As part of a session from last year’s Dreamforce, Chris Luo, then Head of Global SMB Marketing at Facebook, spoke on the subject of achieving small business success for those looking to leverage Facebook for marketing. Noting that Facebook users are sharing so much of themselves on the network including, increasingly, brands and local businesses that they are fans of, Luo outlined a handful of steps for achieving business success on the platform.
Here are four things to think about when considering Facebook as part of your small business marketing strategy.
1. Create a simple, engaging page
“Have a solid page strategy. Don’t even think a lot about apps and things like that.” Luo advises. “Make your page an engaging place, a place that people want to connect to. You can create and really turn this into a representation of your brand. Set an awesome cover photo, fill it out, add in milestones, key moments, and then start making social a part of your business model.”
“Let’s say you have a point of sale.” Luo continues “When people reach that point of sale, say, 'Hey, get a little discount by liking us on Facebook.' If you have an email newsletter, encourage people to like you on Facebook or put that in your footers somewhere. Make social a part of everything you do from a marketing perspective. Start aggressively building out your fan base.” He advises that Facebook will work for you by building relationships, building those connections for life, and then influencing those connections with lightweight interactions over time.
2. Connect to people with ads
Maybe now you have a few hundred people liking your page, but if you do the math, a few hundred people isn’t enough to really influence your sales. When you push content out, you’re not sure what kind of interaction level or audience you may have. You have to actually build out that audience.
How do you do that? One great way is through ads. Ads can leverage specific targeting capabilities on Facebook, like age, location, gender, and job title. “We also build custom clusters.” says Luo, “If you’re targeting small businesses, there’s a small business cluster. If you’re targeting tech early adopters, there’s an early adopters club. There’s a lot of interesting ways to really target your precise audience on Facebook.”
Luo encourages companies to make different types of ads and experiment with text. “What I really want is to actually encourage you to create ads that get people liking your page. It could be something such as, 'Like our page and get a discount,' 'Like our page and stay up to date on our products.' Connect to people with ads. Don’t just think about ads as driving offsite traffic. Really use this to accelerate your audience growth and build out your page.”
3. Engage your audience with quality content
For Luo, content is really the “secret sauce.” Content drives the interactions that influence and turn people into buyers, and ultimately, repeat buyers. He notes that Facebook has become a highly visual platform. “Some photos actually have a 100% higher engagement than just standard posts.” he says, “This is really your opportunity to start influencing people in that personal section of their Facebook: the Newsfeed.”
Luo makes a point of highlighting just how critical the News Feed is for achieving success. He notes that with the growing audience found on mobile (where there are no right-hand side ads), landing a spot in users’ Newsfeeds is that much more critical. “You’ve got to be in the Newsfeed to really reach and influence people.” Producing content is the way to get there. In fact, Luo's seen eight times more engagement with page posts in the Newsfeed than ads on the right-hand side of a page.
“Right-hand side ads are great. You can build your audience, target specifically, and get those people to like your page but how are you going to drive the influence? It’s in the Newsfeed, with content,” says Luo.
4. Influence the friends of your aans
This last step is to drive that word of mouth at scale. Every time someone interacts with your company on Facebook, their friends can see it in their own Newsfeed as a story. That’s an opportunity.
By encouraging people to interact more with you on Facebook, people will see when their friends are engaging with you, so try to move existing friends from merely fans who have liked you, to fans that are engaging with you regularly (with the aforementioned content). To drive more interactions, Facebook suggests companies can:
- Encourage people to check in at your business, perhaps with a sign in the store, or even with a special discount for people who do so
- Create events on your Page and invite users to join them
- Ask questions and create posts that encourage more engagement
- Share exclusive information and offers that users may want to share with their friends