Facebook has been around for a while, and it’s still the most popular social network in the world. Yet when many companies decide to get social with Facebook, they don’t know how to properly leverage the network as a business tool.
See what these 11 experts are saying about Facebook marketing, and learn how you can use the social network to strengthen your brand and grow your business.
1) Stimulate Action
“Don’t be afraid to ask users to share objects or click on the Like button—especially if you’re new to Facebook. It can take a little while for a Facebook page to gain momentum. Anything you can do to help it along will only speed the process.”
– Jim Lodico, CEO of JAL Communication
Encourage customers to take action with your posts. The “call to action” is a simple concept that’s easy to implement, but so many small businesses forget about it. There are billions of posts telling customers to do this and to do that. If you’re not encouraging customers to take action with your posts, they’re going to start interacting with other posts.
– Don’t always limit your word count—being concise is important, but a simple “take our survey” doesn’t always cut it.
– Introduce your post with a question and create a call to action that provides a solution to that question (ex: Tired of not getting enough traffic on Facebook? . . . Click here to read the top ten Facebook marketing tips.).
– Test your CTAs to see which are working best.
2) Share The Spotlight
“As a rough rule of thumb, post four status updates on items about outside news items or discoveries for every post promoting a product. And when you do mention a product or service, try to do so in a helpful way.”
– JD Lasica of Socialmedia.biz
We often see Facebook being used by businesses as an advertising platform, not a way to engage. To attract customers and generate sales, you first have to show customers that you aren’t just interested in selling them something. You have to build that trust. Otherwise, they won’t listen to you.
– Highlight your vendors’ successes and talk about good customers.
– Stick with JD’s rule of thumb above (4:1 status to promo ratio).
– Focus on providing value and the leads/sales will come naturally. Don’t force it.
3) Involve Customers In Product Decisions
“It’s always great to have a big response when rolling out a new product. Whether that product is an information product or a physical product, involve your fans in designing an element of it.”
– PJ Jonas of goatmilkstuff.com
Involving customers in the design of a new product is a great way to generate conversation so you can hit the ground running. Most customers want their opinions to be heard, so give them a voice in a way that helps your business.
I can’t think of a better way to build brand loyalty. You can bet that after the product has been launched, if a customer had a hand in designing it, he or she will already have an emotional attachment.
– If you’re in need of new ideas and want customers to openly contribute their thoughts, hold an open-ended contest. Best design/color/name/whatever wins.
– For a more controlled situation, create a poll asking customers to vote on their favorite design/color/name/whatever.
– Don’t promise what you can’t deliver—if you leave it up to the customers, you have to actually leave it up to them.
4) Stay Personally Involved
“Facebook is a friendly network where people connect with people. If you’re not using Facebook for your personal profile, you’ll never really understand user motivations.”
– John Haydon, co-author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies
I think John really hit it on the head. How can you expect to be successful on social media as a business if you don’t understand what the experience is like as a user?
This is why many businesses turn the social media duties over to the interns (which we don’t recommend) because they use it more frequently and understand how it works better than their managers.
– Become an active user on your personal Facebook account.
– Like competitors’ pages to see how they’re engaging with customers.
– Be conscious of your own decisions and actions online to better understand how users navigate Facebook.
5) Address Negativity
“Should there be a negative comment, which scares many B2B companies, address it with understanding and sincerity. In most cases, transparency and listening go a long way in stemming off negative feedback.”
– Dave Folkens, Toprankblog
You can’t hide from negativity. No business can.
Instead of ignoring potentially damaging comments, address them. Reach out to unsatisfied customers to see how you can help make their experience more positive, and if the time ever comes, suck up your pride and admit that you were wrong/insensitive/unproductive . . . you insert the adjective.
Just like Dave says, listening does go a long way in building relationships with customers.
– Develop a posting policy (see an example here).
– Be selective with the posts you block and delete—people still need to be heard.
– Flag keywords to stay on top of what people are saying (look under the Manage Permissions tab to input keywords).
6) Use Videos For Better Engagement
“My hottest tip is for those who sell products or services on their websites and have Like buttons attached to them: share videos, not just still images!”
– Emeric Emoult, founder of AgoraPlus
Emeric makes a really good point. Every time someone likes a product on your website, a link with a story pops up on his or her newsfeed. Imagine how much more effective and attention-grabbing that link would be if it displayed a video that demonstrated the product or highlighted a user testimonial.
– Become familiar with Facebook Open Graph to be able to manipulate meta tags and share engaging videos.
– Get creative with video. Find that balance between informing and entertaining to make the posts shareable.
7) Stay Consistent
“Nothing makes for a bad Facebook Group or Page than stagnant content. Like a corporate blog or dynamic website, you need to engage people regularly. Even if it’s just posting a new message board topic each week, do something on a regular basis (the more frequent the better) to elicit a response from folks.”
– Jason Falls, founder of Social Media Explorer
Especially when you’re just starting to develop a brand presence on Facebook, it can be difficult to keep putting in the effort to share content and stay active when no one is really paying attention. Even when momentum starts to build, it takes effort to keep things going in the right direction.
– Curate content/quotes/videos ahead of time so you never run out of content to post.
– Make Facebook part of your daily routine so posting becomes an every day habit.
– Pay attention to your audience. How are they responding to the frequency of your posts? Do they want more? Less?
8) Social Media Overtime
“You have a fan page for your business, so it stands to reason you’ll want to publish your posts during business hours, right? That’s partially true. However, you may be missing out on reaching a huge portion of your fans by not posting outside business hours!”
– Mari Smith, author of The New Relationship Marketing, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day (second edition), and blogger.
A little bit of social media overtime may seem like a pain —no one wants to think about business when they’re at home—but if it helps you reach more customers, it will be worth it. For many companies, customers are much more responsive when they are at home, not when they’re at work.
– Experiment with off-hour posts and track them to see how users respond.
– Analyse who is responding. A specific segment of customers might be better reached during off-hours, while a different segment may be more responsive during the day.
– Try these types of posts more than once to get a larger sample to work with.
9) Motivate With Incentives
“If you want to get people to Like your Facebook page, and become more familiar with your products and services, a strong incentive can help achieve this.”
– Graham Charlton, Econsultancy
I don’t see anything wrong with rewarding customers for interacting with you. I think contests are a great way to create conversation and to get people excited about your brand. Giving back a little bit goes a long way.
– Choose motivational incentives that appeal to your target audience (consider even asking them in a poll).
– Create a sweepstakes that enters followers into a drawing when they like or share a certain post.
– Give deeper discounts or coupons for users that refer likes.
10) Take Advantage Of Scheduling
“Aside from not having to log in to post something at a specific time, you can save time by mapping out your communications plan and scheduling multiple messages in advance.”
– Ben Pickering, Strutta
Besides making social media overtime a little easier, having a set posting schedule will help you stay organised and focused on your goals. It forces you to have a plan and to step back and look at the big picture once in a while. Do the next few posts portray the same brand image that the last few did? Do we need to switch things up?
– To schedule a post, write up a normal post and then click on the small “clock” icon in the far left corner. Then you can change the date and time the post will publish.
– To view and edit your scheduled posts, you can view your activity log in the admin page (go to “Edit Page” > “Use Activity Log”).
11) Always Analyse
“Monitor which posts attract the most Likes and comments (eyeball), and use Insights – Facebook’s own analytics tool – for data. (Integrating your Facebook Page provides much better data).”
– Linda Bustos, Get Elastic
I can’t stress enough how important it is to look at your social metrics. Facebook analytics is useful, but there is even more robust software that can get you better data. You have to track your progress to know if you’re even making any.
– Monitor your Tab Views to see which tabs users are viewing most often. Use the data to see if you need to add/edit content in more popular tabs.
– Post Feedback will help you analyse how people are interacting with your posts. Take note of your most liked/shared posts and see if you can replicate success.
– Keep an eye on these other Facebook metrics: Monthly Active Users, Page Views, External referrers.
The best part about these tips?
Most of them are simple enough that they can be done today. You don’t have to wait one or two months to try them out. If you want, you can start experimenting this afternoon, and I would encourage it.
Why wait to start growing your brand on Facebook? Take advice from these 11 experts and start doing Facebook marketing the right way.
Which of these tips did you find to be the most useful?
Share your thoughts in the comments!