You've seen the jaw-dropping figures - 955 million monthly active users. In spite of the recent hoo-ha of 80 million potential fake users and tumbled share prices, this number is still relatively impactful. Facebook's social network domination may frequently get challenged by emerging social media platforms like Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn, but the facts remain. With approximately 1 billion members of its user base, Facebook is unmistakably the most popular and ingenious social network around.
Big brands are taking advantage of this growth -- companies like Coca-Cola, H&M, P&G, McDonald's and Starbucks. Likewise, or SMEs, every small business owner and entrepreneur should invest some time to determine how Facebook fits in with the rest of his or her marketing efforts. Connecting with your customers on Social networks are becoming more and more critical to business growth.
“Can I really make money with Facebook?”
Well, there are many successful case studies over the years and proven ways to generate revenue.
For all business owners out there who have established a Facebook presence but not taking advantage of its maximum potential for lead generation campaigns, here are several ways to start milking this social media site for more traffic, leads and customers.
Build and attract "Like"
As many new business owners quickly discover, one of the most challenging parts of starting a business is finding the right customers. Who is your target audience on Facebook and how to attract them?
There are some best practices that you can implement to create a strong and lasting relationship with your customers on Facebook.
Build your following and get people to like your page: You can start off with your existing Facebook contacts. Invite them to follow your Facebook Page. Try asking them for "friends suggestion" - this really works! A referral from a friend can be far more effective and targeted than any other outreach you do on your own.
Expand your reach with Facebook Ads: When it comes to social advertising, Facebook is obviously the biggest platform to use. It has an incredible amount of information on how to use the platform as well as case studies and tips that you can avail of. Brian Carter, the author of The Like Economy uncovered the ins-and-outs and how you can use Facebook's advertising centre to zero in on the right audience and promote your page. If you're promoting a page, target your ad to a very specific segment of viewers and ask them to Like your page via the ad.
Avoid making Deadly mistakes: There are lots of ways to screw it up, dozens of really dumb things you can do that will be a big turn off to people on Facebook. Avoid them all. The Oatmeal’s great article, How to Get More Likes on Facebook, illustrates some cases in details and it is laughing out loud funny.
Share likeable content and engage
Using content + social media is changing the marketing game and it is important that businesses understand how content marketing works.
The secret to successful word-of-mouth marketing on the Facebook is easy: Create Valuable Content. Content that is Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable, Shareable and most importantly - Likeable.
Create original, interesting and sharable content that attracts "Like"/"Comments" and overcome Edgerank. Don't forget to leverage on content curation, which can be part and parcel of your content strategy.
Rule of thumb: You need content that speaks to your brand, resonate and helps ignite people to begin talking about your brand. Visual rules, it gets as much as twenty times more engagement.
Deliver real value and turn likes into sales
Discovering your audience enables you to understand where they are in the buying funnel so you can influence decisions. You can optimize your content marketing messaging to your subscribers and subsequently convert them to become your loyal customers.
The traditional sales funnel includes awareness, intent, trigger, and then purchase. The Facebook or social media sales funnel still includes purchase—it’s just a longer path to get there. First, you must generate awareness, and a like. Then, you’ll take the prospects through a series of interactions, engaging them and providing them with interesting, educational, or valuable content. When the customer is ready to buy, as long as you have given him or her a clear, simple path to purchase, the sale can be triggered.
But the best part of Facebook sales funnel, as compared to the traditional sales funnel, is that it doesn't end in one sale. The Customer, still a liker, is eternally connected to you, unless he or she unlikes you. So after the sale, you can still engage with the customer, giving him or her value outside of directly purchasing your product. Staying connected with your customers on social networks after an initial sale also gives you a huge new advantage - the power of leveraging your customers' social graph and introducing yourself passively to their friends and followers. While the sales process through Facebook is clearly a longer one, it also yields greater frequency of purchase and increased awareness of you to your customer's networks.
GetSatisfaction illustrates the new sales funnel remarkably:
Deliver real value and apply creative ways to get customers to come to you. Nurture your community with quality content and from time to time, reward them with Facebook offers, create polls to gain insights and organize compelling contests. Offer Exclusivity for your Facebook Customers as they are worth so much more than the one-time or multiple transactions they have with your company. The real value lies in their ability and willingness to share their positive experience with their friends, fans, and followers.
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to share your information. Take it one step further, create clear "Call To Action", inspire your audience and give them a reason to click on the "Action" button.
All in all, the question about social media outlets such as Facebook is not whether it will change communication, collaboration, media and commerce. It will inevitably do that. The real question is: Who will harness social media most effectively and how to maximize your social media ROI.