From Facebook Marketing Skeptic to Convert
I’ll be honest: I was a more than a little skeptical about Facebook marketing in its early days. Social media marketing was suddenly all the rage, though few businesses knew how to make the most of it. Facebook made it look easy, with business pages and affordable pay-per-click and pay-per-impression advertising, but would it really work? And if so, would it work for everyone, or was this a social media marketing and advertising channel best used by a narrow sector of the business community?
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to experiment with Facebook marketing in both its free and paid forms, for businesses of varying sizes in different industries, with efforts targeted to both consumers and other businesses. Here’s what I learned that you should know…
A Very Large Portion of Your Audience is on Facebook
There’s a common perception that social media marketing is great for reaching consumers, but not so good for B2B marketing. But think about it. What attorney or VP of Marketing or Purchasing Manager doesn’t use Facebook these days, whether at home, at work, or both? Approximately 1/8 of the planet is on Facebook, and that’s counting third world countries with big populations and little money for technology. The percentage for US, EU, and other Internet users in developed countries is extremely high. In fact, it’s rare to find someone who does not use Facebook at least weekly, with many spending hours per week or even hours per day on Facebook. Even if your marketing efforts are exclusively targeting businesses, the decisions are made by individuals, most of whom are likely to be regular Facebook users.
Your Facebook Page is Only as Strong as Your Commitment
Creating a Facebook page for your business isn’t going to do anything to enhance your visibility, improve your image, or increase your market share: but working your Facebook page will. If you’re half-hearted or non-commital about using a Facebook page for marketing purposes, don’t do it. Having prospects land on a nearly-blank page or one that hasn’t been updated in months is worse than having them not find a page at all. Don’t take that step until you’re ready to commit to the effort to update it at least weekly, and to check it daily for feedback.
Develop a Clear Social Media Marketing Strategy for Facebook
Businesses use Facebook pages and Facebook advertising differently, and there are multiple ways to achieve success. You might use your page to interact with your local community, to answer questions about your products or services, to share useful links and information that helps build your credibility as an expert, or in some combination of these ways, among others. A Facebook marketing campaign, like any other social media marketing campaign, requires a vision, a strategy, and specific goals. Take the time to plan before you act.
Interaction with Your Social Media Followers is Critical
Once upon a time, most people who’d “liked” your page would see every single one of your page posts in their feeds and be reminded of your business. They’d have an easy opportunity to “like” a post or share it or comment on it, which in turn would appear in their feeds and be seen by their friends. However, this has changed, and now not all those who have “liked” your page will see all of your posts; instead, the amount of exposure you will receive has become more limited, and is influenced by multiple factors, including the amount of interaction between your company and your followers (comments on your posts, and your replies to those comments, among other factors). You must engage your readers to spread the word, since their “likes”, shares, comments and other interactions will still appear in their friends feeds and tickers.
Facebook Advertising: Affordable, Highly Targeted, and Too Good to Ignore
It’s been suggested that the changes (reductions) in Facebook page visibility are a result of Facebook’s desire to encourage (some would say strong arm) you into their paid advertising offerings. That’s fair in a sense because it’s a business, but many found the change to be abrupt and game changing. Regardless, Facebook advertising can be effective when used in combination with your Facebook business page and your website.
Facebook advertising is easy to set up and manage, affordable, and allows you to target specific demographics in ways those selling other forms of advertising can only dream of. Targeting uses information based on what Facebook users like according to their Facebook profile, and also by what they like based on their Facebook activity. In addition, you have the benefit of geographical, demographic, and many other available filters.
As with search engine advertising, you have the option of paying for your Facebook ads based on exposure (pay-per-impression) vs. paying for actual clicks (pay-per-click). Facebook advertising is worth exploring both as a way to generate “likes” and interaction with your page, and as a means of directing traffic to a specific landing page on your website.
Facebook Marketing in Summary
Like many social media marketing options, Facebook provides a great opportunity to reach a large audience at an affordable price. Your success will depend on developing an effective Facebook marketing strategy combined with a willingness to engage on a regular basis.
Need help with your social media marketing strategy? Contact us for a free intitial consultation for qualifed organizations.