To Facebook or not to Facebook? That is the question: Part 2

Posted by Thomas Schonenberger on May 16, 2012 | Tagged as: Tags: , , , ,

In my last post I covered that most businesses feel they need to be on Facebook, but are uncertain as to the benefit and the potential returns. There are many case studies of clients making good returns on Facebook, so how do you join them?

In this post I will be looking at what your fans want and how to go about acquiring some of their loyalty. We are not discussing Facebook advertising in the form of paid banner ads on Facebook  – I’ll leave that to another post in this series. For now we are looking at the community whom you can reach out to via messaging and your fan page. This of course presumes that your business has a place on Facebook. The argument for a Facebook presence is not equal for all businesses. Ecommerce stores fair quite well, however you will face some challenges if you are a B2B company such as law firm specialising in contract law.

It is vitally important that you evaluate where your audience is to be found and whether Facebook is actually the right platform for your business. Furthermore you need to decide what “Success” looks like in order to set some goals and expectations.

Given you have considered the above have defined our Facebook objectives then one of the first considerations relates to the quality of the fan base. Embarking on a mission to increase your numbers needs to be a targeted drive. You could ask your friends to like you and ask friends of friends, and then you could go hire an Indian company who will make up fake profiles and get you lots of Russian speaking fans. (OK I made that up, but you get the idea – that is not a plan for a successful campaign!) The quality of your fan base is going to directly affect your success to marketing to them. There are specialised companies who will create campaigns that will indeed win you the right type of fans however you will need budget to initiate such a campaign, and then you will need to have done some good sums to work out your break-even point & ROI.

Next we need to look at what your fans want. They certainly don’t want to be marketed to. They are on Facebook to catch up with who’s doing what and to get the low down on the latest. There are constant conversations happening, and what you want to do is become part of that conversation. You need to give your fans something worth talking about. So a luring prize contest, an unmissable special, or discount voucher is something that they may pick up and run with. It needs to be good enough for them to consider sharing it amongst their friends. Then you will get take-up on your offer, whether it is to acquire more fans and brand awareness or to actually move some product.

Cutting to the chase: Given that you have done the sums and have decided to take the plunge, you need a plan. Work out what strategy you will be adopting and do some reading. There are dozens of articles out there on creative ways to engage and increase your fan base. Some articles are old but bear in mind that you are addressing a community and play into their interests. Once you have formulated your plan you need to allocate resources to make it happen and to keep at it. Put a structure in place that periodically checks, maintains, and innovates. And then be sure you are able to measure your returns, whether it be via analytics or whether you are counting likes, get your monitoring tools in place. Create community guidelines and set expectations internally such that you are clear about how you will be engaging with your audience. Facebook themselves offer this Best Practice Guide.

Some other resources & interesting posts to help you along:

The 8 Success Criteria for Facebook Page Marketing

9 Facebook Marketing Success Stories you should Model

Facebook Marketing Guide

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