Right now, there are a lot of blinking lights and distracting excitement surrounding social media. Businesses are throwing ad and management dollars into social with the broad hope that customers will come stampeding through their doors. For most businesses and institutions, this just isn’t happening.
Social media isn’t a magical way to gain new business with a few ads and aggressive networking (e.g., posting on your wall, tweeting about your organization). Remember in the late 1990s when the Internet became widely adopted and businesses threw big money into hollow online ventures with no revenue model? The same will occur in social media without a true marketing plan.
If you don’t have a true marketing process attached to your business’s social environment, save yourself some time, money and headache and move your investment somewhere else. Why?
Social networks such as Facebook are platforms for people to connect with one another based off of their common interests, location, connections, and other personal attributes. Nobody I know goes to Facebook to see what ads are showing on their wall – they go there to connect with their friends and share their lives with other people they care about. I don’t log on and say, “I wonder what Ford Motor Company is talking about today.” I log on to see what new photos my family has uploaded or what movie my sister is recommending I see this weekend.
With the sheer number of marketing messages the average person is bombarded with each day, it is becoming progressively more difficult to capture someone’s attention long enough to effectively present your brand, especially when they are not focused on seeking out your brand in the first place.
When a business does capture a Facebook user’s attention, shouldn’t there be a process to draw them in and engage them in a way that moves them closer to becoming a customer? Shouldn’t it be fun, easy, and casual for the user? Yes. And yes.
I see many businesses on Facebook today making a major mistake. They spend ad dollars to drive potential customers to their wall, get them to like their page and then expect the conversational nature of Facebook to take over and provide free nurture marketing all the way to checkout. The number of fans you have doesn’t mean a thing unless it’s attached to a solid marketing environment – one that moves each fan closer to a sale.
Yes, you can use Facebook as a highly effective way to generate revenue.
Here are the basics:
Define your audience.
Don’t waste your time with people who will never become paying customers. Take advantage of Facebook’s ability to hyper-target your audience based on traditional demographics, interests, and their connections with other brands. The more defined your audience, the better the response measurement will be and the more accurate your Facebook Ad ROI will be.
Make a compelling offer to capture their attention.
Most people don’t go to Facebook to seek out offers from your company. You must influence their behavior by putting a compelling, relevant offer in front of them. Understand the difference between committal and non-committal offers, and use them appropriately to maximize response.
Collect the right amount data and usable customer feedback.
There is a direct relationship between the number of data collection fields and the form completion rate. The more fields a form requires, the fewer people complete it. Only collect the data that is necessary to move the prospect to the next step. Collect data that will allow you to segment the prospect into a specific type of customer. Make it easy for the customer to get to the information they are requesting in as little time as possible.
Take it beyond Facebook into a cost effective nurture marketing process.
Just because someone has shown interest in your product or service by liking your Facebook page doesn’t mean they are ready to buy. But, once they’ve liked your page, you’ve earned permission market to them. Educate your prospects about the value of your offerings by putting them on an email nurture marketing track. Change it up each time you communicate with them – people have different reasons for buying your products. When they do move into the decision making part of their buying cycle, they’ll be educated on your products and you’ll have top-of-mind consideration as a result of your nurturing.
Test. Analyze. Refine. Repeat.
A high performing marketing process is not typically achieved right out of the gate. Identify bottlenecks in each step of the overall marketing process through testing and simple data analysis. Make adjustments to resolve bottlenecks and move further down the funnel to the next one. A simple, defined testing and refinement process can reduce prospect acquisition costs by as much as 60 percent.