By Chuck Sink Subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter by clicking here
“Business is people!” It’s a simple but brilliant concept one of my best college professors taught us young and callow undergraduates. From that concept I recently coined the acronym “BIPS” for Business is People, Stupid. Remember the KISS rule – Keep it Simple, Stupid? Far from being stupid, we sometimes let our intelligence get in the way of keeping things simple because we want to learn all the best practices in business that will help us accomplish our goals.
The more complicated media options become, the more important it is to use timeless principles when implementing a good marketing strategy. It’s always about the people in your target group. What do they want that your business can best provide them?
We’ll focus on Facebook today because it has incredible numbers and staying power. It has repeatedly warded off threats of being knocked down by competition, even “Mother Google” and remains the biggest online social platform in the world. Take a small city such as Concord, NH for example with a population of 42,700. The number of active Facebook users within a 10 mile radius is over 61,000. Wow! That’s a big universe of potential eyeballs for an ad or an interesting post that could be shared by friends and friends of friends. Now just take that to neighboring cities and do the math. The potential number of impressions is staggering. Retailers take note!
If you’re on Facebook regularly you’ve experienced the phenomenon that advertisements and shares including interesting factoids, videos, quotes, photos, political messages, and the like just seem to find you. Most of that is on purpose. People are targeting you based on geographic, demographic and lifestyle information that is readily evident on your page. So now you get the point: This platform offers tremendous potential as a precision marketing tool. Facebook Advertising can be a very good buy.
Like any tool requiring skill, unless you’re trained to use it properly it won’t work well. Take a musical instrument. Pick one up that you’ve never learned to play and try making music. You can’t. Thankfully, Facebook is easier to learn than a musical instrument because as human beings, we can all relate to other human beings and therefore empathize with what makes people tick; what’s important or valuable to them. Again, business is people. This is fundamental to keep in mind when designing and implementing your business Facebook strategy.
There are a few key metrics to use when measuring Facebook marketing effectiveness: number of Likes or Friends, how many engage with your page and how often they comment and share your posts or promotions. Referrals, leads and sales rack up the winning score. And this is where the subtle skills come in.
If you’re a retailer for example, you can post messages about your awesome selection, low prices and clean, attractive stores and you’ll get zero interaction from your audience (except for Mom, loyal employees and close friends). Offer a valuable give away (that you can afford) to anyone who clicks your Like button or shares your offer on their wall and see what happens. Ask questions about what people want to see on sale next week and listen to the answers. Act on that info whenever possible. Shout out a customer’s name for their great idea for improving your store after implementing the change and watch them share your brand with their hundreds of friends. Then see how many of their friends respond and Like your page. These are just a few things that have worked for retail companies.
Face it. Your Facebook page is a lousy advertising billboard because people are there to socialize, have fun and be entertained. They don’t care about your business in a social environment… unless there’s something in it for them.
The Killer Secrets
Self promotion falls flat on its face on Facebook but most people will act on the 4 E’s of social media engagement: Ego, Entertainment, Education and Enrichment. How can you recognize and compliment individuals, entertain them, inform them and give them something of value? The answers to this killer question are unique to every organization so it’s up to you to understand your customers and potential audience when trying to engage them. With regard to your social media invitations and follower engagement, you always remember the golden question which follows the platinum rule: What’s in it for them? It may be something as free and easy to share as a great YouTube video.
If you’re a B2B company (a business that sells to other businesses), Facebook is a wonderful online networking opportunity. You may even find that your personal Facebook page is more effective in making business connections than your business page.
If you’re like me, you’ve already established many business connections as personal Facebook Friends, even people you haven’t met yet. As an example, I got my last job interviews by sending direct Facebook messages to a few executives including my now former boss. We never met until the interview and I landed his and another job offer within a week with no resume required (LinkedIn served as my resume). Just last week, a man I’ve only known on Facebook sent me a direct message inquiring about a project we’ll soon be discussing in person. This is networking, not marketing!
If you’re a B2B operation, think of Facebook as a great place to network. Share ideas and business leads with your customers and almost-customers. Recognize and compliment people who interact with your page. Share what they share, and thank them publicly. As a retail or consumer business, think of what excites customers when they shop or use your products and apply those ideas online. Do everything you can on Facebook to make people feel good about themselves and your business. Treat them online the way you would treat a good customer face to face.