In the last few years, an incredibly new tool has become available for small businesses. This tool, called retargeting, allows OMP owners to “tag” people who have visited viewed their content online, and then report that tag back to a central database. Then, if the OMP owner chooses, she can retarget those visitors with ads and announcements in the future. If you’re having trouble with that explanation, try this analogy.
Imagine you owned a specialty clothing store in the mall, and you target young, professional men. Clearly not every person who comes into the mall is your target customer, but just about everyone that stops and looks at your window, or comes into your store, is a good prospect for a future sale. What if you could get smart phone number of every person who stopped by, regardless of whether they filled out a form or even spoke to a sales associate in your store? What if just the act of stopping to look in your store activated an app on their phone allowed you to send them text messages later on to tell them about sales or special events, and there was virtually nothing they could do to stop it? And, in fact, once they got over the privacy issue, they realized it was actually helping them by giving them information they really wanted, regardless of whether they even asked for it?
That’s what retargeting does, and at this point, nobody allows you to do it better, or easier, than Facebook.
You’ve been out to websites where they ask you to join their mailing lists? Maybe one in a hundred actually does that. But with retargeting, you can put a piece of code into the header of each page in your website, and whenever anybody with an active Facebook account visits any page in your site, Facebook logs that visit, and adds their Facebook ID to a lockbox with your name on it. Depending upon how many of your visitors have Facebook accounts, that capture ratio could approach 100%. You never get to see who the individual visitors are, but Facebook puts them aside for you, and then you can send ads directly to those people, and if you have enough, to those people only.
But now, take it one step further. If you are using Facebook to drive your traffic to your site, then 100% of those visitors will definitely have a Facebook account. Everyone who reads your message on Facebook and decides to visit your site will become a captured lead for you. This is why it is important to have those “expert articles” appearing every week on your site. They are creating a steady stream of newly minted prospects directly into your Facebook retargeting database. Depending upon the amount of traffic you generate, you can tell Facebook to keep people in that list for up to six months, before it moves them out. Naturally, whenever they visit again, they will be re-added to the list, and the six month period will start again. If you are getting tens of thousands of visitors a month, however, you may not have a sufficient ad budget to be targeting all of them, and you may choose to only keep leads alive for two months or four months. This will also depend upon your sales cycle.
So let’s put this entire social media thing back into perspective, because although we started with a very strong statement about it NOT being advertising and media, we have ended with what appears to be a very technical, almost mercenary approach to our management of the resource.
Your first focus in social media should always be on “social”. Media is just how it happens. Your personal account on Facebook should be exactly that: personal. You have to be a real person, and who you really are. If you are a raging animal rights activist, don’t hide it on your personal page because you might offend a customer. Anybody who gets to know you is probably going to find it out sooner or later, anyway. When you try to hide it, though, you end up sounding like you’re, well, hiding something. As the old saying goes, people don’t buy from companies, they buy from people. You need to be a real person, and real people have opinions on issues. You don’t have to proselytize from your Facebook pulpit about whether the Human Society uses its donations appropriately, but it doesn’t hurt for you to be sharing articles or commenting on them in a professional manner, either. In fact, what ends up happening is people feel more comfortable buying from someone who genuinely shares their beliefs or opinions on subjects, and it can cause MORE people to buy from you than it would cause people to avoid you.
And, in fact, Facebook makes it very easy to decide who can and can’t see your posts. Personally, I keep everything set to “public”, so anybody who wants to see who I really am can just go right to my wall, whether they have friend requested me or not, and find out what I think, feel and believe about subjects. This is an honest public persona, and you know it is because it has been consistent for years and years. People can see that I politely handle those who disagree with my positions, and I fervidly defend those who share them. That’s who I am, and if you have had even a modicum of honest success in business, that’s probably who you are, too. People can find pictures of my family, my vacation trips, my animals, and occasionally, amidst all that reality, they can also find brief references to my work.
Contrast this with a local businessman I follow on Facebook named “Charlie”. Charlie posts pictures of beautiful women in seductive poses… and ads for his business. That’s it. Except for an occasional, “Happy Memorial Day” type post, that’s all he posts. Are we really to believe there is nothing more of Charlie? Or, more likely, is he afraid people will find out who he really is, and then not buy his product? And if Charlie, who knows Charlie the best, knows that he is the kind of person that would turn off customers, shouldn’t we believe him and just not do business with him?
Yes, that IS how the human mind works, and how people actually view your presence on Social Media. Because they can’t see your face, or observe your body language, or note your manner of dress, they can only assess you based upon what you present to the public. Make it a complete, well rounded picture of yourself, and then be the professional your business needs you to be.
Let’s recap the entire social media process now, to make sure you have an easy map to follow.
- Create a weekly article on your OMP highlighting your expertise in your business, recounting how you solved a customer issue, or discussing an important “how to” so people can get valuable information from your Online Marketing Platform.
- Post that article to your Facebook Business Fan Page. Make sure it has a professional image attached so that it shows up whenever anyone shares the article on their own wall. (This is called a “featured image” in both WordPress and DRIVOR sites)
- Create a second post every week simply highlighting events that happened in your store, happy customers, or something that gives the correct impression of how people who do business with you FEEL about your business.
- Create an ad that retargets your website visitors by letting them know you have written a new article (the one in step 1) and they can read it by following the link.
- Maintain constant activity on your personal page. Engage with friends and family. Be real.
- GIVE at least 4 articles that help others before you ASK them to do anything for you. So if it takes you four weeks to create four articles that teach people how to garden, you have to wait until the FIFTH week to ask them to check out the new rose bushes you have on sale. You’re your content creation accordingly. Giving is 80% of what you do in social media. Asking for people to consider you for their next purchase is just 20% of your messaging. The most successful marketers do even less than that. Some have reached zero percent, because their OMP moves them into a sales process, thus their social media can be used exclusively to attract visitors with the warm and fuzzies.
- Don’t be afraid to share information that is not on your own OMP, but try to keep it to a minimum. Be a useful resource to your potential customers. If you make it all about you, that can also turn others off. If a competitor in another state writes a great blog article, then share it. You’re not going to lose business over it, but the fact that you are confident enough to share competitor’s material says a lot about you and the strength of your business. People gravitate to success. Use that to your advantage.
Having said that, there are a lot of people out there who use other people’s material as a springboard for their own articles and posts. If you see someone else’s article that leaves out important information, then by all means write ABOUT that other article, QUOTE that other article, and then provide a LINK to that article… on your own blog! Don’t just comment on it in on Facebook if your comment has real significance. Own that turf and bring people to it.
- Rinse and repeat.
That’s your simple cycle for social media. Believe it or not, you can do all that in less than 30 minutes a day, three days a week. Sure, your personal stuff will take more time, but you’re probably going to do that anyway. And so what if amongst the pictures of your new puppy and your kid’s graduation, you also have a post that says, “Hey, I just wrote this article on changing your bicycle chain. Have a look!”, who cares? People will remember that bicycles are your business, and some of your friends may share the article and get you a referral. If your business is a part of your life, then you also shouldn’t hide that in your social media presence, either. Just don’t make it the only thing you talk about. Twitter might work that way, because people on Twitter choose whom they follow based on interests, not on life. But Facebook is about the WHOLE you. That is why Facebook is winning the social media war, because it’s about the “social”, not about the “media”.