By Heather Logrippo
400 million potential customers—if they were standing outside of your office, would you ignore them? They’re already gathered in one place: Facebook.
There are some very compelling reasons to participate in Facebook, and it’s all in the numbers. First, Facebook has more than 400 million active users globally, and 50% of the active users log on to Facebook on any given day. Many of your competitors are already in this space—more than 1.5 million local businesses have an active Facebook page. And they are getting fans. More than 20 million people become fans of pages each day, and there are more than 5.3 billion fans of pages.
What makes this data even more interesting and the marketing potential more powerful is that the average time spent on Facebook is 55 minutes per day. When was the last time someone spent 55 minutes per day on Yahoo or Google? This “stickiness,” coupled with the ability to capture your audience by asking them to become fans of your business has given businesses a way to stay top of mind and influence their customers and potential customers in a way that conventional online marketing (i.e. Web sites) has never allowed.
Many people already have a personal Facebook page, however, selling or talking too much about work on your personal Facebook page is the equivalent of walking into a cocktail party and presenting a PowerPoint slide show on your company. To start, create a custom Facebook URL for your agency. (For example, the Expose Yourself Public Relations Facebook page is www.facebook.com/ExposeYourselfPR). By advertising this URL and funneling people to your agency’s fan page, you have the ability to capture your audience and market to them over and over instead of hoping they keep coming back on their own to your Web site.
Facebook can help you:
1. Capture your audience. You can collect your customers and potential customers as “fans” and market to them over and over again.
2. Encourage brand loyalty. You can communicate with your customers and potential customers in one centralized location.
3. Improve your organic ranking. Your Facebook page will help increase search engine optimization for your regular Web site.
4. Create highly targeted campaigns. You can run highly targeted demographic ads to attract only those people who are relevant to your business.
5. Grow your target audience. You will be able to use your offline advertising to point people to your Facebook page so that you can grow your fan base.
6. Respond more quickly to customer feedback. You can gain valuable comments from your customers and potential customers via Facebook and get them engaged with your company.
7. Guide company direction. The in depth analytics available on Facebook can give you insight as to how fans of your business interact with your company.
8. Nurture customer relationships. You will have a dynamic interface for your customers with updated, fresh content that keeps you top of mind!
9. Find more customers. You will find more customers more easily as your business spreads through the contacts on Facebook.
Networking has never been so fast and easy. The longer you wait, the further behind the curve you will be. It takes time and consistency to build a business page that will net revenue. A good page will convert prospects into customers.
Maximize Your Social Status
You’ve created a page—now what? Here are some simple steps to make the most of your social networking time on Facebook. Put in the time. If you don’t have the time, hire a company to help. Coordinate marketing efforts.
Include your business Facebook page address on your e-mails, direct mail, advertising and Web site. Cross-pollinate your Web site and Facebook page.Don’t lose people in the process. Make sure visitors can go to your Web site and can find you on Facebook, or people can find you on Facebook and then be directed to your Web site through Facebook.
Use your Web site to encourage people to become fans of your business Facebook page. Review page analytics. Determine if you are engaging fans and providing valuable content. Consider buying ads on Facebook. Facebook enables you to target your marketing efforts in a very systematic way. Make sure you send people from your ads to your business Facebook page. The goal is to get fans—the more fans you have, the bigger your audience for Facebook feeds.
Heather Logrippo (Heather@ExposeYourselfPR.com) is president of Expose Yourself Public Relations, a public relations and marketing firm and Distinctive Homes Magazine of New England.