It doesn’t matter whether you have 50,000 fans on Facebook or 500, it matters whether they are engaged.
The marketing strategy of social media advertising is a relatively new idea, but one that can rapidly gain results for businesses and should not be underestimated. Did you know:
- More than 350 million users are active on Facebook;
- 50% of active users log in on any given day;
- The average user spends 55 minutes a day on Facebook;
- More than 1.6 million active Facebook fan pages have been created.
Establishing a Facebook fan page is the easy part; A few clicks here and a little blurb there and you’re done. It’s not even difficult to get a large following on your fan page. You can put a link to the page on your website and you can even invest in some Facebook advertising.
The challenge lies in creating a Facebook fan page that encourages everyone who has taken the time to click “Like”, to interact with the page and then rave to their friends or co-workers about your business. Considering this, it doesn’t matter whether you have 500,000 fans on Facebook or 500, it matters whether they are engaged.
There are quite a few ways to do this and the basis of all of them can be found in any high school advertising or marketing textbook. Facebook and all social media in general is a platform for sharing, and that is exactly what you should do! Sharing images, videos, ideas or discounts are simple yet effective ways of engaging your fan base and getting them “talking” about your business. However, this form of sharing needs to be relevant and meaningful to your service or product: a funny cat video from YouTube shared on the wall of a pet-food brand’s fan page is hardly going to have the same impact if it were shared on the wall of an orthodontic practice! None the less, if these sorts of tools are used in an appropriate way they will work towards sparking debate and comment amongst the page’s fans, or more specifically, “raving”.
Here at Arrow we alert our social media marketing clients to the benefits of creating platforms for participation amongst their Facebook fans and encourage them to use these tools to enhance their marketing strategy.
Kidspot is an online forum for mothers and pre-mothers alike. It’s a one stop resource for health issues, recipe ideas and general parenting advice. With 46,893 fans and 3,048 currently talking about it, their Facebook fan page is an excellent example of a sharing platform that keeps their fans engaged constantly.
This type of wall post is a quick and simple way of touching base with your Facebook fans, whilst offering some new and relative information, in the form of a recipe: It gives mum’s a good idea for a healthy lunch for their children and might prompt them to explore the Kidspot website for more recipe ideas.
Here, Kidspot have used a relevant image with a comedic twist, resulting in 370 likes and 108 shares. A “share” can work to market your page (and business) even further amongst the sharers friends, boosting your fan base.
Peeptoe Shoes’ Facebook fan page is a great example of using giveaways to generate participation and engagement. This type of marketing works to generate interest in your brand, and apart from gaining a few raving fans (“Wow did you see the giveaway on Peeptoe’s Facebook page?! Now I’ll definitely get those shoes I’ve been wanting if I get a free clutch!”), you will directly increase your online sales.
Depending on your product or service, there is also the option of either partly or wholly moving your online sales to the Facebook platform. One example of this is Vintage Marketplace.
Vintage Marketplace (VMP) is an online vintage store that sells mostly one off pieces through Facebook, in a similar way to eBay. After posting a product image to their site, the first Facebook user to comment “SOLD” on the picture will be immediately sent payment details by VMP and once the transaction is complete, buyer will be sent their purchase. This type of selling is incredibly effective as while users peruse Facebook, they will be notified of new items for purchase in their news feed. Also, the method of purchasing (being first to comment “SOLD” on the product image) invokes a sense of urgency among potential buyers and forces them to buy quickly. Lastly, being on a platform such as Facebook, nothing is a secret: If you conduct your Facebook store in a professional and transparent manner then your fans will rave and you will turn out like VMP, with 104,234 fans and have 6,982 people currently talking about you.
The above are examples of some simple yet successful techniques to get your fan bases involved in your business and its product or service. However, as with all things business related, there are also some techniques that can work against you. If you force too much participation on your fans, or you spam them with your product, they may be discouraged from engaging. As a marketing tool, Facebook fan pages should be carefully utilised: It’s all about balance. As suggested earlier, a funny cat video from YouTube shared on the wall of a pet-food brand’s fan page is hardly going to have the same impact if it were shared on the wall of an accounting practice’s page. Also, if your sharing is irrelevant or even in poor taste, you might find your page actually loses fans. Lastly, you need to participate in the participation. You can’t just post an image to your page’s wall and turn off the computer. You need to respond to people’s feedback: If a fan asks a question about your product, you need to answer it. Or if another fan finds your image offensive you need to remove it immediately! You can’t expect to have raving and engaged fans if you don’t engage with them.