Everyone, absolutely everyone, seems to be using Facebook now. According to Facebook's own statistics, people spend more than 700 billion minutes monthly on the platform. Wow!
Therefore, it's essential that your company explore ways that your audience segments are using the social networking platform and develop a corresponding plan. Too many companies merely configure a Facebook Page, randomly post to it until they get bored, and then leave it to gather dust for months at a time.
What would it mean to your business if you instead developed a clear Facebook Marketing strategy and then executed on it with precision? What would it mean to your business if you thrilled your prospective clients on Facebook? The potential marketing opportunity on Facebook is tremendous for many businesses, and quite possibly for yours!
It's not that Facebook replaces your other forms of marketing. But your prospective customers ARE spending time somewhere. And you want to connect with them and increase the time they spend with your brand. And so if they are on Facebook, and if they are on Facebook A LOT, it behooves you to develop a plan to interact with them on Facebook in a way that adds value to their experience.
To that end, here are 15 ways to better Facebook Marketing for your business:
1. Decide Why You Have a Facebook Page
As with any marketing vehicle, to maximize returns for your business you want to understand why you are doing the marketing in the first place, define your marketing goals, and develop a corresponding strategy. Your audience may value Facebook as a customer service vehicle for your business. In other cases, it might be an appropriate content or news source. In other cases, an appropriate sales source. In other cases, your fans may just want to "talk" with you and feel a part of it all. Align your Page to your strategy, and define associated success metrics.
2. Create Custom Tabs
When you start your Facebook Page for your business, your Page has a standard set of "tabs," including a Wall where posts and comments are published and an Info tab with general information about your company. You can extend the capabilities of your Facebook Page by creating custom tabs. For example, the StartupNation Facebook Page includes a "Welcome" tab with links to various types of content and products, and with a promotion for the currently-running Leading Moms in Business Competition. You can actually submit your entry through another custom tab. (Note: The competition has now ended, and so this particular tab has been replaced with a Twitter tab and an email newsletter sign-up tab.)
3. Edit Your Tab Order
Your Facebook tabs appear in vertical order on the left side of your Page. Right under the list of tabs is a small "Edit" option. You can use this to customize the order of your tabs (outside of the Wall and Info tabs). This is useful especially if you want a certain tab towards the top, or all the way at the bottom of the list so that it stands out more. With the StartupNation Facebook tabs, for example, the "Welcome" tab has been placed just below the Wall and Info tabs, and the Leading Moms in Business Competition tab at the bottom of the list. (Note: Since the time of this writing, an email newsletter sign-up tab is now placed at the bottom of the list, given that the competition has ended.)
4. Post More Than Once a Century
We've all seen them. Facebook Pages where the business was overly excited when setting up their Page, with 7 posts the first day, and then no more posts the following three months. Just as with any marketing for your business, if you are going to do it, then do it well. By ignoring your Facebook Page for months at a time, you send a message to your audience that you just don't care. So decide if a Facebook Page is something your business needs, and if the answer is yes then at least stick to some type of posting schedule.
5. Use Facebook Ads
Paid advertising in Facebook is a great opportunity for your business in that Facebook enables you to target your audience for your ads in many ways. You can specify the age group, gender, and geographic area of those that will see your ads. Not only that, you can specify the specific interests of your audience as broadly or as narrowly as you'd like. You can set your bid price and campaign budget, and test as many ad images, headlines and ad copy as your heart desires. And if you decide that your campaign is just not working, you can stop the campaign immediately, thus lowering your risk of overspending on your campaign.
6. Get 'Em to Sign Up
Giving your audience something of value in exchange for a registration or sign-up can be valuable to your business, as it enables you to have an ongoing conversation with those who have expressed interest. So, hold a competition or sweepstakes, or simply offer a sign-up form for something of value in return.
7. Send an Update
Facebook Page Administrators are able to send messages to everyone who "Likes" their Page. So when you have something of value to let your fans know about, send out an update and make them aware. Just be very prudent with the frequency of this technique. Send stuff to your fans only when it really matters.
8. Have a Dialogue
If someone takes the time to comment on your Facebook Wall, answer them. Think about it, if someone calls your business, you answer the phone and you answer their questions. Same with email. Same with a form submission from your website. And it's the same with Facebook.
9. Go Beyond Your Page
Facebook now enables you to navigate through Facebook "as a Page." Therefore, you can post to other Facebook Pages that you "Like." (Note, this is only for Pages for which permissions have been configured to allow third-party posts.) Just be extra careful with this, as you should post to another Facebook Page ONLY when you have something of true value to add. And be very respectful of the Page owner. DO NOT SPAM. It's just bad marketing.
10. Use It as a Content Platform
Use Facebook as a publishing platform and as a channel for extending the reach of your content. If you write a blog post, update your Facebook Page and let the world know about it and have access to it. Not everyone is going to visit your blog everyday. The more that you can write once and publish in multiple locations, the more likely that your valuable content is going to reach your audience.
11. Make it "Shareable"
What can you offer your audience that's of value? That they would want to tell their colleagues about? Facebook is all about sharing and interacting with others. If you truly focus on giving as much value to your prospective customers as possible, they will return the favor by letting others know and providing their own network with the opportunity to experience such value. For example, this could be an eBook, an exclusive offer, a cool competition, etc. It can even be just deliciously awesome content.
12. Make Some Stuff Exclusive
We humans are funny. We often want what's just out of reach. (Heck, it makes life more fun that way!) So dangle something of value to your prospective audience but make them "Like" your Page in order to get it. They win. You win. Everyone wins. For an example of this, with the Leading Moms in Business Competition tab in the StartupNation Facebook Page, prospective entrants can get a free eBook jam-packed with advice for mom entrepreneurs as long as they first "Like" the StartupNation Page on their way to entering the competition.
13. Turn Fan Activity into Advertising
With Facebook Sponsored Stories, a business can essentially turn fan activity into advertising. Sponsored Stories, available in the Facebook self-serve ad tool, enables you to promote your business by displaying positive fan updates that specifically mention your business, or to promote news feed stories about a viewer's friends "Liking" your Page.
14. Leverage Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights is a set of analytics that tracks usage and interaction with your Facebook Page. It's available free to every Page administrator. Leverage the Insights data by seeing how people are using your Page. What content is of most interest? What is just not resonating? And then adjust your Page activities accordingly.
15. Integrate, Integrate, Integrate
As with any marketing, individual efforts in a silo are rarely the most effective way to go. Instead, integrate your marketing wherever possible. For example, with StartupNation's Leading Moms in Business Competition, the look & feel as well as the messaging, etc. are consistent across the website, Twitter feed, email newsletters and Facebook Page. Your campaign is sure to be more successful, the more integrated you make it.
So, figure out how your Facebook Page can best serve your audience, and then knock 'em out with amazingly valuable stuff. Be crazy good!!! Your customers and prospective customers are sure to appreciate the enhanced experience, and your business is sure to benefit.
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