Because of its sheer reach, most companies believe that they should focus their social marketing, promotion and advertising efforts on Facebook, first and foremost. It is important to first understand your customer and choose your platform appropriately. For example, Instagram, which is admittedly a Facebook company, is often seen as the “hot” social property of the moment, but one major thing to consider is that Facebook users tend to be a bit older and more financially stable than IG users. If you’re going to use social in part to sell to this audience then Facebook may be a safer bet.
Companies have realized this over the last decade. Sixty million companies have an active business page. Many businesses post more than once per day.
Unfortunately, all this activity also makes it really noisy.
How do you make sure your brand is standing out and earning you clicks, leads and ultimately revenue? The best place to start is with a clear and focused strategy.
Here’s a simple, six-step process you can follow.
1. Consistently Post Content to Your Page
When actor, rapper and all around over-achiever, Will Smith, was asked how he – a poor kid from Philadelphia with no connections in Hollywood – made it big, he answered,
“The only thing that I see that is distinctively different about me is, I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, but if we get on the treadmill together, right, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”
Progress at anything is about getting up each day and consistently performing the task. Getting marketing results from Facebook is no different.
You might get lucky and have a day or a week where you get sudden surges in likes or new followers. And you should use the analytics data Facebook provides to try to duplicate the spikes. But, the key to getting better Facebook results is consistent publishing.
2. Monitor Progress in Real Time
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
Management consultant Peter Drucker said this in the 1980s. It’s actually more relevant today because Drucker probably never dreamed of a world where we’d be able to instantly launch marketing campaigns, let alone see the results of our marketing efforts right away.
But, with Facebook, like almost all marketing, results can be instant. They also can improve over time. This makes real time or near real-time monitoring important.
3. Know How to Evaluate the Reach of Your Page
Once you begin posting regularly, it’s important to monitor the impact of your efforts. But, what should you monitor?
Facebook provides a large number of metrics for measuring your overall progress.
The three most important metrics tend to be likes, reach and engagement:
- Likes: People who have clicked “like” on your page, essentially opting into your page updates.
- Reach: The total number of Facebook users who were shown your page and posts.
- Engagement: This is a unique measure of the number of people who “engaged” with your page, with the term engagement referring primarily to likes, comments, shares, and clicks on the post.
Likes and reach are often referred to as “vanity metrics” or “brand awareness metrics” because they are essentially top of the funnel and may never correlate to anything else, i.e. a loyal customer.
Of the three metrics above, engagement gives you the best feel for whether your content is appealing to your followers or not.
Social media consultant, Robert Nissanbaum, says it well:
“Reach is a good benchmark, but our preferred (Facebook) measurement is engagement per reach. The old adage ‘work smarter, not harder’ is our prevailing thought here. Given more reach doesn’t always translate to more engagement, we’d rather reach fewer people and interact with them.”
4. Make Sure You’re Posting Relevant Stuff
As we’ve already covered, posting updates consistently is the key activity that will drive results from your Facebook page.
Facebook has its own best practices for business pages, and numerous third-party sites have recommendations for Facebook page best practices, including great lists from PostPlanner and Moz.
Easiest advice: Share the content you’re already producing. By sharing links to content you’ve published on your website, you’ll get Facebook followers to your site, where they stand a better chance of learning about you and converting into a lead or sale.
But, whatever you do, be engaging. Give your followers a reason to click or comment. Try posts that include:
- Educational content they’ll find relevant.
- Ask industry-specific questions or share surveys.
- Quick updates about your business they’ll find interesting.
Whatever you do, don’t automate it. Pushing out posts repetitively on a predetermined schedule won’t drive clicks and engagements. It used to work really well. And as a result, there are scores of software systems that do this and it does still work to a degree. But if you’re going to succumb to this laziness, make sure you’re monitoring your click/engagement metrics and consider adjusting your strategy if you’re getting diminishing returns.
No matter how you’re posting, make sure you’re actually responding to people who engage with you. If people are leaving comments or asking questions, make sure you’re conversing back and forth with them. Remember: the first word of “social media” is social. You need to respond and engage, even if some of the comments are negative. You look better to other viewers of a post if you engage with the trolls a little bit, too. You don’t look like you’re hiding.
But, what you really want to happen is for others to engage with your posts on their own, clicking, commenting and sharing. Some posts will perform way better than others in these regards. So, monitor the engagement each post is getting.
Let’s say you post on “7 Solutions To Small Business Lead Generation” and the engagement is through the roof. Awesome. Well, you don’t want every single post to be about that, but that’s clearly a topic of interest, so consider spinning that off — are there podcast episodes (yours or third-party) you could share? Pull quotes you can make visual? This will continue to drive engagement.
5. Verify You’re Reaching Potential Buyers
Facebook is the greatest targeted marketing platform ever created. If you are spending money on Facebook ads, you know you can target by many variables.
Facebook also gives you the ability to see who is visiting your page. A few demographics that everyone should track are age, gender, and geography.
It’s great to have tens of thousands of fans, or even into the millions. But if those fans are outside of your target market or not the right age or gender, it will have little to no impact on your business.
If, on the other hand, you can do business anywhere, Facebook can also be a path to generating revenue globally. Often, marketers will make assumptions that the bulk of their Facebook fandom comes from their country of business. While this is often true, you can find surprising patterns here — such as thousands of fans from Spain, where your product or service isn’t even available. Would that signal a potential entry into Spain?
6. Tie Clicks to Conversions
The desired conversions for your business will depend on your business model. If you’re running an ecommerce store, you’ll want sales. If you’re running a local store, you might want phone calls and visits. If you’re running a company that sells to other businesses, leads and offline salespeople-enable sales might be your desired outcome.
With the right software and strategy, all of those can be tracked.
For local businesses, Facebook has some great built-in stats. You can call-to-action button clicks for specific things like your phone number listing, directions to your location or a click to your website.
For online commerce sites, add a “shop now” button. For companies that want to generate leads, it makes sense to put a button so visitors can sign up for your email newsletter, although there are many different options.
But, just knowing how many times these items were clicked doesn’t give you a true ROI measurement since many of your site visitors could get distracted before doing business with you. So, it’s important to use Google Analytics to track goals or use software like HubSpot to track lead or ecommerce conversions. Maximizing the ROI of your company’s Facebook presence is a game-changer.
Facebook is perhaps the best gift marketers have ever been given. No other platform rivals the ease with which an audience can be built, a community can be fostered and attention can be garnered.
Follow the six step process above to get started and continuously improve the results your company gets.
Author: Ted Bauer
Ted Bauer is a freelance writer, editor, and marketer based in Fort Worth, Texas. He’s originally from New York City but has lived in many different U.S. cities. He’s worked for companies as diverse as ESPN, PBS, the Houston Independent School District, and McKesson. He blogs daily at The Context of Things.