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Your Facebook marketing strategy will largely depend on your industry and product. There is no flat one-size-fits-all guide to Facebook management but there are some proven strategies that apply to each kind of business.
Social Networking Vs Social Media Marketing
What’s the difference? Social Media Marketing is all that day to day stuff you do to attract new potential buyers and to keep them engaged in your page. It doesn’t mean hard selling your product, it means tapping into what the direct market is talking about and leading the conversation. Social Networking is the interaction you do with your industry, resellers, peers and your “related businesses”. Related businesses can share a geographical location with you, share a demographic or fulfill complimentary needs.
So, which one is for you?
First, both are for you – never disregard the value of either strategy as they work best in unison, however, some businesses will achieve the highest ROI on marketing, some on networking.
Facebook networking – a dream for B2B
Facebook networking is all about building a community with like minded businesses who share customers with you. Let’s say you’re a web designer, interacting on pages (with similar design values, location, attitude and liker numbers to you) owned by marketing companies, SEO firms, copywriters, online marketing advice pages, PR companies, social media marketing specialists and the like will start the relationship. Once you’ve had a chat on their wall about something topical, try PMing them, offering to make them a reseller of your service. Once you’ve built a strong network, you can establish a group to discuss industry issues (and complain about clients probably) and invite them to join. You now have a select group of referral partners with whom you can share sales leads and likers. You’ll still be marketing to your likers on your wall but the ROI will come from your closed group.
Similarly, networking with your likers, asking their professional opinions, getting involved in industry based discussions, not only gives you a chance to show off your knowledge, but gives them a chance to size you up. Impress them and you’ll turn a liker into a brand ambassador (like turning a pawn into a queen in a tough game of chess). Brand ambassadors will spread word of mouth about your brand and recommend you when the need arises. If you have 400 likers, you have 400 potential brand ambassadors! That’s a lot of friends!
Social media marketing – who gets the best ROI?
Social media marketing is all about building direct relationships. This is best suited to businesses catering to the main demographics considered “heavy users” on Facebook.
- 25-45 year old mothers. Baby clothes, children’s entertainment, health and fitness, work life balance and other industries important to young(ish) mothers. Stay at home moms in particular spend a lot of time networking and shopping on Facebook.
- 45 – 54 year old female (skew) with some college education earning $US50K – $US75K a year aka the grocery buyers. These are the shoppers, the spenders and the purchasing decision makers – the golden geese of the advertising industry. They’re affinity is among the highest of all demographics and they’re falling in love with shopping online.
- The under 18s. While this demographic is dropping on Facebook, younger demographics tend to interact more (especially via mobile devices) and be more open to spending their disposable cash online.
Getting them off Facebook and onto your money site!
If this target market is yours, you’re in the right place. The trick now is to grab them, keep them and then move them away from Facebook and onto your money pages. This is where competitions, Pinterest connections and sales incentives come in. NOTE, this is not where hard sell comes in.
Engage, not sell is the best approach to Facebook marketing. Don’t just plug your new line of products, set up a competition to win one. Give it a day or two lead time where you hype them a little, announce something special is coming and when the big “reveal” will be. Then, announce a giveaway where the entry must be on the same page as your new line of stock. Even allow them to nominate which items they’d like to win and why – this gets them really thinking about how much they want your product! Don’t make it hard for them to enter, make it exciting.
Writing informative, interesting (NOT SELLY) blogs gets them clicking through, just be sure to include photos of the items you’re trying to push in the blog and a link to your money page. For example, if you’re selling laptops to mothers of young children, a blog about computer gaming dangers and an image of a happy, safe child holding your laptop is a good start. A short call to action at the foot of the blog “get 12 months free parental monitoring with our laptops now” is a good start.
Custom sales apps
There are a lot of custom e-stores available for use on Facebook and a lot are disappointing. If the app is asking for more personal data than you, it will put some users off. Look for a custom app that has click through to your own website to complete the transaction. That way, you can still get the full benefit of addons, discounts, extras and other sales tools that give you great ROI on your site. Pinterest is also great for this!
Become involved in cross promotions and “hunts”
The rise of the Facebook hunt is a phenomenon. It’s about hiding an image deep on your website and offering an awesome prize for the one who finds it first. On a big scale, this is done across 20 or 30 pages, each cross promoting and sending their likers to your website – not your Facebook page, your website. Hunters comb through page after page of your products looking for the winning image. Be sure to offer them plenty of incentives to stop a while and look around, including email captures and valuable calls to action.
Contextual links (but not as you know them)
Getting involved in the chat on your page doesn’t just build engagement; it can build below the line marketing opportunities. Let’s say you sell pet products. Starting a conversation about badly behaved dogs and encouraging likers to tell stories can present in context solutions to problems. Wait for a problem you can solve and post your link.
Opinions and personal requests
What do you think of…..our new web design/our new product photographer/ the green one/ this font / this picture of my family using our product? A good gauge of how much your community cares about your brand is how readily they’re willing to offer their opinions on changes to your website or product lines. Drawing them in to your brand and making them feel a part of it (including giving them glimpses into your personality and your life) builds loyalty, and loyal likers become brand ambassadors, influencers, and best of all, customers.
With most things on Facebook, it’s about trial and error for your particular community. What once community will love, another will ignore. Keep an eye on your Insights (in your admin panel) and take note of what gets best engagement and conversion. ROI on Facebook doesn’t have to be low, you just need to find your groove.
About the Author: Dana Flannery is a Social Media Marketing and Small Business SEO consultant for Talk About Creative. She manages dozens of Facebook Pages with a focus on ROI and real results.