FACEBOOK MARKETING SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

STORY OF FACEBOOK

In the fall of 2003, Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra were on the lookout for a web developer who could bring to life an idea the three say Divya first had in 2002: a social network for Harvard students and alumni. The site was to be called HarvardConnections.com.  The three had been paying Victor Gao, another Harvard student, to do coding for the site, but at the beginning of the fall term, Victor begged off the project. Victor suggested his own replacement: Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard sophomore from Dobbs Ferry, New York.  Facemash had already made Mark a bit of a celebrity on campus, for two reasons.  The first is that Mark got in trouble for creating it.  The way the site worked was that it pulled photos of Harvard students off of Harvard’s Web sites. It rearranged these photos so that when people visited Facemash.com they would see pictures of two Harvard students and be asked to vote on which was more attractive. The site also maintained a list of Harvard students, ranked by attractiveness.  After lawsuits and new partners, Zuckerberg would change the original name from the Facebook to Facebook and change the way we communicate forever.

Facebook is the mainstream social media with over 900 million in personal and business networking tools becoming somewhat of a monopoly in social media.  The history of Facebook is known well.  With the production of the Social Network movie and college students study time being dwindled by procrastinating on Facebook, Facebook is the number one visited website in the world right now.  Yet, how businesses use it is still a relatively new strategy.  Questions about security settings are also constantly being changed by Facebook.  Business objectives for Facebook include optimizing a fan page, finding target markets to engage with, engagement strategies, and groups. There are close to a billion people on Facebook, it’s a huge driver of traffic once you get the ball rolling. It won’t happen overnight but it’s worth putting in the time because you’ll eventually have a reliable major source of traffic to your website.

FACEBOOK STATISTICS

Active Users: Facebook: 1.3 billion

FACEBOOK PAGE

  • Wall Posts: Facebook users can post content to a brand’s fan page.  They can say good things, complaint, or talk about a recent experience they have,  post photos straight, and other user-generated content about your brand.
  • Comments: Comments are an opportunity to react to a wall post.  Both you and your fans can comment.  They are mini conversations spurred from the original post.
  • Likes:  The classic thumbs up!  If someone “Likes” a wall post, this means they like the content of that post.  This can also be translated to mean “I agree.”
  • Recommendations: Install the Recommendations plugin, which will display personalized recommendations from other Facebook Users.
  • News Feed: a feed of what Facebook calculates is the most relevant and important items occurring in your network.  Your goal should be both to react to important items in your business’ News Feed and get your wall posts featured in others’ News Feeds.
  • Cover image: Create an image using products and services you offer and your logo with Pixelmator.
  • Events & Groups: Used for posting discussions and creating real-life events.
  • Facebook Timeline: The user is now at the center of the Web experience with Facebook Timeline.  Links are supplanted by likes. The Open Graph also uses Facebook Places as an important location-based marketing service.  Partnerships with Bing gave the Open Graph greater influence in search results.
  • Photos: Creative Commons images from Flickr and Photopin.  You can also purchase inexpensive stock photos at iStockphoto, YayMicro, and Creative Commons.
  • Custom Tabs: tabsite.com
  • Schedule: You can schedule your posts below the time clock icon

Do a market research in your industry by doing Site:Facebook.com “Your industry.”

When a fan sees your post, they can like, share, or comment it, their friends can see it too depending on privacy settings.  Like is good, the comment is great, but share gives the most exposure.  Fans give negative feedback about your page by doing one of the following actions:

  • Hide (Hide this story)
  • Hide All (Hide all stories from a Page)
  • Report Spam
  • Unlike Page

LIKES

The Facebook like gives content greater exposure on Facebook and across the open graph.  In addition to creating news feed items and showing connected friends, likes also allow third-party publishers to send future updates to those who have liked their content.  This gives content gives users the opportunity to increase engagement levels, targeted referrals, and recurring traffic.  Likes post to a user’s news feed that they “like” specific content along with a link back to the content.   It also allows sites to push updates to users who have “liked” their content.  Likes and recommend actions are the same.

The value of likes is gaining momentum on traditional link-back algorithms as a search ranking currency.  The like button will be able to improve the connected experience offered to consumers and sites will gain trusted referrals as a result.  Facebook users who utilize the like button visit 5.3x more Web URLs to engage with content and on average have 2.4x more Friends.  Providing the like button on a website gives content creators access to more socially engaged consumers and their networks.  There are multiple variations and style options for the like button: standard (with and without faces), button count and box count.  Recent reports have shown that sites which use the standard like button with the “show faces” option enabled experience 2-3 times higher click-through rates than buttons without faces enabled.

COMPANY PAGES

You can “like” various companies and their products on Facebook to get updates about the organization on your main wall feed.  You can see their upcoming events or post on their walls to further interact. Businesses pages provide information on hours, address, photos and more.  Facebook marketing is a crucial way to build a fan base and spread the word about your business.  Companies can get people to like a fan page by:

  • Putting fan page on postcards for direct mailing
  • Have it on everyone’s e-mail signature
  • Facebook Badge
  • Install a Facebook “Like Box” on Your Site
  • Incentive:  access content such as an exclusive video, exclusive article, etc.
  • Promote your Facebook page using newspapers, media buys, radio, and TV.
  • Announce your fan page to your subscribers or customers in a newsletter
  • Comment on Industry related Blog Posts and provide Facebook Page link
  • Have Sales team ask clients become fans
  • Run a fans only contest
  • Advertise our Facebook page on a forum or another website
  • Do a fan of the month promotion

You must first understand the Facebook Algorithm.

The Business Admin is the person who has purview into all activity taking place in Facebook media and account management. Identifying a Business Manager Admin is the first step to creating your Business Manager account. Projects are an easy way to organize Pages and ad accounts. You can set up a project for each client or functional team. When assigned as Page Moderator, team members can respond to and delete comments on the Page, send messages as the Page, create ads and view insights. The analyst permissions for an ad account are limited to viewing ad performance, which includes the ability to access reports.

ENGAGEMENT TACTICS

Facebook has never officially divulged exactly how to gain greater reach — though it did release an ad product, Reach Generator — there are several tactics known to work.  EdgeRank is the algorithm used by Facebook to determine the most screen-worthy content.  Three factors multiplied together, determine your content’s value: affinity, weight and time.  The affinity score is based on how often a fan has engaged with your brand content in the past, including page visits.  Weight, or popularity, is determined by the type and quantity of engagement your post receives (e.g. Likes, comments).  Lastly, time and the decay of your post matters; as your content ages and engagement wanes, it becomes less relevant and therefore less likely to appear in a user’s news feed.

Practice brevity and have a call-to-action. Brief, easily digestible posts make it easier for users to consume and interact.  Keep an eye out for relevant current events and don’t forget to post about holidays if they’re consistent with your brand voice and be clear and blatantly tell your fans to “like,” comment or share your post.   Posts with 80 characters or less garnered 27% more engagement than posts that were more than 80 characters.

Quality content is an important factor to expand Facebook reach.  Photos are the most engaging form of content that brands can post.  Eye-catching and easy-to-consume photos are also weighed more heavily by Facebook when determining EdgeRank.  Employing the words “where,” “when,” “would” and “should” increases engagement.  Have a good variety of content with the right mix of polls, questions, photos, and video will keep people engaged and excited about your brand.  Posts that include “would” consistently yield the greatest interaction because they allow fans to agree through a simple “like” rather than writing a comment.   The bottom line is that Facebook wants people consuming content, so its algorithm rewards the brands that create the coolest content. Post videos and photos, don’t just make it a feed with all links to your articles. Mix it up. Run polls asking people what they think about a specific story or subject. In a sports example, who do they think is the best player at any given position, or anything else that will drive debate and comments.

TIMING

Daily Facebook engagement has three peaks: early morning (7 a.m. EST), after work (5 p.m. EST) and late at night (11 p.m. EST).  Thursday and Friday have 18% more engagement than other days of the week, suggesting that Facebook is a procrastination tool when people are itching to get out of the office.  Healthcare and beauty brands see the most engagement on Thursday.  Sunday is king for sports brands and teams on Facebook, so increase your volume on these days as well.

Turn on Subscribe feature on your personal Facebook. This will let you share stuff you only want to share with the people who you want to receive it.

FACEBOOK GROUPS

Find Facebook Groups related to the subjects you cover. Get involved in the conversations there. Over time they’ll head to your page and then to your website and you’ll build up a readership. Create an interest list that focuses on a topic you want to help gather information about or to make it easy for people to follow other people with similar interests. Example: Reuters Journalists list

ASK FOR ENGAGEMENT

Use call-to-action verbs such as Like, Take, Submit, Watch, Post, Check, Comment, Click, Shop, Visit, Become a Fan, Tell us, See, Share, Order, and Take Our Quiz.  Get Creative: Use Gamification of posts: If your city could be any district, it would be ____.   Creatively say thank you to your fans who “liked” a recent post or brand page with a tune that name-checked every single one of them.

APPS

CONNECT FACEBOOK TO YOUR EMAIL/WEBSITE

Adding a Like Box to your website is a gold mine for engagement. Use a custom tab on your business page to invite visitors to subscribe to your email list.  Learn how to do this in Lesson 12 of FB 102. When you send out your email newsletter, most providers offer the ability to add sharing buttons inside the newsletter.  Studies show you get 150%  more engagement when you use sharing buttons in your email marketing. Most email marketing providers (Constant Contact, MailChimp, Aweber) also offer the ability to automatically post to your social networks about your latest email newsletter. Add a Facebook Like box to your website. There exist many apps in Facebook that easily connect with the user’s account.  You can use these apps as actions or verbs for sharing your content.

CONTESTS

Contests asking for submissions or votes via comments, “liking” or other Facebook UI functions are prohibited.  You as a brand are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including official rules, terms and eligibility requirements.  Contests or giveaways must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com — on a Canvas Page or a Page App.  Your Page must acknowledge that the promotion is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.  You cannot notify contest winners through Facebook (wall post, message, chat, etc.).  There are several third-party providers that give brand page Facebook guidelines for promotions legally, and most have free trials. A few prominent ones are Wildfire, Offerpop, and Buddy Media.

  1. Invite the other Facebook page owners to participate and give away a free product.
  2. Record a brief video.
  3. Post the video to Facebook & your website.
  4. Email the participants with the video link so they can post the video on their website & social networks.

If you decide to give away a prize, make it applicable to your business and one that doesn’t hurt your profit margin.  Integrate your blog/website into the Facebook contest.  Make winning the contest contingent upon sharing.  Limit the contest to a relatively short time period to keep people interested (One-week standard).  Keep fans and readers updated as to the status of the contest.  Don’ forget to make your contest visual.  Or run the photo-of-the-month contest from visitors.

ADVERTISING

Facebook Ads allow you to specifically target your fans’ friends and leverage their relationships.  Facebook Ads are not just a way to reach your fans’ friends, but also your competitor’s fans, and your own fans.  If it’s not clear and obvious who and what the ad is promoting, then consumers will be less likely to recall the ad and the brand.  It’s also important to have some sort of reward or “payoff,” as ads with a reward tend to be more influential over purchasing decisions.  Also, try to have the creative in the ad have one focal point.  Dig into Facebook Insights and turn the most engaging content into a social ad. Your content and ads are one and the same.  Different ads include:

Start with a visually compelling Facebook Timeline cover and a professional headshot of your founder.  Use colorful, attention-grabbing images in your ads.  Be prepared to resize your images.  Include a call-to-action in your ad that sends people to your website.  Send them to a page that allows them to purchase online or talk to someone who can answer their questions immediately. Make a limited-time offer.  Offer details of what buyers will get: Bradley offered details of his workshop and described it as “the best value around”.  Experiment with different ad types to see which offers the highest ROI.  Bradley used both page promotion ads and post promotion ads, which yielded different results. The page promotion.

  1. To budget $5 a day for a Facebook ad, you need to use the Ad Manager and create an ad to get higher post engagement.  Select the option to continue to run the ad for your next posts.  Facebook tweaks this option often, so if it’s not available, just boost the post for that day from the post itself.
  2. Plan your weekly posts and identify which posts you’ll want to boost for a larger budget.  These can be client success stories, sales, but should all have some call-to-action.

Try out a few ad types before you get that “home run” and that generates major ROI: Who your most engaged fans are.  Target that demographic. What cities are the most engaged? Target those cities and others with similar demographics. Analyze your ad results to narrow your ad targeting to those Facebook users who are engaging with your ads. Set a goal like driving traffic to website and increasing sales

 

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