I recently came across an interesting post titled Facebook pages are bad for small businesses. In it, the author recounts his experience in using Facebook to promote his business and the gist of the article revolved around the fact that in his opinion every action that he did on Facebook, helped Facebook generate more revenue, leaving him where he was.
The same article was tweeted 991 times, shared on Facebook 2800 times and 388 times on LinkedIn apart from several comments from equally sympathetic readers who seemed to have faced the same problem. And am quite sure that it would have found resonance with several other business owners like the author thanks to all the sharing that took place.
Now, am not an avid advocate of Facebook marketing. I don’t use it much, but that’s because my business is centered on a B2B audience rather than a B2C audience. But nevertheless I believe Facebook is perhaps one of the best mediums currently available for marketing.
Writing of Facebook because of poor marketing is akin to throwing out the baby along with the bath water. Like any other medium, should you chose to ignore the fundamentals of marketing, you will burn your fingers. Hopefully this article will help steer many of the prospective business owners who are contemplating using Facebook for their business into using it in the right manner.
Why use Facebook for Marketing?
Facebook is the largest single media vehicle today with over 1 billion users. Nothing comes close to it, not even TV. And therefore you can ill afford to ignore it as a media vehicle if you are running a business. Add to this the uniqueness of the media that allows users to interact with you and amongst themselves and you have the dream media that every marketer salivates over.
Reach that cannot be replicated and interactivity that no other media provides in as much intensity.
Who should use Facebook for marketing?
Facebook is not for everyone contrary to what the marketers in Facebook keep saying. It is the ultimate media vehicle if you are in a business that sells directly to consumers. It’s not worth the while if you’re in a business that sells to other businesses. Period.
When should you use Facebook for marketing
Like any other media vehicle, you need to understand how best to leverage it before you use it. You can comfortably use Facebook if you want to do any of the following:-
- Reach out to sell more products directly to consumers. You could be an ecommerce site or you could be a high street retailer. Facebook is a great medium to sell directly.
- Create brand awareness for your brand. If your product or brand needs an awareness push, Facebook is a far better and definitely more cost effective medium to use to increase the awareness than TV.
- Increase or improve your brand loyalty. It stands to reason that the more loyal your consumers are to your brand, the greater is their life time value to you and the lower the dissonance your brand will have with others. Facebook is a great medium to create brand spokespersons or brand champions from among your consumers. Loyal consumers will often act on your behalf defending and promoting you across their social friends. Something that your visa card can’t buy.
- Consumer engagement. If you have a product or a service that requires engagement, there is no better medium with reach than Facebook. Research has proven that the more engagement a consumer has with your product, the greater will be his loyalty and as much tougher for your competitor to wean him away.
If your Facebook marketing goal is not one of the above, stay away for it.
How to use Facebook for marketing
How you use Facebook for marketing will depend on what your marketing objective is vis-à-vis the medium. I have read and heard of several social media marketers and business owners promising and trying do all the four above. That’s a sure fire way to fail in your effort, leaving you as one of the sympathizers to the poor author of the article Facebook pages are bad for small businesses.
The starting point of using Facebook is to set goals- one of the fundamentals of a good marketing plan and then move on from there. That is not to say that one shouldn’t or can’t do all four goals. The answer lies in developing a goal path with clear timelines as to what goal will be pursued at what stage in marketing.
Remember Rome was not built in a day and neither will your Facebook marketing efforts.
What Facebook marketing is not about
I recently received a mail from someone offering to hike up my company page Facebook likes by 2000 ‘genuine’ users. I deleted it, but I am sure that the sender would probably get a few hundred naïve first time Facebook marketing users and business owners subscribe to his offer. Like everything else in this world- there are no free meals. And if it’s free- get a taster to taste the meal first.
Here are some golden fundamental rules of what Facebook marketing is not and you should use it as a guiding principle in avoiding anyone who equates Facebook marketing to them.
- It is not about generating quick 10,000 ‘likes’ on your business page. If you want a quickie, there are more exciting things. Generating Facebook likes is serious marriage, not a quickie.
- Facebook marketing is not about creating a company/brand page and simply advertising it. There are easier ways to waste money.
- Facebook marketing is not about building 10,000 likes or more and then spamming your followers with sales messages three times in day because you read it somewhere.
- Facebook marketing is not about joining 500 groups and spamming them with sales messages once a day using software tools.
Facebook is at heart an interactive medium that offers unparalleled reach of over 1 billion people. As said before, every medium needs to be used leveraging what the medium has to offer. Do it any differently and you’re likely to have a poorer success rate. To sum up:-
- Facebook has reach of 1 Billion consumers & an un-matched interactivity you can leverage.
- Facebook is useful for B2C business and not useful for B2B business
- Facebook marketing can be used to increase sales, improve awareness, increase consumer engagement and build brand loyalty.
- The starting point of doing great Facebook marketing is to build time bound marketing goals of what you want to achieve
- Facebook marketing is not about blindly building likes, spamming, creating a page and advertising it or joining groups to send sales messages.
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