Grow Your Business On Facebook
In a previous post I went over the main principles for creating a brand online. I am now going to go into more actionable detail over how you can make the most of social media to drive sales for your business.
A point I made in my previous post but want to reiterate here is about the level of research and planning required for a successful social media marketing campaign. Despite the fact that you are probably very familiar with Facebook from a personal perspective, becoming a successful business on Facebook requires much more than posting some random status updates and blog posts. It requires serious strategy.
For this reason before you get started it is crucial to have a plan. I recommend looking at some other brands that are popular on Facebook first to see what they are doing. You will probably notice some similarities between them in terms of the content that they share.
The common traits of successful brands on Facebook are…
1. – They have a deep understanding of their audience
This I would say is the most important point of all. The better you understand your audience, the less thought you have to put into your social media output because you will know instinctively if a post will appeal to the majority of your fans / followers.
Businesses that demonstrate this come across as highly authentic and useful to their target audience.
The best example of a brand that “gets” its audience that I can think of is Paddy Power. They use their social media channels to engage with sports fans by simply sharing jokes. Whether or not it is to your taste, the success of this strategy is undeniable considering they currently have over 1.3 million fans on Facebook and over 460 thousand followers on Twitter.
2. – They give people a reason to “like” them
This is also critical and it’s a mistake that some of the biggest businesses are often guilty of. The primary purpose of social media is (unsurprisingly) to facilitate social interaction amongst friends. This is not to say that businesses have no place on a persons’ news feed, they just need to justify being there.
It’s depressingly common to see household name brands asking for likes and follows without even offering anything of value in return. Why anyone would voluntarily agree to yet more advertising clogging up their feed is beyond me.
What people want are pages that they can trust to consistently supply them with interesting and entertaining content that isn’t already being provided by someone else.
The exception to this is for a handful of fashionable brands that people want to like or follow simply for the perceived kudos this association gives to their own online profile. Even in this scenario however there is a clear value exchange going on.
The best businesses on Facebook give users a reason to like them both because of their great content and positive image.
A great example would be Alfred Dunhill. All the images of their products that they post have a strong visual appeal which means that they don’t appear spammy. What they get right is that most of content they post is of general interest to their audience, for example photos from classic car rally’s and fashion advice, rather than an a direct attempt to sell you their products.
3. – They post content that people want to share
Creating shareable content is best way to not only grow your number of followers, but also to attract genuine fans to your business, fans that are much more likely to become customers.
Posting content that people “like” is a minimum requirement for your businesses online success; however in the world of social media marketing, getting your content shared is the Holy Grail.
When people “like” something you post they are saying that they agree with or want to show support for it. This is obviously a good thing, but I imagine you’ll easily be able to relate to the scenario of scrolling through your news feed and clicking the like button on a post without giving it much consideration.
On the other hand, a share is the ultimate form of validation. As social media guru Brian Carter explains, “when we click share, we’re obviously saying ‘I like this so much, I wish I had created it myself. I want everyone I’ve connected with on Facebook to see it. I’m ok with my family, coworkers, supervisors, bosses – and anybody else I’ve friended, knowing that I like it.”
Because of the level of consideration and various social influences involved in sharing someone else’s content, creating something that people choose to define their online personas with is not easy.
One of the reasons for this is that, whilst Facebook pages that exist solely for entertainment purposes such as The Lad Bible can get away with endlessly churning out this sort of content until something sticks, businesses have to be much more selective and everything they share should fit into a wider strategy. If a business tries this then even though the occasional post will probably get a relatively high number of shares, it may actually have a negative effect overall by making it appear as if you are trying too hard or “click baiting”.
Successful businesses on Facebook share posts that are highly relatable to a broad target audience but also fit well with the brand. Made in India, a magazine and website aimed at the Indian community living abroad; regularly share images of intriguing and exotic locations around the world in the knowledge that their audience are well travelled and interested in cultural experiences.
When choosing either original or existing content for your business to post, it is important to remember the key reasons why people would share something.
With good knowledge of your customer base you should be able to tell which of these motives are likely to prompt their engagement.
Good advice is to keep post titles short and concise as most people won’t bother with large blocks of off putting text.
It also can’t be stated enough how you should make full use of images and video when you can. According to Kissmetrics, posts which include an image are 39% more likely to attract interaction than those without.
4. – Interaction
Although this article has been predominantly focussed on what you should be tweeting or posting, social media is not a one way conversation and your interactions with customers and fans are arguably even more important.
After all, the damage to your reputation caused by a misjudged response to a customer will far outweigh any potential benefits of a well-judged post.
The one rule here is an obvious one. Whether you are responding to a complaint that has been posted on your page or just getting involved in a conversation that has started under one of your posts; be friendly and helpful, and see it as an opportunity to demonstrate your customer service credentials.
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