Are you marketing your business effectively on Facebook? There are so many ways your company can use social media to build awareness with a target audience. It may seem like Facebook is all about cat videos and selfies, but don’t be fooled. Facebook is a powerful marketing opportunity that can build your business when used properly.
One reason for Facebook’s effectiveness is that consumers now want to be more involved in creating the brand story. While business marketers used to be able to “push” information out to consumers on a need-to-know basis, consumers now want to “pull” information in and make decisions based on what they find.
The first place they are likely to look for information, whether it’s deciding on a restaurant or looking for a doctor, is online. And they’ll use their social media circle of friends as part of the research process, too.
Since the conversation can no longer be one-sided, social media is also used to create a dialog. There is no better, faster or more cost-effective way to reach prospects and customers than online.
While Facebook is one of the older forms of social media, it is also one of the most effective and widely accepted. Here are a few recent — and stunning — Facebook statistics that should capture your attention:
» Monthly active Facebook users: 1,310,000,000 — That’s a lot of opportunity!
» Mobile Facebook users: 680,000,000 — Plenty of reason to make sure your Facebook page is mobile-friendly.
» Increase in Facebook users from 2012 to 2013: 22 percent — It’s still growing.
» Total number of minutes spent on Facebook each month: 640,000,000 — It’s engaging.
» Percent of all Facebook users who log on in any given day: 48 percent — People are involved.
» Average time spent on Facebook per visit: 18 minutes — Once they visit, they stick around.
Facebook is so ubiquitous that many Millennials check their FB page before they even get out of bed, but it’s not just for use by businesses that target a younger audience. The fastest-growing demographic on Facebook is 40-60 years old.
In the old days, we used to keep in touch with friends via phone or letters; now we use social media to say hello, share information and build relationships.
It’s Not Just for Cat Videos
Did you know that Google “crawls” the Facebook Fan pages to look for indicators that could propel your business to the top of its search engine results? The same rules apply here as they do for website pages — content must be optimized, engaging, relevant and shareable. The good news is that these strategies don’t just build rankings; they also build relationships.
Let’s say you’ve started a Facebook page, added some nice photos, wrote an “about us” piece, included location and contact information, and have links to your website and other social media pages. So how do you garner likes and build a community?
First, make sure you promote your page everywhere and ask people to like it. Recommend that they share information with friends who might be interested in what you offer.
Your page needs to be dynamic, with new information added on a consistent basis. The social media world moves quickly. Information only stays at the top of the page for a few minutes. Unless you have said something that catches consumers’ attention and makes them stop, they move on to the next item. That’s why it’s important to be on Facebook every day with something new.
Constant reminders about your company, products and services, and the benefits you offer will start to build top-of-mind awareness. If you don’t think you can find the time to interact every day, take some time at the beginning of every month to outline thirty ideas or points you want to make. Some can be seasonal or talk about sales items, but most should just be a way of engaging your audience.
Here are a few power tips that can make your Facebook page sing:
» Consistency: Your message needs to be consistent across all online platforms. Have a marketing strategy with the “talking points” or main issues you want to present to your audience and stick to them. Don’t assume that one or two sentences every day is enough to form a complete impression. You might need to think of 10 different ways to say the same thing so that your audience can understand.
» Content: Content for Facebook must be optimized the same way your website is. What are the keywords your audience searches for, and how can they be included? Don’t just sell, sell, sell — use your Facebook posts to educate, engage and entertain. Ask for “likes,” tell a few jokes, post interesting tidbits they might want to share.
» Drive Traffic: Invite your community to click through to your website on a consistent basis. Tell them about your newsletter, a complimentary PDF you offer, or the latest blog article.
» Contests: These can be a good way to generate attention and gather leads. But don’t just spend money on a contest and move on. You must have a plan in place to use those leads, and try to convert them to a sale.
Above all, remember that this is a two-way street. You must also monitor your Facebook page on a regular basis. React if someone makes a comment, respond if there is a question, and say thanks if you get a compliment.
For a good example of a Facebook page that works, check out GoGoleta. Note the use of attractive photos, regular updates and posts that provide helpful information.
If you’d like more Facebook and online marketing tips, be sure to click LIKE on Search Engine Pros Facebook Fan Page.
Make Facebook a central part of your online marketing strategy. Boost your “likes” and your “followers,” and you’ll boost your sales and profits.
— Taylor Reaume is an e-Business coach and founder of Search Engine Pros. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1.800.605.4988. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.