With more than 500 million active users on Facebook and growing, clearly, this is an opportunity to reach and connect with vastly larger numbers of people than traditional marketing, in a fraction of the time and with far less cost. Facebook, like any social network, will only work for you if you reach the right people with the right message. Also, you need to be willing to put the time and effort into creating meaningful content that people will want to share, and that will bring them and their friends back to the site.
Do this first. You must know the audience you want to reach. Decide on the demographic you want to target. Know the actions these people are likely to take, the type of content people will respond to, the attitudes of your typical audience, and their desires and personal beliefs. Once you know this informations you can understand what they will want in terms of content. There are a number of online research tools like Microsoft AdLabs and Quantcast which can help you determine this information. I also recommend you look at competitor sites to review the content and method of engagement they are using. By understanding the profile of your target audience you can spend your time creating content that interests your target audience and more easily develop relationships with people who actually care about what you offer.
You need to decide how you will use Facebook. Will your primary purpose and focus be to brand your company, to find candidates for an open positions, to highlight new services or products, or to educate prospects. Your target audience and your purpose will be primary factors which should guide who you decide to add as “friends” or “fans” to your Facebook profile. Everything you share on Facebook affects people’s perception of you and your company. Even though you are able to limit what individual users can see on your profile by changing your settings, you will need to be strategic about the content your post, as well as what links, photos and videos you share in your profile updates in order to add value to your brand and give those with whom you are connected what they are looking for.
By keep up with industry news and writing about it in your blog, newsletter and posting these in your Facebook Business/fan page updates you can quickly be a go to source for this information. You can engage with people by writing about things you’ve learned from educational webinars, upcoming dates to industry workshops, conferences and articles you’ve read. Other topics of interest include case studies and testimonials that can even be more powerful ways to show the value you bring. By regularly posting these status updates or sending as direct messages you become the go-to place for insights and information in your industry. Joining, starting and regularly contributing to groups on Facebook will also build trust and add to your reputation as a leader with your target population.
If you have a blog or a presence on other social networks then place a Facebook “Like” button or Facebook Like box on these other sites in order to direct people to your Facebook business/fan page. By liking your site the user adds your page to their Interests section of their Facebook profile, and the page is shared on the news feeds of the fan’s friends. You then you have the ability to send updates to the user via their news feed.
You must know who in your company will have responsibility for the campaign. Once you commit to this you must continue or risk damaging your brand reputation. You must also schedule dedicate time, even if it is only a few minutes each day to post updates, respond to messages, friend requests, as well as to review and respond to comments.
With a growing number of apps you reach great numbers of people very quickly and use Facebook to register people for events, workshops, webinars, try out promotions, show the latest videos, have contests, and poll potential customers on new service or product preferences.
Success in social media can be defined in many ways. Some companies define it through the impact Facebook has on their calls to action. You can monitor how many people are interacting with you, signing up for your blog or newsletter, visiting your website or landing pages from Facebook, Likes for your page. leaving comments on your Facebook Page, calling a phone number dedicated to a landing page set up on the site, calls in, or products sold from ads on Facebook.
The bottom line though, to be successful with social media marketing, build your business on Facebook, and maximize your return on the investment, you need to dedicate the time to plan your strategy, regularly add interesting and original content, have clear calls to action, and use Facebook to build relationships with the people you are trying to reach. This takes time, creativity and a dedication of resources for the long term.
Are you using Facebook? If not, what is stopping you from using it?
If you are using Facebook-what has been effective for you?