In the same way your Online Marketing Platform is the hub of all your online marketing activity, your Facebook Fan Page (or Business Page, I use the terms interchangeably) should be the hub of all your Facebook business activity. What I’m going to discuss here are the “best practices” for managing your page so that you get the most impact for your effort. I’d say “bang for your buck”, but most of what we’ll be discussing here doesn’t cost you anything but a few minutes of your time every day. Don’t think of social media as a chore or task. It’s not like you’re going out in 92⁰ heat to put up signs in the median of a highway. What you’re doing is talking to your customers. When a customer walks into your store, you don’t pounce on them and start blathering on about your overstocked water heaters. Your $9 an hour cashier might do that, but that’s not how you would handle real customer who graced you with their presence. Instead, you would engage them in dialogue, find out what they need, and then discuss their options with them. Perhaps your overstocked water heater is just right. Or perhaps they are looking to buy all new appliances for their entire household. You don’t know until you ask.
NOTE: I won’t be giving explicit, step by step instructions on how to do these things on Facebook, and that’s because by the time you read this, some of those steps will have changed. All internet based technology is subject to RAPID change without notice. You wake up one morning, and the internet gods have decided you needed to get rid of that dashboard you’ve used for three years and replace it with a new cPanel that they assure you will make your life “easier”. (True story: I have a special exemption from Godaddy that keeps my old dashboard in place, rather than replacing it with the new control panel they have been giving to every new customer for a couple YEARS now. I frequently do specific tasks in one step that simply aren’t available as a single step option in the new panel!) So the best thing for you to do is take what I’m telling you, then either search the “help” files on Facebook for how to do it, or check out my site (www.FiveDrivers.com/Facebook) to find the latest technical updates on how to do those little things that keep moving around.
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Boosting versus Ads
Boosting is not advertising, and advertising is not boosting.
I suggest using them for different strategic ends. One is a favor to your business, one is a favor to your customers. This is the only place you will see me say that the advertising is more important than the customer service, but I retain the right to change my mind in future editions of this book as we do more testing.
When you have written a post and you want to make sure the fans of your page see it, then you should Boost that post right after you have created it. Select you’re the fans of your page and their friends as the ones who will see the boosted post, and then run it for one day, perhaps two, depending upon how many fans you have. My advice is that for most small businesses, a boost budget should be no more than a dollar a day. That will give you several hundred of your fans and their friends, and that should be enough to get your post to go viral, if it has the right confluence of components to do so. There really is very little reliable prediction involved in which posts will get picked up by your fans and shared. It just happens. It can only happen, though, if enough of your fans actually see the post. That’s why it is important to get it out to more than the 1% that Facebook will give you for free. Your fans have asked to see your information, so you are doing them a favor by paying to put your message in front of them. You’re not spamming.
Advertising is different. With advertising you are seeking to attract new people to become followers of your page, your OMP and ultimately, your business. This is the reliable source of fresh leads from your community, so you have to think carefully about the demographics and psychographics of your customers to decide the people you wish to spend money attracting.
Within the “Create Ad” part of Facebook, you can narrow down your target demographics by age, gender, and most importantly, geography. If you have a restaurant, there’s no point in advertising to people more than 25 miles away. Don’t waste the money trying to draw people from two towns over just because somebody over there came in once and loved the place. If you have a group of people in distant places they will hopefully be following your page, and you will get your message to them and their friends by boosting. Don’t waste advertising dollars on them.
Once you’ve decided on your geographic settings, you can then get around to deciding what kind of people you are seeking. You can narrow the numbers down by age and by gender. Clearly, if you are running a gym for ladies only, you aren’t going to bother spending money advertising to men. (Not only will they not buy from you, but no man is going to take the risk of suggesting his wife needs to get a gym membership! On the other hand, you can probably create quite a campaign for a men’s gym by targeting their wives!)
Age settings are as specific as you want them to be. In my previous example, I suggested creating an ad for women who were 47 to 49 years old, with a headline, “Getting (uncomfortably) close to 50?”. This is an excellent example of how tightly you can market your business on Facebook. Now watch how we make it even tighter by finding the psychographics that match your model customer.
Psychographic Marketing on Facebook
When it comes to psychographics, nobody compares to Facebook. Because they have such a huge percentage of the population in their database, they can slice and dice them based on the tiniest sliver of interests, occupations or even political beliefs. If you’re advertising a gun shop, finding people who have expressed an interest in the Second Amendment is probably a great place to advertise your “Concealed Carry” class starting this Saturday. I have worked with businesses in the equestrian industry who have found thousands of potential customers within a few dozen miles of their stores, and they market to them almost relentlessly. Their Facebook following has exploded… and so have their floor traffic and sales. These people are right there around your store, but they need to know about you if they are going to consider you when making their next purchase. Facebook advertising lets you find them, converse with them, and eventually invite them to shop with you.
And if you are a recruiter, or you have a business that focuses on a large local employer, you have the capability to target people by their place of employment. If you’ve been parking your lunch truck outside Lockheed Martin’s offices for six months with limited success, maybe you should consider creating an ad on Facebook that lets them know what is on your menu, what your hours are that you will be parked in front of their building, and what your daily special is. You can probably hit a large percentage of the employees who would never consider you an option before seeing your ad. Why wait for word of mouth? Create it!
There are about a thousand courses and videos on how to create successful Facebook ads. The problem is, most of them are designed around the idea of internet marketing, not around business marketing online. You don’t need to be quite as aggressive as they are, but you can use the ad to offer specials or deals to anyone who clicks on the link. This can take them to your OMP where they can register and get an introductory coupon for a free drink, a free round of golf, or a 50% discount on their first chair massage.
Again, your budget only needs to be between $1 and $5 a day. The equestrian store I previously mentioned had a total budget of $1 a day ($22 a month) for all their Facebook advertising. And it worked.
Play with it
Nothing you do is the best you can do. Time changes everything. And that’s good. Your ads on Facebook can’t be compared to anybody else’s ads because they aren’t in your business in your town with your customers. You have to start keeping track of what your ads are doing, how effective they are at driving traffic and new fans to your page, and ultimately, how much money they spend with you. This is actually the REAL work of online marketing. When you create an ad, you can create multiple cover images. Facebook will change those images for you automatically, and then you can see which image gets more attention. You then dump the image that isn’t doing as well, and immediately add ANOTHER image in its place. Then you compare these two images for performance. Whichever one gets better response is kept, and the other is replaced. You never stop improving your performance.
Seriously, why would you spend $22 a month to get five new customers when you can spend the same $22 and get seven? Or nine? You won’t know how much better you could be doing until you try, and Facebook allows you to do this “split testing” all day long on every campaign. You don’t need to go crazy with this, but remember to use this system to find out what you can be doing better.
In fact, the cover picture for your ad is just the easy change. You can actually create ads with different headlines, body copy, call to action buttons… every detail can be tweaked to see how it affects your response. The key to good split testing (or A/B testing, as it is sometimes called) is to only change ONE element at a time. If you change more than one, you won’t know which change caused the difference in response, or if one negative change actually cancelled out another positive one in the same ad. One variable at a time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
There is another setting that can really help you improve performance, and that has to do with the timing of your ad. You can set your ads to only appear at certain times of the day. So, if you are having a big event starting at 3:00 PM, you can have different ad campaigns running on the days leading up to the event, and then different ads running right up TO the event. Imagine seeing “Happy Hour starts in less than an hour!” on your Facebook wall. It gives you urgency, and because the timeframe is so tight, you can spread your advertising dollars over a wider swath of the market. By focusing on the exact time window, you can expand the number of people who see your message in that tight timeframe. This is great for business. We used this kind of “time based” marketing for a political campaign on election day, and it worked brilliantly. If you have a special that ends today, you can almost give people a countdown to the time you close and the deals go away.
This system has been used very successfully by internet marketers to get people to sign up for their webinars, but there’s no reason you can’t adapt it to get your customers into your “live” events. It’s easy to set up and once done, it is entirely automated. All you have to do is plan your work a little bit in advance and you can begin to see excellent results. This system works well because it gives a sense of urgency to your message. Sometimes this urgency can be the emotional energy needed to get people over the hump of stagnancy momentum. A body in motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest. You need to get their resting body in motion. An urgency campaign might be just the trick to do it.
Those are the basic elements of handling Facebook for your social media marketing. Allow me to recap them here, in bullet form:
- Be sincere, genuine and honest. Facebook is about PEOPLE, not about messages. Unless people feel that you are sincerely interested in them, they aren’t going to see your business as anything but an empty husk.
- It’s okay to have opinions. That’s part of being real. Don’t be over the top, unless you are sure you have a small segment of your audience that will absolutely LOVE your position, and become better, more faithful customers because of it. I’m not advising you become a populist; just don’t be afraid to be you.
- Be reliable. Post consistently. Try to have at least one message up every day.
- Have one good content piece created on your OMP every week, and share that on your FB wall. Boost that piece so that as many of your fans and followers can see it. That’s why they signed up.
- Capture life moments with a picture or video and put that up on your FB page. If an employee is working extra hard, catch ‘em in the act. If a customer is especially happy with something you did, ask them to smile for the camera. If it’s going to take more than 30 words to explain it, then turn it into a site post and drive the traffic back to your OMP.
- Create regular ad campaigns to attract new customers.
- Split test all your ad campaigns. Constantly be improving.
- Target your audience geographically, demographically and psychographically. The more you narrow down the market and the message, the higher your response rate will be.
- Spend your money sparingly. See what a dollar a day gets you. If you are running your split testing regularly, you will always be creating new versions of your ads. Once in a while, though, create something entirely different. Run it simultaneously against your standard ad. You may get a pleasant surprise. Let your real life customers inspire you.
Other Social Media Channels
So now that you understand all that about Facebook, and you have got the system down pat and you are running it regularly and know what it will get you… THEN you can perhaps look at adding another social media channel. Now that you are practiced at creating messages, updating information on a regular basis, and tracking the results of those messages, you have a benchmark against which you can compare the new social media channel. If you have good customers always talking about stuff on Instagram, then perhaps that might be a place where you can find more customers like them. But until you master one channel, you won’t know what is good or bad on the other. It’s just like split testing your ads. Let Facebook be your benchmark, and judge the other channels from there.