Thoughts + News
The Definitive Facebook Marketing Strategy Guide
In the past, we worked with a client to grow their Facebook page in order to:
- Increase brand awareness in new markets for upcoming location openings,
- Improve customer service response times, and
- Create another source of direct revenue (rather than pay the high percentage of revenue through other third-party websites)
In just a few months I grew it over 356%, increased post views 3,130%, and post feedback 692%.
And we created a direct source of revenue that broke even in the first month and began generating substantial revenue in a short amount of time.
Facebook Marketing Series Introduction
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dive deep into how you can grow, engage, and make money from Facebook marketing.
I like to give Facebook a hard time.
But there are certain cases where it’s the right marketing channel — as long as you use it correctly… and understand where it excels, and where it falls short.
Here’s an overview of what we’re going to discuss in this Facebook marketing strategy guide:
- The 3 Best Ways to Get More Facebook Fans (Without Advertising)
- The 4 Habits of Highly Successful Facebook Brand Pages
- How to Increase Your Facebook ROI Without Wasting Time & Money
- Why Your Facebook Marketing Strategy Might Fail (And How to Fix It)
Why Growth is Essential: The Dynamics of Retention Marketing
Social media (and Facebook) is great for retention (or keeping people engaged and interacting).
But as time goes on, people start interacting less and less.
Subscriber recency is an important concept. The further away they get from initially joining, the less attention they give and an unsubscribe (or “unlike”) becomes a lot more likely to occur.
For example, every time you send an email campaign, someone unsubscribes. Always. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it. (You can limit or reduce it, but you’ll always see at least an unsubscribe rate of a ~0.5% or less.)
Sames goes for Facebook.
While you need to keep frequency up (at least 1-2 posts per day), each time you post an update, people will “unlike”.
There’s a natural churn between new fans coming in vs. the older ones dropping off.
And that’s where most companies struggle.
Because many people only reach their “inner circle” — or family, friends, and close customers or clients. And they don’t have a way to systematically and reliably grow it beyond those people.
Over time, these people pay less and less attention. (Unless you’re great at continually increasing engagement — next week’s topic!)
Large companies make up for this not with brains, but budget. Advertising is the quickest, easiest way to get more Facebook fans.
But for many, it’s just a quick fix.
There’s a short-term boost, but it covers up flaws. Like… are people engaged, going back to your website, and actually buying anything? Or are they just there for the nonsensical “memes” and cat pictures?
But before we get to those things, you have to create a growing page first. And you do that by creating systematic campaigns.
You create strategies and tactics that you can consistently run over and over and over again while still getting good results.
So here are three of the best ways to get more Facebook fans (without advertising).
Inbound Growth Strategy #1: Capitalize on Your Existing Assets
The easiest, “low-hanging fruit” is to start with your own existing marketing assets. These are things like:
- Customer/client database
- Website traffic
- Email lists
- Other social networks
- Offline traffic
Chances are, you’re already doing some of these things.
But chances are, you’re not doing enough.
Marketing 101 Refresher: “Distribution is the process of making a product, service or message available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user, using direct means, or using indirect means with intermediaries”, according to Wikipedia (Yes, I just quoted Wikipedia. My MBA professors would be so proud.)
Now let’s apply this to growing your Facebook page.
Each of those sources mentioned above are different channels.
Quickly jot down some ideas about the reach (the number of people on a daily/weekly/monthly basis), and the frequency (how many times these people in each see your message during that time).
Increasing reach is always good. But many companies fall drastically short on frequency.
The basics — like putting a Facebook icon on your website — is a start. But it’s not good enough.
- How can you increase the frequency 5x by being clever, not spammy?
- What are the different ways you can improve placement of each message and get their attention?
- How are you motivating and incentivizing the specific actions you want them to take?
Almost every brand can do a better job integrating their online marketing with their offline presence.
It helps to start by breaking down the customer lifecycle, and then think about each stage of their experience. So can you:
- Use external-facing signs, that show specific, redeemable incentives to get strangers in the door?
- Put up big TV’s in each location that show off past customer reviews and testimonials from your social accounts?
- Encourage customers to “check-in” (and tell their friends) while they’re still in your location?
- Add a call to action (CTA) to each customer receipt for a specific action?
- Follow-up via a lifecycle email within the hour after purchasing to thank them, ask for referrals, and leave a review?
But it should serve as a perfect example of how most brands are only scratching the surface when it comes to capitalizing on your existing marketing assets.
Inbound Growth Strategy #2: Partner with Other Brands
Business development is how you scale social media growth.
Because the fastest way to grow something online (whether we’re talking about website traffic, your email list, or Facebook fan page) is to drive users from an existing source.
So take a step back, broaden your horizons and look around for partners that would be a good fit for cross-promotions, contests, and more.
These could be industry brands (related, but not competitive), nonprofits and charities, or simply other companies who might target the same customer/client demographic.
In this last case, don’t worry too much about your specific industry.
What’s more important is (a) that the organization’s clients and customers fall in your key target segments, and (b) the organization is a good fit with your brand, positioning, and purpose. (So if you compete on cost, then don’t go hitting up the Ritz.)
Two quick examples…
Hypothetical Example – Professional Services: I provide marketing services to (mostly) small and medium sized businesses. And I’m an independent practitioner, so I don’t have a big budget or brand name to help me get attention for my services. But I do have my skill and expertise to rely on. Therefore, I could target and approach other independent service practitioners — like an attorney and an accountant — and create a sweepstakes for a “Business Strategy Bootcamp” where we will work directly with 1 – 10 people for a half-day on improving their (1) marketing, (2) financial, and (3) legal positions.
Want to take this even further? Each partner is responsible for donating something.
I will use my expertise to run the campaign and take care of logistics. The attorney can donate money for advertising and promotion because they’re usually short on time.
And the accountant can donate time through reaching out to their influential clients, nonprofits and other key contacts to help increase awareness as well.
Our out-of-pocket cost? Very low.
Our return-on-attention and possibly investment? Very promising.
Real Example – Travel Industry: In the past, I ran a large social media promotion campaign where we sent a group of bloggers around 6 different cities in a couple weeks. Each step of the way, I found other brands who would donate their own product (i.e. hotel rooms, events and attractions) in exchange for free promotion.
Inbound Growth Strategy #3: Work Closely with Bloggers
The final piece of the puzzle is to find people who can help you both (1) create compelling content and then (2) promote it.
Bloggers are a perfect fit because they can provide your company with so many different benefits where brands typically struggle.
They can essentially do your social media marketing for you, create interesting and compelling content, and also connect you with their own audience, friends and peers.
But there’s a problem.
Most brands screw this up.
They *assume* people want their lame widget. (Why wouldn’t everyone want my free graphic t-shirt with a funny saying!?) They force it. They’re insistent.
It’s like trying to hit the sack on the first date.
Unless you have a really compelling offer (like you’re either Bran or Gelina), and the incentivizes are amazing (like a nice car, a villa overlooking the ocean, and copious amounts of top-shelf booze), then you’re going to need to work on your seduction.
Don’t pitch them; court them. And in exchange for their cooperation — and relationship! — you can eventually:
- Donate products or services in exchange for their precious time investment
- Hire them through sponsorship, to create content for you, or promotion to their audience and peers
- Promote them to your own audience, customers or clients and give them exposure to become more well known.
Also notice that I’m highlighting bloggers and not journalists.
Specifically, single author blogs if you can.
That’s because they’re motivated by very different things. And the engagement of the audience is usually a lot better — meaning you’ll get a higher ROI even though it might be smaller in number.
But You Can’t Stop There…
“Likes” are great. They’re a start. You need begin generating more Facebook fans if you want to see any impact on your business.
But “Likes” don’t translate directly into more profit.
Driving sales with social media is difficult because there’s no user intent. People don’t naturally go to Facebook to buy things (like they do with SEO or other channels).
And that’s especially true if there’s no engagement. Because interaction and engagement is the missing step before driving sales.
Problem is… Facebook uses a specific algorithm called EdgeRank to deliberately prevent brands from reaching their fans.
So if we want to start driving sales from Facebook, then we need to start by increasing engagement and defeating EdgeRank.
The 4 Habits of Highly Effective Facebook Brand Pages
Facebook has recently acknowledged that brand messages only reach approximately 15% of fans.
That means even if you have a million fans, you’re only reaching a tiny amount.
The convenient answer? Facebook wants you to pay them for access. (That’s why I like to recommend email marketing first, because the ROI is better.)
But the long answer? Facebook has always prevented brands from reaching all of their friends.
So while the first step to Facebook marketing is to focus on growth and getting more Facebook fans, the second — equally important — step is to focus on generating more engagement and interaction on your Facebook brand pages.
Why Facebook’s EdgeRank Prevents You From Reaching Your Fans
Facebook’s EdgeRank is an algorithm designed to manage what shows up in your news feed, and how it should be placed.
It’s a fairly straight-forward equation, that is the sum of your affinity, weight and time decay:
- Affinity: Describes a Facebook Fan’s relationship with your page, and is usually measured in Likes, comments and views. So the more engagement with your updates, the higher the affinity score.
- Weight: Determines what type of update you send, with video and images being worth more “weight” than text or links. Statuses with more weight will receive priority placement.
- Time: Explains how “fresh” your update is, and how long it will last. The older a status update, then the less important it is and the less chance you have of people seeing it.
As you can see, each of these elements work together to determine how your status updates will eventually perform.
So… how do you beat EdgeRank and reach more fans? By improving on each of the three EdgeRank components.
That means each status update you send (and all of them combined) need to address these issues head-on.
You’ll begin to increase your page’s interaction and engagement, and in return you’ll also be allowed to reach more fans.
Here are a few ways to do that…
How to Defeat EdgeRank: The 4 Habits of Highly Effective Facebook Brand Pages
Habit #1. Get as Personal as Possible
The first step to effective Facebook marketing is to focus on being as personal as possible.
That’s because people are naturally drawn to other people. (Which is why you should also always include photos or videos with real faces from other people.)
That’s why overly-professional, “stuffy” corporate brands always lose in social media. Because when we’re on Facebook interacting with friends and family, the last thing we want is to be “marketed” at. Instead, we want to deal with other people (not nameless, faceless entities).
Part of being personal is the language and tone you use.
The goal is to match your style and language with your brand’s vision. A perfect example of appropriate tone is MailChimp, who’s able to really personify their brand with witty writing.
And keep it brief! A report from Buddy Media said that posts with 80 characters or less 27% more engagement.
Finally, you need to get them emotionally involved. You can easily do that by bringing up issues that have strong emotional ties, or topics that polarize people.
While I would steer clear of politics and religion (unless of course, your business is related to one of those), looking for ideas around current news and pop culture would be smart.
Then you should stoke the fire by responding and provoking additional responses from everyone involved. This point also ties in nicely with the next habit…
Habit #2. Stick to a Comprehensive Content Strategy
Each status update is an individual piece of content. And when you view them all as a whole, it should represent your comprehensive content marketing plan.
Starting at the beginning, why does your product or service even exist?
What are the main customer obstacles — the big things like “losing weight” or “getting more customers — that you solve?
And then what are the related pain points — or symptoms — of those obstacles?
Then describe the end results or outcomes these people want and need, the specific reasons why you can provide them better and faster than anyone else, and then how you do it.
Your marketing content doesn’t have to explicitly state these things every time. And you don’t have to always talk about your product, service or brand. But each individual piece of content should address or touch on one piece of this puzzle.
Now that you know what to talk about, it’s time to address how to say it.
There are three main categories of status updates you should be posting:
- Proactive Content: This includes content like your own blog posts to drive traffic, funny images or memes to increase interaction, personal questions to elicit responses, and product/service updates to drive conversions.
- Reactive Engagement: Community management is an essential part of social media. This includes regularly monitoring and responding to fan posts, comments or questions.
- Strategic Promotions: You should also pair the first two with larger campaigns that will tie everything together, and create more awareness and excitement around your brand through incentives and special offers.
Habit #3. Experiment with Timing to Increase Reach & Engagement
Social media usage goes up and down through-out the day. There are certain periods when everyone is busy, and other times when activity trails off.
Usually this depends on your own audience’s preferences, but typically these “peak” times are:
- Early morning (7AM EST)
- After work (5PM EST)
- Late night (11PM EST)
Your own page’s Facebook Insights will give you a lot of information about when your audience is the most active.
Sort your most popular content by the biggest reach, and then take a look at the corresponding time-stamps to get a feel for when your fans like to consume content.
Most of your messages should be published (or scheduled) to go out during these teams, because you’ll have the best chance to get the most reach.
Posting during peak hours also means you have more competition — for attention and engagement.
So you should also try “contra-competitive” timing to increase engagement. This means deliberately posting during slow or “off” periods to hopefully capitalize on the low competition. And usually that means posting outside of work hours.
The Buddy Media report also said that: “Brands that posted outside of business hours had 20% higher engagement rates”.
Habit #4. Use (More) Effective Calls-To-Action
Most people don’t respond to a status update because… no one asked them to.
User behavior online is a little different than real life, because there’s no non-verbal cues to tell us what to do.
You have to be very straight-forward, explicit, and ask people exactly what you want them to do. For example, ask them to Like, comment, tell you, or click on this link.
Every single status update has a call-to-action, even if it’s not to visit your website or buy anything. Because we’re all competing for attention in social media.
You’re not just competing with your industry — but every other possible alternative out there as well.
You’re competing with other brands, news publications, and even people’s kids or colleagues.
So your call-to-action should also be paired with good copywriting principles. You don’t only want to appeal to logic, but also people’s emotional buttons that will compel them interact with you.
That means you want to grab attention and build anticipation or tension — that can only be released by taking your desired action.
There are two ways to do that:
- Highlight what people stand to gain from reading your content or completing your action, or
- Emphasis the pain of loss that will occur by not taking your action
Then drill down into the details.
Each headline should play to these emotions by describing the obstacle they will attain or avoid. And a catchy, concise description should build anticipation or credibility as to why your call-to-action is the only logical choice.
Why You Need to Get “People Talking About This”
Facebook has always lead the way in social media for providing useful metrics to brand owners.
But they took that to the next level in October of 2011 when they introduced the “People Talking About This” metric.
This little metric gives you a rough estimation of how many people are directly engaging with your brand page.
And it’s important because it provides key insight into how many of your fans you’ll be able to reach.
A “Like” is one thing — a moment in time. But “Talking About This” evolves constantly — measuring engagement over time.
This metric changes daily, but measures the past 7 days of fan “stories”, which is the number of fans doing one of the following:
- Likes a page
- Likes a post on your page
- Comments on your post
- Creates a new post on your page
- Shares your post
- Checks-in at your location or brand
- Mentions your brand page name in a status update
- Tags your page in a photo
- Shares a deal or offer
- Likes a deal or offer
- Claims a deal or offer
- Writes a recommendation
- Viral shares (friends of fans sharing)
Tracking this raw number over time will give you a quick indication of how many people are interacting and engaging with your brand.
But tracking the percentage of “People Talking About This” to total “Likes” gives you a better understanding of how your Facebook marketing is performing.
This engagement ratio is a quick snapshot to your return on time and energy invested.
And it’s one of the best clues to determining how, if and when you’ll be able to start generating revenue from your Facebook fan page…
… which will be covered in detail in the next article!
How to Increase Your Facebook ROI Without Wasting Time & Money
Advertising money continues to pour into social media, with a report from BIA/Kelsey projecting it will grow over 134% and top $11 billion in the next few years.
Unsurprisingly, the bulk of ad money spent in social media — 65% — is on Facebook.
Facebook is one of the brightest spots for companies to invest online because they provide access to almost all customer segments, continue to roll out new opportunities to reach your fans, and provide detailed analytics to get accurate results.
But here’s the problem: social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers. Or at least, that’s what the experts say… Here’s how to improve your Facebook ROI
Why You Can’t Sell with Social Media
Forrester Research analyzed over 77,000 consumer purchases in 2012 to figure out which online marketing channels buyers — not just traffic — were coming from.
And they found that despite new tech trends and changes over the past few years, buyers tend to be influenced in largely the same ways:
- Search (SEO & Paid) matters most for new customers
- Email matters most for repeat customers
And what about social media?
Their research shows that social tactics were meaningless sales drivers.
There are a few reasons for this, which is beyond the scope of this article. (Basically it comes down to the inability or lack of tangible ways to properly attribute pre-conversion actions — aka it’s hard to measure appropriately. Kinda like offline advertising. But people still use that… right?!)
However they do have a point…
Selling directly with social media is difficult, and not always ideal. Here’s why…
Why Visitor Intent Dictates Sales
Let’s revisit that quote from Forrester Research for a second, because their findings are generally correct.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search (PPC) will always outperform social media for driving sales. Always.
Because of visitor intent.
Before someone buys your product or service, they’re going to pass through several buying stages.
So before someone purchases, they have to become aware of their need, evaluate their alternatives, and then be committed to the solution they pick.
Users from search engines (both SEO and PPC) are typically much closer to making a purchase, because they’re seeking specific things and evaluating their alternatives.
They type in exactly what they’re looking for, and don’t need as much work to convert them into paying customers.
Whereas social users typically haven’t even entered this buying stage yet. Most people on Facebook are there kill a few minutes, and see what their family or friends are up to. Not to purchase your widget, or mine.
They aren’t even aware that they need our products and services. So they’re most likely not going to buy anything anytime soon.
Social media does influence and drive revenue (just not directly).
There are two specific strategies or paths you can take.
Strategy #1. Driving Direct Revenue Through Sales
You can drive revenue directly through Facebook… under certain circumstances.
I worked with a client in the past to create a custom Facebook application where customers could input their information and preferences, and then were automatically redirected to my client’s website with their results.
The beauty of this system was that we could track everything.
We could see how many people used the service, how many people searched but didn’t buy, and then how many actually purchased.
So for only a ~$2,000 investment, we were able to see over $20,000+ in new revenue generated over the first few months.
This strategy worked brilliantly and was easy to pull off. But… it won’t work for everyone.
Because like anything in marketing, we need to look at tactics in context.
And when you do that, there are certain “prerequisites” needed to give you a hint of how successful (or not) your campaign will be.
So if you want to sell directly from Facebook, then here are a few things to keep in mind.
Social Sales Tip #1. Brand Awareness: This is a two part equation…
- Do you have strong brand recognition and trust? While you don’t need national television advertising, you should be extremely well known in your industry or geographic area.
- Do you have big numbers? Marketing is always a numbers game, because only a small percentage are going to buy — like 1% or less in social media. So big numbers are important! Want to generate new sales from Facebook? Don’t bother trying until you have 20,000+ engaged fans. Go back to prioritizing growth and engagement.
Social Sales Tip #2. Commoditized Product & Sales Cycle:
The thing you sell — your complete product or service — needs to be a commoditized product with a transactional sales process.
Because it needs to be stupidly-simple to understand and purchase.
If a consumer has to ask questions to clarify or do any mental math before purchase, then you’re not going to sell a single unit.
Social Sales Tip #3. Compelling Reason to Purchase Now:
Why should someone buy right-here, right-now — instead of going back to the website or another sales channel they’re more comfortable with?
This mostly comes back to the complete “package” and additional incentives you’re offering. (E.g. is there more convenience or a potential discount?)
Social Sales Tip #4. Ease of use:
Finally, the buying experience must be seamless and integrated.
It’s not enough to put up a display ad on your Facebook page and hope or wish for results.
Instead, you need to create a fully-integrated shopping experience that’s tightly integrated with your growth and engagement strategies to consistently drive new leads into your sales funnel.
Strategy #2. Driving Indirect Revenue Through Leads
If you don’t meet all four of the tips above, then fear not — you can still use social media to influence sales.
Your approach will just be a little different.
Instead of driving direct sales, we’re going to focus on driving new awareness and leads instead.
The goal here is to drive as much information about as many people as possible, so you can then qualify them and begin to tailor your more personal approach. Because consultative, complex sales processes need to get more personal — more one-to-one — more quickly.
So while getting new Likes are a great start, you also want to get their name, email address, business name, website URL, job title, and insight into their biggest obstacle (that you will eventually solve for them).
This is a seduction — because it may be difficult to get all of this information on the first pass. So you with small commitments, like their email address, and then elevate the relationship with new calls-to-action, offers, or incentives.
There are a variety of ways to do this. Again, the success of tactics depend largely on the context and your specific circumstances.
But here are two of my favorite ways…
Social Lead Generation Tip #1: Promotions Social media promotions are a great way to (a) increase growth, (b) improve engagement, and (c) generate leads — all at the same time. (Always use integrated tactics like this whenever you can to get multiple returns with one investment.)
But the promotion you run will depend largely on what you want to get out of it. If you want to increase reach and get more Facebook fans, then run a sweepstakes or basic entry so it’s easy and painless to enter.
Or if you’d like to increase engagement on your Facebook brand page (remember — you need both to sell!), then start using a more interactive contest where people can share, get involved, and talk with each other.
The next step is to look for partners who can join and add something you don’t have (like budget or reach), and can even contribute products or services to keep the cost down.
You can cross-promote to each other’s audiences, and come up with several bundles or “packages” to increase the perceived value (even though this won’t cost you a lot out-of-pocket.)
Last but not least, see if you can build “viral hooks” into the promotion so your contestants are compelled do share and promote it for you.
For example, the competition can be weighted to give these people improved odds depending on how many of their own friends they can involve or “Like” their entry.
Promotions are one of the best social media investments you can make. But the execution depends largely on your unique circumstances.
Social Lead Generation Tip #2: “Lead Magnet” Premium Content Another great lead generation tactic is to use premium content that builds off your free content. (You are using free content to drive awareness — right?!)
HubSpot is brilliant at this.
You can’t read a single blog article without receiving a targeted, relevant call-to-action to receive more valuable content:
However this extra stuff comes at a price — usually in the form of providing additional information about yourself or business.
Why would someone willingly do this?
Because it’s created specifically to address each customer’s pain points.
Not to advertise or promote the company’s product.
It’s focused on helping your customers find solutions to their common obstacles that are keeping them from reaching their goals.
Think of your social media marketing channels (or networks) like a funnel. People interact with these things on a daily basis, and your goal is to drive them back to your website, blog or landing page where you can get opt-ins.
Then you can create custom links so you’re able track exactly where people are coming from (i.e. which social network) and get a rough idea of how each promotional channel is performing (relative to the others and the cost associated with each).
But here’s the key to making this work…
The Key to Social Media Marketing
It’s 1000 times easier to promote and receive interested parties if you use content that educates and informs, and doesn’t sell.
That’s because people aren’t on Facebook to interact with your brand. They don’t care about your brand. They care about seeing what their friends are up to, and how their family is doing.
So you need to catch their attention and interest by targeting their needs (based on your understanding from market research — you are researching your customers, right?!), and providing valuable things — content, video, discounts, etc. — that gets them to show intent and gets you permission to follow up through another means.
Because the more demand and value you can build behind your product, service or brand, then the less you’ll have to compete on cost.
It’s not as easy as running a few ads, and the results don’t come as quickly.
But having the chance to speak directly with your prospects, customers and clients every single day is the biggest opportunity for your company’s future.
There’s is literally nothing else that’s as important.
Without happy, new people coming in and satisfied, old people sticking around, everything else in your company — from accounting to delivering your product or service — doesn’t matter.
And by using popular online tools like Facebook, you’re able to do this at scale and receive significant, cost-effective results over time that advertising will never come close to matching.
Why Your Facebook Marketing Strategy Might Fail (And How to Fix It)
Right before Facebook’s infamous IPO last year, auto company GM made headlines announcing they were going to cut their $10 million paid advertising budget because of “poor performance”.
Part of the reason cited is GM’s product. And part of the reason is also Facebook’s advertising options.
However there’s another, underlying root cause as well…
A common problem that plagues all brands — both big and small — and undermines their promotional strategies.
Here’s the simple, yet little known reason, and how you can fix it.
Why Being Overly Tactical is a Mistake
Today we’re going to tie the entire Facebook marketing series together. And we’re gong to do that by looking at Facebook marketing 30,000 feet.
Because when you’re overly tactical, things fall through the cracks.
Maybe you’re great at getting more fans, but then there’s no interaction.
But when you back up a little bit and put everything in context, then your strategy takes shape and the path begins to reveal itself.
And it’s helpful to begin by discussing how social media marketing should ideally work…
Social Media Marketing 101: Combining Earned, Owned & Paid Media
Every successful social campaign or strategy actually has three major “media” components:
- Earned: Customer-driven word of mouth promotion.
- Owned: Brand controlled — like your blog, or content on Facebook.
- Paid: Brand pays for “access” to channel and/or audience.
Everyone can do at least one of these well. But it’s difficult to get them all working together.
With large brands, it’s difficult because there are so many stakeholders and different people involved that you coordination and execution breaks down. With small brands, it’s difficult because you have limited resources and typically only have enough time, money or expertise to implement 1 or 2 out of 3.
But in an ideal world, you get the best results by these three components and using them together. For example, consider these results reported by Marketing Land:
- In the four weeks after seeing Starbucks earned media messages on Facebook, fans of Starbucks and their friends overall bought at Starbucks 38% more frequently.
- Amazon Facebook Fans spent more than twice as much at Amazon as the average Internet user
- In the four weeks after seeing an ad on Facebook from a major offline US-based retailer, fans and their friends bought 56% more frequently online from this retailer.
There are a couple things to notice here…
First, most of the heavy social advertisers fall in under the “transactional sales process” we discussed in the “Facebook Revenue” article.
And secondly, Facebook (and social) ads are not driving customers directly. They’re driving micro-conversions, improving the overall macro-conversion rate and increasing repeat purchases indirectly.
Social advertising and marketing can improve sales… just not in the same way as SEO or Google AdWords.
How Your Facebook Marketing Strategy Should Work
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how to assign marketing or promotional tactics to different stages of the customer lifecycle.
Let’s circle back to that so we can create a cohesive, integrated Facebook marketing strategy that will drive business goals. Here’s a quick overview of how it should work…
- Acquire new fans through advertising, partnerships, cross-promotions, virality, etc. etc.
- Brand messages reach new fans (on news feed, and through direct tagging or shares)
- Fans interact or “talk about” brand content
- Brand content spreads “virally” to friends of fans
- Achieve marketing goal (Reach, Awareness, Support and/or Revenue)
And here’s how it looks with my nice, pretty graphic for the visual learners out there:
So in an ideal world, the little day-to-day tactics you’re working on, and the larger promotions or campaigns you might be doing should address one (or all) of these stages.
There’s no single, “correct” answer here. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
One tactic might work well for one brand, and bomb for another.
And the truth is that no one (myself included) can predict the future — you just have to start trying, experimenting, failing on a small scale, and iterating to learn what works and what doesn’t.
But it should be extremely easy to identify how each day-to-day tactic aligns with your strategy. And it should be extremely easy to see which areas you’re excelling in, and which ones need more time, money, or manpower behind them.
Getting the tactics right are good. But they’re interchangeable. And individually on their own… not very effective.
However things start to happen when you put them together. Integration trumps isolation.
Driving new revenue — repeatedly — is a multi-step process. And missing one piece of that chain reduces your effectiveness — exponentially.
How to Grow Your Facebook Fan Page Virally
Facebook introduced the “People Talking about This” metric a few months ago.
Initially, many were skeptical of how useful it would be.
As it turns out, it’s actually one of the best metrics you can use to gauge your Facebook marketing.
This one number tells you how effective your marketing is on a weekly basis. And it’s the key to virally growing your Facebook fan page.
Your “Viral Reach” is closely tied to how many people are “Talking about You”.
Here’s how to grow your Facebook fan page virally.
So the more people that “talk about you”, the more your Facebook page will virally grow on its own.
But there’s a huge problem. Something is stopping you.
What’s stopping you from virally growing your Facebook fan page?
Facebook EdgeRank 101
The truth is that it doesn’t matter how many fans your page has. This is a harsh reality for your social media plan.
If you don’t have engagement, then people will never see your updates.
Facebook’s EdgeRank is an algorithm that determines how many of your Facebook fans will actually see any updates.
It’s made up of three parts:
1. User Affinity
The first part measures each individual user’s engagement level with your page.
The more times a user Likes, comments, views, or responds to a question on your page, the more likely they will receive updates.
2. Status Weight
Facebook wants users to stay on their site as long as possible.
So they give more credit to these types of updates.
Video is given the most, followed by photos, links, and then regular status updates.
As a rule of thumb, most people have seen your status update within 4 hours.
So updating at consistent intervals and at the right time of day can pay off tremendously.
But be careful. Posting more frequently than once every four hours can actually hurt you in the long run.
How Do You Defeat EdgeRank?
The key to defeating EdgeRank, is by increasing your user engagement on each update.
Here are some simple tips that you can start doing today.
Use a Personal Tone.
Address your fans casually and be personal.
Think about what your users are interested in, and use the vocabulary they would use.
Always put your audience’s needs first.
If you’re posting a link to an article you just wrote, then specifically ask them “What they think about X”, or “Do you like X or Y better?”.
Always use a Call-to-Action.
You should always have a specific objective behind each status update. Don’t just ramble or post garbage… this isn’t Twitter.
If you want your users to take some action, then ask them to!
So try saying, “Tell me what you think”, or “Like this update if you like X”.
Spark an emotional response and debate.
People will feel compelled to respond when they have some deep interest.
The easiest topics that spark debate are sex, religion and politics.
But I would urge you to avoid these for obvious reasons.
Instead, use current news stories or pop culture references.
These inspire the same interest level, without the headaches and arguments.
Post during peak hours.
Finally, look at your Facebook Insights to determine when your best updates (in terms of Total Views) were posted.
If you can’t find any patterns or clues, then you can’t go wrong with the following schedule:
- Early Morning (7am – 9am)
- End of Work (5pm – 7pm)
- Late Night (11pm – 1am)
Facebook use peaks during these time periods, and you’ll have a better chance of exposing your content to more people.
Using these marketing tips will help you immediately increase engagement.
And when you increase engagement on a daily basis, then you’ll begin to virally grow your Facebook fan page.
The more people you get “talking about you” each week, then the better chance you have of meeting your marketing goals.
3 Reasons Why Your Facebook Marketing's Failing (And How to Fix It)
General Motors famously pulled their $10 million dollar budget last year on the even of Facebook’s rocky IPO.
Many (including Wall Street) thought this was a knock on Facebook’s advertising options.
But Facebook provides a lot of interesting options that work well for most businesses.
The problem with social media marketing is that it’s extremely easy to get tunnel vision.
Every other article and news story gushes over some minutia that rarely warrants the excitement.
Instead, it’s more helpful to look at everything from 30,000 feet and see how all the pieces fit together.
How are we combining earned, owned, and paid to create a seamless consumer experience?
So here are three possible reasons why your Facebook marketing might be failing, and how to fix it.
Possible Reason #1: Your Strategy is Lopsided
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut.
Or stay in our comfort zone and not branch out to try new things.
One of the most common Facebook marketing mistakes is become too tactical, and forget the big picture.
Then it’s easy to over do it in one area, while not doing enough in another.
For example, a successful Facebook marketing strategy incorporates several different things:
It’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus exclusively on engagement.
Or we can get impatient and try to skip ahead to our Goal (i.e. improving revenue or cutting costs).
But the best long-term strategy features each stage and provides a cohesive user experience from beginning to end.
The good news (and bad news) is that there’s no correct answer here.
It takes some work in each area to succeed. But there’s no “guide” to follow, because each step is a little different for each business and customer type.
The important part is to take a step back, get out of the weeds, and see the forest through the trees.
Possible Reason #2: Low-to-No Engagement
Facebook’s EdgeRank was designed specifically to prevent brands from spamming their friends and fans. And it’s also the main reason why you have trouble reaching anyone at all.
Because chances are, if you can’t reach enough fans, then you won’t be able to drive websites visits, new leads, or any other business objectives you desire.
And the simple reason is because you don’t have enough people talking about your page.
This little weekly measurement correlates perfectly with your viral reach:
Why obsess over engagement in social media?
This is why.
Because you need engagement to increase reach, and improve your odds of completing some marketing KPI.
Which brings us to our last point.
Possible Reason #3: You’re Prioritizing the Wrong Things
David Meerman Scott recently opened up about his battles with weight over the years, and had this to say about how he finally lost 50 lbs. and has kept it off:
When I measured just on my weight, I couldn’t lose weight. No matter what I did I stayed basically the same.
However, when I measured different things such as bodyfat percentage, metabolic age, calories burned, and the foods I eat, I changed my behaviors leading directly to weight loss.
His incredible insight can be applied to most things in life — including social media marketing.
We pay too much attention to the outcome (i.e. weight on a scale, or total Facebook Likes), and not enough on the process (i.e. the food choices through-out the day, or the types of content updates we’re sending each day).
So total fans and new likes are a good start. But there are often better things we should be paying attention to (like the “People Talking About This” mentioned a second ago).
Another great example is to track the ratio of “People Talking About This” to total page “Likes”.
These are much better KPI’s, and they’re actionable — meaning we can take specific daily actions to improve them and therefore improve the outcome (i.e. more business leads and sales)
What we focus on, expands. If we prioritize total likes, then we’ll get total likes.
But what about the other steps?
What about the other objectives from #1 above like engagement, reach, amplification, or our business goal?
The best marketing strategies make sure that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. That no piece is left out or ignored.
Because otherwise it will create inconsistent experiences for consumers, which creates inconsistent results for your business.
And inconsistencies make it impossible to predict, plan, or continue to invest more time and money