Any business owner can create a Facebook page, but surprisingly few employ social media tactics that will win fans, engage customers and increase sales. Having a static, one-sided Facebook presence is antithetical to everything social media stands for.
We’ve asked marketing professionals who make their living enhancing their clients’ social media presence how business owners can get a strong return on investment on their Facebook presence.
Join the same communities your customers join – That's the advice of Jon Bond, CEO of the social media marketing firm Big Fuel. If you own a restaurant, for example, it pays to find out where the foodies are. It could be a physical place or it could be an online community. Business owners should find these relevant communities, Bond said, but they would be wise to hold off on offering a deal right away.
“Don’t go in there to sell, go in there to join,” he said. Becoming a trusted part of a given community helps build reputation and credibility. In a crowded marketplace, these qualities are scarce and valuable.
Identify the influencers and reward them – Once a restaurateur has found the foodies in her town, she ought to find out who among them has the most authority and guarantee him a table on a busy night or offer him a discount. When a business owner identifies a group of these influencers (ideally ones who are already patronizing the business) he should do something for them.
“Have an event for them, give them some recognition. They like recognition and exclusivity,” Bond said, adding that it also pays to release something to influencers before the public has access to it.
Focus group your Facebook fans — When a business finds that a given group of Facebook fans actually uses its product, it should seek their opinion of its product offerings and marketing strategies, said Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM PR. “People are really anxious to tell you when there’s a problem, like if they dislike your advertising or think you're growing too fast,” Laermer said. Inviting this kind of criticism might seem like an anathema to marketers (and entrepreneurs) who fear negative feedback, but Laermer said it is valuable information to take to heart.
Test, test, test – The easy adaptability of Facebook ads is something can be invaluable to small business owners. Anthony Costanzo, of Gotham Direct, recommends small business owners learn to adapt as well.
"When we launch a Facebook campaign, we’re going to launch 10 different copy types and 10 different image types. We’re making sure that when we’re live, we have 30 different campaigns going, and we’re optimizing based on which work best,” Costanzo said.
Offer promotions – It’s a tried and true method that too few businesses are willing to employ.
"Starbucks engages people with promotions," said Bond. He cited the coffee chain as a shining example of social media engagement. Smart entrepreneurs know that converting a prospect into a paying customer means reducing the risk associated with purchasing a new product or service. Offering a few dollars off that first purchase, or presenting a bundle of products as a sweepstakes prize is enough to convince many timid consumers to give your business a try.
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