Facebook is great. The 2 billion people who use the social media platform every month would probably agree. However, if you own an online business and are only using Facebook to ogle your friends wedding/baby/vacation photos and dog memes, you’re not maximizing its potential.
Here are five ways to invest in Facebook – specifically, Facebook pages, groups, & advertising – to grow your online business.
1. Be patient…
It’s true what they say: success doesn’t happen overnight. While this is disappointing and even frustrating to hear, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone! In this day and age of lighting-fast internet connection, we expect our products to fly off our virtual shelves, but that’s not that case. Everyone in the e-commerce world has faced this challenge. The sooner you get started laying groundwork, the sooner you’ll start reaping the fruits of your sowed labor.
Start by creating a Facebook page for your would-be customers to “like” (previously “fan”). This is where you engage with users on the Facebook platform of your social media strategy. This is a more specific avenue of Facebook, compared to Twitter and Instagram, where business accounts are “personified”. In other words, businesses interact with customers the same way individuals with personal accounts do. In contrast, normal people (non-public figures) have Facebook accounts (which you “friend”) as opposed to a page you “like”.
Your Facebook page is where you will post updates regarding your company, photos, links related to your industry, etc. As with other social media marketing, it’s important to have a balanced mix of promotional content (i.e. explicit product photos) and related content that is interesting and engaging to your target customer. For example, a shop selling dog collars might consider frequently posting cute photos and videos of dogs and pet memes in addition to photos of their collars. Because…would you follow an account of exclusively dog collar photos and links to purchase these collars? No, us either.
Along with organically building up a Facebook following through likes on your company’s page, you can pay to “promote” or “boost” posts to entice target customers to your page or link them directly to your site. More to come on this later in the post.
2. …but don’t get complacent
Just because success doesn’t happen overnight doesn’t mean you should launch one social media marketing campaign at a time and wait 3 months to analyze those results. While you’re putting in the work on your Facebook page on a daily basis to build an organic base following, develop and execute a multi-pronged social media marketing approach.
For example, in addition to your company’s Facebook page, consider creating and leading a Facebook group in your industry.
Another advisable way to spend your time and budget is to create paid ads to get more eyes on your page, group, product, and/or site.
These layers of Facebook social media marketing bring us to….
3. Find – and target – your niche market
Have you ever watched a Shark Tank episode and been flummoxed by the sharks fighting over an apparently idiotic product, only to later discover it’s become a multimillion dollar company (e.g. Squatty Potty)? That’s the magic of big numbers: there is bound to be someone who would buy your product…if you are filling the need of a niche and make that niche aware of it. In the case of Squatty Potty: people with digestive issues who don’t mind their houseguests knowing that by leaving the contraption wrapped around the base of the toilet.
Facebook ads manager allows you to laser-focus your target audience for your paid advertising. This might seem like a luxury, but it’s a necessity. Most people use Facebook for socializing, so it’s important to be overly specific in targeting. Else, you waste your advertising budget on likes and clicks from users that spend all day on Facebook liking and sharing everything without discerning. These people rarely intend to buy. Pay special attention to the “interests” and “behaviors” tab of ads manager.
In addition to paid advertising directing users to your Facebook page or e-comm store, a group can be a great way to start an ongoing discussion with Facebook users interested in something related to your industry. Let’s clarify that vague statement with some examples:
Facebook groups have quite the wide range of niches and number of members. On the small end, there’s Benjyo Soujer: a group of 35 members of that meets in Japan every Sunday morning to socialize and…clean public toilets. A savvy Clorox campaign might market to these men. Midrange groups include the 30,000-strong “Boobquake” – a group trying to prove that women in scandalous outfits don’t cause earthquakes. Perhaps a undergarments company could sell to these women. More mainstream, there’s a group for women with curly hair…who use conditioner when they wash it. Started by a hair care company. That group now has 50,000+ members exchanging hair care tips while being sold on the merits of this particular brand.
4. Remarket to the 98%
A measly 2% of first-time site visitors make a purchase. But don’t give up on these people! Convincing Facebook users to leave the site/app and open your site is no small feat. In doing so, they’ve graduated from “Facebook user” to your “potential customer”. Assuming you’re targeting the right audience, the first time a potential customer visits your site, they are just getting their feet wet, so to speak. Let them build familiarity with your brand over time. This phase of continual remarking and engagement often takes weeks or even months. Carve out a section of your social media marketing plan to address remarketing.
Create Facebook ads for each phase of your sales funnel – from first-time viewers to converted customers. Don’t stop with one sale – now you’ve really got them hooked! You’ve put in the time to create a great product, so develop a Facebook ad for this segment of your target audience, too. Don’t neglect remarketing to past customers, or you’ll be leaving a significant chunk of change on the table.
5. Wheel that shopping cart to the checkout lane
If you have users with items in their shopping cart, they’ve invested time, energy, and willpower into shopping your site. Money is the last – and most important investment. Quite frankly, people with items in their cart are looking for an excuse to buy…so give them one. The best e-commerce sites are set up intuitively from landing page to checkout with minimal clicking or decision making. Make the shopping experience as frictionless as possible before the potential customer has to think too much and talk themselves out of the purchase. Even with the best-laid sites, plenty of users will abandon their shopping cart, especially on a mobile device (81% mobile abandonment rate). Even desktops only have a 30% checkout rate with items added to the cart.
Use the concept of remarketing to target customers with items in their cart to incentivize them to buy. Shrewd marketers with excellent social media strategy will offer steeper incentives the longer the items have been in the cart.
Facebook as a social media marketing platform is especially interesting and nuanced. This article just scratches the surface of possibilities, but hopefully it has opened your mind to some previously overlooked opportunities. Use this as a launchpad for your social media campaign as you dig deeper into Facebook marketing research.
[This is the second part in our social media series. Click here for part one.]
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