Facebook as a Business Marketing Tool
There’s no mistaking the benefits of Facebook as a powerful marketing tool for your business. First of all, it doesn’t cost anything to set up and maintain. Customer acquisition and retention can be closely tracked. Facebook is a great component of a fierce integrated marketing mix as marketers often promote their page via print, email, websites, and other marketing tactics. And, Facebook is a formidable communications tool, mostly because your posts get streamed to fans’ mobile phones in real time; better, in most cases, than a traditional email database and newsletter.
However, Facebook takes time to maintain and update properly. Content needs to be carefully thought out. And, fans need to be encouraged and have to want to opt in, or like or join your page. Since Facebook is a service, constant changes can serve as opportunities or threats to your efforts. Therefore, it’s important to know as much as possible about Optimizing Facebook and what you can do today to get more out of your efforts.
Fans… Who are they?
In order to understand the value of fans, you need to know where they came from, and how to group them accordingly based on that knowledge. Steve Kerho, SVP of strategy, analytics, media, and marketing optimization at Organic, Inc., states “Facebook fans can be grouped into five key categories.”1
- “The brand enthusiasts. They absolutely love your brand. Whenever your category comes up in conversation, they never fail to mention you. They are constantly on the lookout for new ways to engage with your brand and utilize your product. These fans can become product evangelists–primed to expand their depth of purchasing with your company. These are good fans, however, without determining a path to convert these enthusiasts into buyers, they offer little value.
- They love everyone. Sure they “like” your brand but they “like” everything from their toothpaste manufacturer to their windshield washer fluid. You have an inroad with them and have the opportunity to differentiate yourself from all of their other “favorites.”
- The average user. You are the brand they tend to go with but they don’t give you much thought and they could be swayed by a persuasive argument. These consumers make up a majority of your sales and figuring out a way to engage them is key.
- The sweepstakes fan. If you offer coupons or giveaways to consumers who sign up as fans, you tend to get a large group of consumers that were looking for something free and don’t really care about your brand.
- The issue fan. Your company did something they like — perhaps you gave to a cause, went green, and they want to reward you with their fandom. You have made some significant inroads with their sensibilities and now is the time to translate that to a purchasing shift.”
As marketing is all about creating, sustaining and growing profitable customer relationships, the real value in Facebook fans is their propensity to qualify as a lead and/or sale. Metrics used included quantity of fans, impressions, and click throughs to content. Sometimes the number of fans you have is not as large as the number of “active followers” who frequently will click through but will never opt in as a fan to your page.
Tracking whether a Facebook fan is a qualified lead or sale is not so easy. Therefore, it makes great sense to take a campaign approach to Facebook as a media channel that extends the customer engagement.
Amielle Lake, CEO of Tagga Media, Inc., in the iMedia article “Why Facebook Fans are Useless” gives the following four tips to turn a passive fan into an active shopper.
- “Design your campaigns to attract leads, buyers and promote repeat business not fans. Many marketers will deploy extensive campaigns with the sole objective of building their Facebook fan count. This is a waste of money. While increasing fan count has value, the campaign should be designed with a strategy to engage and convert fans.
- Develop a mini “fan” campaign & content strategy to promote engagement with fans as soon as they become a fan. Marketers can easily use the development of fans or “likes” to initiate a dialog. Setup a polling campaign on your page and have them vote (via QR codes, SMS, or direct entry) on issues that are important to them.
- Use your “fan campaign” to invoke fans to opt-in into specific areas of interest connected to your brand. Marketers can setup category or couponing SMS alert programs where signups can be done direct from the brand’s page. This allows the marketer to send targeted content to the consumer, draw them out of the social media channel and in-store. Promotions work extremely well in this context.
- Leverage your traditional media to capture audience data and drive them to your campaigns. Suppose the objective of a campaign is to generate leads and build up a customer database. A marketer can integrate QR codes across their print and TV media that will drive a consumer directly to a Facebook page. From there, the “fan campaign” can be leverage to capture customer data by asking them to sign up (give information) to participate in a contest. From there, they can also sign up for specific SMS alerts on things they care about vis-a-vis your brand.”
In addition to operational Facebook optimization, there are several functional ways to get more out of your Facebook page that you might now have been aware of. Maya Grinberg in “5 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Page,” suggests the following:
- Get creative with the five featured photos that appear at the top of your Facebook page. Use them to announce a promotional giveaway or sale, show featured products and/or a promotional message to click inside the Facebook page. For example, Hanes includes an image that reads “Go to the Women’s Tab to Enter.”
- Make better use of the links in the left hand panel. Most don’t know that in addition to the three default links of “Wall, Photos and Info,” that you can add in other “applications” to your wall and have many of them be visible. Consider adding in Discussions, Events, Tweets, Video, Your Blog and others here to integrate some of your other social media and make your page deeper and more engaging.
- Facebook displays Rolling feedback for each post to help you as the admin better track your posts. % of Feedback is given in addition to Impressions (and likes/comments) to your posts which help you better plan and strategize the content that generates the best Likes and/or Comments.
- Consider Featured Likes to promote other brands and/or businesses that either carry your product or service or that have a value for the customer (i.e. a home repair business might want to have a featured like of a home watch service).
- Display posts on your page by “Your Official Posts” vs. “Most Recent” (upper right of your wall as administrator). This way spam messages posted by fans are not the first thing new and existing fans see. To control this function, edit the settings of you page as illustrated to the right.
These tips are not that difficult or time consuming to figure out and then get into a marketing groove. It doesn’t require the dependence on a design firm and, if used properly, could dramatically impact your business.
- Lake, Amielle, “Why Facebook Fans are Useless,” iMedia Connection, October 11, 2011.
- Grinberg, Maya, “Five Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Page,” Social Media Examiner, September 19, 2011.
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Naples, FL since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and teaches Marketing at New York University where he has for over five years. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom (abiasismartmarketingllccom) , visit www.smartmarketingllc.com or call 239.963.9396.