Do you know what separates the great digital marketers from the rest? Many believe it’s the ability to recognize new trends and identify the next big thing. I think it’s the ability to capitalize on what’s in front of us and generate results from them.
Facebook is one of the most powerful tools an online marketer can have in their tool-kit. The channel is the largest in the world and is quickly becoming the second most popular site for referral traffic for many small businesses and large brands. Yet still, I hear stories of businesses who are unable to capitalize on the growth and popularity of this social network.
So I ask, would you like to know how to build an awesome following without making the common mistakes that can result in “unlikes” and cost you lifetime customers? If so, here are six mistakes that you can avoid to ensure your Facebook following grows – Along with your business.
Mistake #1: Sell, Sell, Sell
It doesn’t matter how great your product is or how awesome your washrooms look if you can’t get anyone to experience it. Most business understand this and try to force it upon their fans through constant status updates about what they have for sale. The downfall here is that customers aren’t on Facebook to be sold to – They are on Facebook to socialize and discover new things. So instead of using Facebook to constantly push your product and make a sale – Use Facebook to connect deeper with your audience than ever before.
If you are familiar with the Movie Glengarry Glen Ross, you will have heard the saying “Always Be Closing” in the past. If it’s new to you, it’s essentially a concept that believes businesses and salesman should always be looking to seal the deal and make a sale. While making the sale is an important part in business, the process of making a sale through Facebook isn’t based on the traditional model. Instead of ABC – Always Be Closing, It’s more like ABC – Always Be Connecting. This connection happens through ongoing engagement with your fans and ensuring that the content you share is relevant and compelling.
Mistake #2: Not Giving Customers What they Want
Giving customers what they want has core of good business since the beginning of time. You want to do well in business? Find something the customer wants and give it to them. It’s really that simple. When it comes to Facebook however, not a lot of businesses are able to put their finger on exactly what it is the consumers want from them. I mean, why would someone like your brand? Why would someone subscribe to receiving ongoing updates from your business on a daily basis? That’s the question and here’s the answer.
HubSpot recently did a survey asking consumers the million dollar question: Why Would you Like a Brand on Facebook? The answers were not overly surprising but give us a better sense of what type of content we need to be putting out there if we want to use this space effectively. Here are the top five responses to this question ranked based on popularity:
- To recieve promotions & discounts (40%)
- To show the business support (39%)
- To stay informed about a brand (34%)
- To recieve freebies or samples (33%)
- For updates on sales & discounts (30%)
As you can see, lots of users place emphasis on their opportunity to receive product deals, discounts and giveaways. Yet at the same time, a large percentage is also looking to simply learn more about your brand and show that they support it. These simple insights provide you with a great opportunity to strengthen your connection with your network and furthermore, growing your likes.
An example of a company doing a great job with promotions and discounts on Facebook is Banana Republic. They will upload an image (see above) that highlights all the details for flash sale on their brands and products. For example, they ran the deal above specifically during Superbowl weekend with an emphasis being placed on giving their fans a Quarter off (Punny eh?). Another example of their deals can be found with this 50% off power lunch for three hours only! Apply this simple concept to your business and watch the fans and dollars pour in…
Mistake #3: Keeping Your Facebook Marketing Online
So your title is Digital Strategist. You’re the king of pixels and what your colleagues call a social media guru. You believe in transparent, authentic, dynamic, compelling, lateral, and interactive engagement. Yet, you have no freakin’ clue what it means to make a sale. You have no clue about marketing 101 and how “real-life” marketing can be leveraged to drive immediate sales for a business. This is a mistake.
Do not limit yourself to online Facebook marketing when you can cross promote your efforts. The extent of your promotions and social media activities should not begin and end on the computer screen. They should continue offline to involve and inspire real-life interaction and real-life connectivity. In doing this, you’re able to develop an incomparable relationship with your customers that cannot be taken away. That is, you’re able to create memories and moments that they will cherish forever.
Take for example the KLM Airline Happiness experience. They watched for people to checkin using social media, creeped their profiles and then gave them small items in real life that were relevant based on their listed interests. It’s a simple tactic but one that will leave everlasting memories in the minds of their customers. Imagine checking into a restaurant using Facebook and being thanked by the owner and offered a nice latte. Something as simple as that could make a customer a life-time brand advocate and supporter. Placing simple call-to-actions that say “Check in on Facebook” or “Check out our Facebook page” are easy ways to connect your brand with a larger audience. It’s simple. It’s effective. It works.
Mistake #4: Boring & Expected Content
If you go on a date with someone, how does the conversation tend to flow? They ask you a question, you respond, you ask them a question, they respond. Maybe you talk about a great book you’ve read and that reminds them of a great movie they saw. That’s an ideal date. Conversation flowing back and forth between two individuals sharing their thoughts and giving the other a bit of insight into what they are all about.
Now there are also bad dates. Bad dates involve one party sitting on the other end of the table, talking about how great they are and why they are Gods gift to the planet Earth. This ongoing self-indulgence happens for roughly an hour until the other party goes directly into zombie-mode and is already thinking about the laundry they have to do when they get home. This is something that many brands are falling victim of today.
They simply use Facebook to talk about themselves and nothing more. It’s the Me, Me, Me, Me show. Essentially, nothing but a channel being used for self-promotion and self-stimulation. So what else would you share on Facebook? Everything! Mix it up with photos, YouTube videos, ask questions, blog articles or even news related to your industry or brand. The key is to ensure that the content (while unique/different) is aligned with your brands message and your fans world view. The content you share will have a direct impact on how your brand is perceived.
Mistake #5: Not Investing (Time not Money)
According to studies, 26% of Small Businesses are failing when it comes to Social Media because of the time investment. They are unable to recognize and capitalize on the opportunity that exists when it comes to managing their time and Facebook page effectively. In reality, tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer provide marketers and small business owners a great opportunity to improve their efficiency with social media. For many, the time commitment is scary because they have a hard time identifying the Return on Investment of Social Media.
As cliche as it may sound, Time really does equal money. When it comes to executing a social media strategy, time is without question the most valuable asset you can have. You see, it takes time to write blog posts, it takes time to find compelling content and it takes time to plan a thorough and detailed content strategy. Upon completion of all of this however, that time invested into Facebook will translate into time that resulted in new customers.
Mistake #6: Not Understanding The Channel
Martin Luther King Jr once said, Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. All marketers and businesses have an opportunity to learn and educate themselves on the different opportunities that exist on Facebook. A quick search on Google or YouTube would quickly send some to a wide range of content filled with insights and relevant information. For some reason, people are not willing to investigate or put in the effort to get a better understanding of how Facebook can take their business to another level.
Even after the business portion of Facebook has been around for 4 or 5 years, many businesses still don’t understand how to manage their brand. Once in a while, I still visit a brands Facebook page to be met with them using Applications to do things that can be done directly through the natives apps within Facebook. For example, instead of using “Questions” a handful of brands are installing (maybe even paying for) apps to run surveys throughout their network. It’s not only an ineffective use of the channel, but also demonstrates a lack of knowledge in the space.
Here are a few great posts on some things all businesses should know about Facebook:
- How To Market on Facebook
- Facebook: The Power of “Like” Marketing
- The Business Guide to Facebook Part 1: Your Brand Page for the Social Web
- How Facebook’s ‘Frictionless Sharing’ Can Create Better Ads On Facebook