The social media revolution has radically changed the way people interact online, and there is no ignoring Facebook and other social media networks (Google Plus being one). Those who use them have the power to improve their bottom line and take their business to the next level – provided they do it right.
Benefits of using Facebook for online marketing
With its size and reach, Facebook can offer numerous advantages to those who make proper use of it. Consider these:
- Increased reach: Considering the fact that this social networking site is being used by more than one billion people all over the world, Facebook has an audience that cannot be ignored, and links from a Facebook page will bring in direct traffic to a website.
- Boost credibility, learn and make contacts: You can improve your credibility by utilizing the power of Facebook and interacting with the people in your industry. While using Facebook, you can see what others are posting and learn about the niche while making new contacts.
- Facilitate instantaneous market research: There is perhaps no simpler and easier way to conduct and evaluate market research than by using Facebook to do the job. For example, a company can post a product idea on a Facebook page to see how people react. If you are a blogger considering going into an untested topic, you can first post it on your page and see how much interest it generates.
- Improve your site’s SEO. Search engines are increasingly looking for social proof: A site not only needs links, but it needs active links from social media like Facebook where people are following and talking about a site.
- Give a face to your business: Having a Facebook page can help humanize your business and put a face and a personality behind the brand.
- Cheap promotion: Although it takes time and the commitment to make it work, a Facebook fan page can be set up for free and eventually attract a lot of followers who will instantly receive what you posted on their walls.
However, Facebook marketing is not the best investment for everyone and all niches. Be sure to know what you are getting into before doing anything. The Facebook demographic tends to be younger and male. On the other hand, with so many people on the network, there are enough users in every major niche.
Tips in using Facebook for online marketing
Facebook is effective, but not magical, and it takes more than a few posts to achieve significant results. It will definitely take some time, effort and patience before it pays off. Here are some tips that can help make your marketing campaign a success.
- Create a Facebook page for your business: Remember that a Facebook account is for personal use. People are only allowed one account and in their own names. To promote a business, it is necessary to create a Facebook fan page, where you can share information about your business, get to know what your target market wants and interact with like-mined people.
- Be unique: Take this as an opportunity to show your audience what your business is all about and what makes you different from the rest of the competition. Everything should be filled out completely with special attention given to important fields, including the top photos and tagline. However, refrain from making your Facebook business page an overblown advertisement.
- Regularly add content: You need to populate your page with valuable and current content to make it more useful to your target audience. Consider sharing tips, information that solves problems and breaking news from your chosen industry (include various sources) on a regular basis.
- Use photos and videos: People love the kinds of insights only photos and videos can add. Get creative and try to think of behind-the-scenes or other types of photos that will showcase your ideas or products. Consider uploading instructional or entertaining videos.
- Create events, contests and polls: Anything that encourages visitors to interact with or share a page is great. Look around at top pages in your niche for ideas (in other words, do a bit of spying!).
- Allow and encourage fans to directly comment on your page: Ask fans for comments and feedback. Although this requires some moderation, it is the kind of participation people want and adds valuable feedback. More importantly, it helps pages rank higher as having comments is a factor in the page’s Facebook ranking.
- Interact with your audience: Show genuine concern for your audience by directly responding to their comments and build rapport by mentioning current events and other topics. Provide them with the information they need and help them with whatever concerns they may have. Continually ask for customer feedback.
- Offer special deals: If the page is for a business, offering deals is the best way to get people to talk about or share the page. In addition, offering promotions that are exclusive to the Facebook page are a way of measuring how much interest the page is really generating. This is also a great place for an incentivized sign-up form.
- Participate off your page and join groups: Search for related pages and comment on them. Not only will people follow these to your site, but it is a way to keep informed while making contacts. If you establish good relationships with the page administrators, they may permit you to message the group.
- Let others know: Friends and family may not notice your page unless you tell them. Getting people you know on board will give a page a boost as well as provide feedback and advice.
- Buy fans: While this is not substitute for creating a good page, it is a way to give it that little push to get it rolling, as is paid advertising. There are a number of services that will provide fans. Internet marketing forums are a good place to find them.
- Link the Facebook page with your blog: Sites can be linked so that blog updates automatically will appear on your page (use NetworkedBlogs).
- Add friends and find groups (eventually create your own): As part of interacting on Facebook, gradually add friends (networking directly) and participate in groups.
- Integrate apps and social plugins: Use Facebook apps and social plugins on your website to allow people to easily access and share your content.
- Look at other popular pages: Check out to see what other successful pages are doing for ideas and inspiration.
- Have a clear call to action: If the goal is to encourage people to like and follow a page, make it easy for them to do so. Pages can be customized (see some of the tools below) to make the call to action appear more prominently in the upper left of the page, which is where most people look first.
- Use hashtags: Hashtags are basically clickable hyperlinks you can include in your posts that will help visitors find your content. While it is important not to abuse them, their occasional use can help bring in traffic.
EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to rank the popularity of pages. These are the major factors EdgeRank is based on that should be kept in mind when optimizing a page;
- Affinity: How often people interact with a page
- Type of interaction: Comments, etc.
- Length of interaction
Basically, it boils down to creating a page that is fun, interactive, useful and updated regularly.
How to measure conversion on Facebook
To determine if your efforts are bringing in the results you need, you should have a concrete idea of what your goals are and use the tools provided in the Insights dashboard to analyze how your audience is consuming and sharing your content. You can either use Facebook Insights for Domains to view key metrics for any website, Insights for Apps to track how users are using your apps and Insights for Pages to view analytics for referral traffic and tab views for your Facebook pages. To know more about Facebook Insights, you may want to visit this page.
- Determine the kind of approach that will yield the most effective results for your target market. The way you engage your audience is just as equally important so you need to understand how your target market’s preference in discovering, consuming and sharing content that interests them.
Tools in creating a customized Facebook page
Is there really a need to customize your Facebook page? Wouldn’t a generic Facebook page do for your business? Well, if you want your page to accurately reflect your brand and your business, you need to create a custom page. Here are some of the tools that can help you do the job – even if you don’t have any knowledge regarding coding and website development.
Pagemodo makes it easy for anyone to create custom Facebook pages. Aside from providing fully customizable professional templates and a cover photo designer to help you create an impressive page, it also features powerful social apps (for creating fan coupons, contact forms and maps and incorporating Twitter feeds) and sharing apps (‘like gates’ and viral sharing apps) to help you grow your fan base. Pagemodo is available in both free and paid subscription plans.
By using TabSite, you can create pages that foster better user engagement. Its simple drag and build interface allows users to build Facebook fan page tabs to feature deals sweepstakes, contests and reviews with relative ease. It allows users to build sub-pages so you can have a mini-website right within Facebook and provides for a quick integration with Google Analytics. It features a comments plugin, a document manager and video embedding capability to further engage your fans. TabSite is also available in both free and paid subscription plans.
ShortStack allows users to customize their Facebook pages with sweepstakes, contests, custom forms and videos, to name a few. It features ‘like’ or ‘fan’ gating (hidden content that can only be revealed when someone ‘likes’ your page or becomes a ‘fan’), video embedding and ecommerce capabilities. It also gives users full design control and even allows for multiple user collaboration.
Some of the other online tools that can be used in creating custom-designed Facebook pages include Instant Fanpage Creator, Cool Mojito, Easy Tab Creator, FaceItPages, FanBridge, Moto Fan Pages and WooBox, to name a few. All of these tools are available in free and subscription-based plans so you can choose which one suits your needs best.
Using Facebook pages to promote your brand and business online may help you elevate your business to the next level – provided you know how to do it right.