There might be some monks on a mountain somewhere who haven’t heard of Facebook. Nearly everyone else seems to have an account – which means if you aren’t at least exploring Facebook for clients you could be missing a trick. Campaigns can be run for little outlay but can garner widespread attention if done correctly. Facebook allows companies to communicate directly with their consumers. Your page is your voice.
The message, then
The key to using Facebook for business is to craft the right message. Don’t imagine that you know best – meticulous research of your customers and what they like is the vital first step. Take a look at the fans a company might have and see what else they like. You can post content that appeals to their other interests. People can be predictable in their interests – a person who likes cars will probably have a specific brand or two that they prefer, for instance. Marketers needn’t create their own content for every post, they can share articles or ideas from other pages their customers follow. This creates a synergy and an atmosphere of friendly collaboration. In this fashion, PR agencies can cater to their clients’ burgeoning audience with targeted content.
Don’t overcook the pot
In what universe is spamming someone with repetitive, obvious sales promotions ever going to result in more business? Not this one, that’s for sure. Facebook’s future is contingent on balancing advertisements, company interests and user experience. Brands that overload their target audience with posts about the company will lose their interest – not least because this tactic invariably favours quantity over quality. The best method is to post once or twice per day, mixing original content with pieces your audience will probably be interested in. Throw in competitions to enter, or even chances for your customers to get involved with the business. This might be an opportunity to help name a new product or just to name the office hamster! Either way, your audience is engaged because they feel as if they have a stake in the page.
There’s an increasing temptation amongst novice marketers to grow their following artificially. Instead of building their audience over time – it takes hard work – they’re cutting corners with hired ‘bots’ to boost numbers. These empty accounts don’t contribute to the conversation or respond to posts, they simply act as an indicator of a page’s relative ‘popularity’. The idea being a customer sees what a huge following a page has, and joins in thinking it is a sign of integrity or importance. To a more and more engaged internet populace, these pages throw up red flags very quickly. Once customers realise most of the other followers are empty accounts their enthusiasm for the page wanes fast.
You should also consider the cost and benefit of paying to advertise on Facebook. Ads on the social media site can appear on the edges of the page, as well as embedded in a user’s wall. You can also choose which devices your advert appears on – from smartphone, to personal computer, to tablet. Depending on what you’re advertising, you need to think about where your ad will have the biggest effect. That’s not all – you can actually target your advertising on Facebook by location, gender, even interests and age. The ad will reach the people you need to see it.
Using Facebook for business isn’t straightforward – brands need to pay attention to customer interests as well as broader trends. Social media isn’t about shouting into a vacuum, it’s about engaging in a broader (even global) conversation. The goal is for that conversation to be about you.
You may also find this blog on targeting warm prospects through Facebook advertising helpful – “Do this important step before running a single ad!”