (either online or offline), uploading photos of products and employee activities, updating statuses or announcing new products or services will require that you understand the capabilities of the page and determine which features will benefit your brand the most.
3. Share information about you: Many times, companies go into a flurry of activity on their business page without fully utilizing the "About" section of the profile. As the page showcases only the first part of this section in the view, make it as interesting as you can to inspire curiosity. This is the first step in exciting a Facebook audience so they visit your website and end up becoming customers. Consider the "About" information space your elevator pitch. Use it to concisely explain who you are and how your company provides value.
4. Maximize your reach: Remember that every Facebook user who becomes a fan of your business promotes it among his or her circle of friends and peers. So as soon as you set up your Facebook page, get people to Like it. Have no shame in asking your friends, employees and vendors to Like your wall. You could also use the "Invite Friends" link on the right side of your page to ask people to Like your wall posts. You never know how many fans a friend can generate for your business. Remember, the more popular the page, the more visible it will be on the newsfeed of your friends and fans. Try putting one of Facebook's social plug-ins on your website and do not forget to add a link to your Facebook page in your email signature.
5. Be consistent with content updates: The biggest challenge for any business to create a presence on Facebook or any other social media channel is to offer relevant and interesting content on a regular basis. For Facebook, get personal and create content that will build a community, showcase the personality of your business and engage your fans. You could offer a variety of updates on your page such as blog posts, links to webinars, eBooks and content from other thought leaders. Post details of upcoming events your company is holding or attending like trade shows and industry workshops. Publish pictures of recent work and new products or services launched.
6. Announce your page: If you consistently market to an email list or database, then announce to your list the benefits of joining your Facebook page. This initiative could coincide with a sweepstakes or promotion that rewards their Likes.
Here are some interesting statistics about Facebook from Investopedia:
- 93% of adult U.S. internet users are on Facebook and it is the top choice for social sign-ins
- One out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook
- More than half of small businesses and B2B marketers say Facebook is beneficial to their businesses and an effective marketing tool
- The average number of Likes per post on a brand's page is 54
- More than one-third of marketers say Facebook is critical or important to their businesses
7. Keep a close eye on numbers: It is crucial to measure your Facebook page performance by paying attention to your page's insights.
Why? To avoid throwing darts blindfolded and hoping to hit the target, you need to know what has worked or hasn't worked on your page. Facebook page insights offer extensive details on your every action. You can now check to see exactly how each post performed. Did a simple text update do better than a photo? Or would a video be better? Did your post at 10:00 a.m. get as much engagement as the post at 8:00 p.m.? All this information will help you plan ahead for better results.
8. Connect with your employees online: The strength of your company is in the hands of your people. That means you have to listen to employees' concerns and resolve them quickly. Facebook gives you an amazing platform to engage and interact with team members and becomes an important bridge to building a sense of community if they are in different locations or work virtually. Facebook could be a dashboard to share internal events, celebrate holidays, feature star performers or introduce new employees, etc. Just do not forget to have a set of rules for everyone to follow on this vehicle to keep a healthy flow of ideas and comments going.
Online advertising is a focused marketing tool to reach a very specific audience that often cannot be addressed by other media, whose reach is diluted by the size and composition of broad demographics. Facebook can slice and dice each segment of its user community. Direct messaging to this audience is a effective marketing tool for any business. Click here to see how we help the customers of our large clients design company Facebook pages.
How do you utilize this marketing platform? What tactics and tools have helped you build fan base for your Facebook business page.