There is enough content (tips, tricks, strategies, plans…) online, and offline, about social media and how to use it to make your business an overnight success. And yet, very few businesses seem to get it right.
Let me adopt the skeptic’s view here: How important is social media really? People who are interested in our products can find us on our website, right? Why entail the extra expenditure?
Skittles, Forrester Research and Salesforce.com may have the answers to those questions.
Sorry, I digress.
Skittles makes it to this post, because despite being a relatively new entrant in the candies market, its Facebook page has almost as many fans as M&M’s, Starburst and Snickers combined.
Why? Skittles is certainly not four times as yummy as M&M’s.
Clearly, they are rocking their Facebook marketing strategy. Based on a Forrester research that showed that your brands fans are more likely to buy from you, Skittles is going to have a distinctive edge over the other three (and its rising annual sales bear witness). A standalone website will never be able to achieve the kind of reach Skittles enjoys through its FB page.
B2B businesses that argue that a website is enough for them and social media is primarily for B2C companies can take a leaf out of Salesforce.com’s book. You don’t get more B2B than them. They had online videos (enterprise related technical ones) that they featured on their website alone.
Last year they moved these videos to Youtube and viewership jumped from 34% to 66% – a jump you cannot ignore. They also have a Facebook page where they share information about virtual events and seasonal releases and do event registrations, lead generation and recruiting.
Is Your Brand Ready?
Customers have clearly gone social. It is not uncommon for them to tweet or comment about their brand related praises and complaints. This shift to social has leveled the playing field – small businesses can now compete on the same footing as big conglomerates. The brand that responds, engages and delights is going to win. The question is, “Is your brand ready?”
Two Social Media Rules To Live By
Before we dive into the whys and hows of Facebook marketing, I’d like to share two thumb rules for any social media account your business may set up:
#1: Set Audacious Goals
Can you go from 0 to 15K fans in a year? Can you get 500 shares for your next blog post? Can you add 3000 followers in the next one month? Always set audacious goals if you want to stay on top of things.
#2: Start Strong
Don’t compromise on expenses in the beginning – invest in good content and design. You can start narrow, but don’t start weak.
Facebook Marketing – Why?
There’s tremendous potential to grow your business using Facebook. With you, me and most of your current and prospective customers sporting Facebook accounts there’s no denying the fact that your brand needs to take its marketing there. The top three reasons why you shouldn’t put off investing time and energy on your business’ FB page:
#1 Interaction – Interacting with your fans online shows them you care and they feel valued. Real-time access to your customers’ issues and feedback ensures you get an evangelist each time you give a prompt reply.
#2 Influence – Billions of accounts on Facebook. One billion come back on a monthly basis. 120 million people become fans of FB pages every day. Over 3.2 billion likes and comments generated daily. Connections are happening on a massive scale. Imagine the kind of reach your brand can have and the amount of influence your products could wield.
#3 Exposure – On an average each of your fans will have over 130 friends and with the kind of connections the point above highlights, exposure is a given.
Facebook Marketing – How?
#1 Build your FB page – The technicalities of setting one up can be read here: http://www.squidoo.com/facebookpage. Some non-technical tips:
- Make it unique to your brand. Don’t leave the cover and/or profile photos blank. Work with a designer if possible and design images that will portray a feel and look that matches your brand.
- Keep your page active. Add textual and photo updates regularly – at least daily.
- Add milestones: The timeline features enables you to add milestones on your FB page. Use it showcase your company’s history.
#2 Grow your audience – Now that you have a page that looks filled in, start spreading the word. Here are some avenues:
- Business cards and signatures
- Physically encourage (for instance, in your stores, if you have them.)
- Ads on Facebook and elsewhere
#3 Engage people with quality content – No matter how people land on your facebook page or how many of them land there, they won’t click the like button unless you give them a reason to and the reason is quality content. Some useful tips on that front:
- Keep the content short and sweet. Long prose will often not make the cut
- Posts with images evoke 120% higher engagement than the average post
- As far as possible, use high-quality images that evoke an emotional response
- Ensure that each of your posts has a call to action
- Ask questions
- Post offers
- Learn from the data on your insights page to figure out what works and what doesn’t
#4 Influence the friends of your fans – As stated earlier, each of your fans has, on an average, over 130 friends. Spend a little to reach them. Promoting your posts, creating sponsored stories and sharing offers are good ways to improve exposure and like count.
Do your Facebook marketing efforts rock? Share your tips and comments with us below. Share, tweet and spread the word.