One of the best decisions you can make as a business catering to a small town or community is to jump on the Facebook bandwagon.
There’s a reason why your competitors put so much money into hiring social media managers. Largely, it’s because everybody–including all their uncles and aunts–has an account on Facebook nowadays. The website has users numbering in the billions per month, and you can bet that a good chunk of your potential clientele is already there, taking notice of brands that know how to market themselves online.
But before you take that leap, there are a number of things you have to keep in mind if you’re ever going to turn your business’ Facebook presence into a gold mine:
Have a Clear Set of KPIs
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are an invaluable when it comes to planning and measuring any marketing activity. In the same way that your total monthly sales tell you a story about the health of your business, you need a reliable, quantifiable target to be able to tell if your Facebook marketing activity is generating any results.
Set a goal that’s directly related to your business. For most, it’s a percent boost in periodic sales after the start of a Facebook marketing campaign, for others it’s more subscribers–but only you can define what truly makes your business a success. Just remember that engagement shouldn’t be the end all and be all of Facebook marketing; all your efforts should always translate to tangible ROI for your business.
When you have a clear goal, organize a set of KPIs beginning with the one most closely related to your business goals and moving towards possible indicators of the success of your Facebook advertising campaign.
You’ll want to consider the following metrics when designing your KPIs:
How many people have seen your business’ posts on Facebook? Higher engagement means your posts show up on more people’s feeds.
How many new likes and subscriptions has your business page been getting?
Who are liking and subscribing to your business page, and where are they from?
Customer Survey Responses
How many customers say they heard about your business from Facebook?
How many people follow your Facebook page’s links to your business website?
Simple KPI Flowcahrt
To give you an idea of how your KPIs might look, take note of the following industry standards for Facebook marketing in 2017, care of Wordstream:
- The average click-through rate for Facebook ads was 0.90%
- The average conversion rate for Facebook ads was 14.30%
- The average cost-per-click for Facebook ads was $1.72
- The average cost-per-action or cost-per-conversion for Facebook ads was $18.68
These don’t touch upon the power of business pages on the platform, but they should give you a benchmark of what to expect when expanding your marketing operations to include social media. Also, it should be important to note that the most effective ads convert anywhere between two to ten times the average, so that’s where you want to be.
Spend some time studying Facebook Insights, and learn what social media marketing specialists have to say about the different numbers you’ll be dealing with.
Don’t Post, Communicate!
In my years of dealing with homegrown businesses, one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make when they market themselves on Facebook is losing touch with their community.
The worst thing you can do is post content without intention–that is, posting without actively seeking a specific type of engagement from your audience. Do you want your followers to share, comment, or grab a discount code? Whatever your goal, make it crystal clear to everyone who sees the post.
A great business profile does more than chase leads and offer business-related information. The most successful firms use social media as a tool to cement their place as a local institution by appealing to the interests of their audiences. That’s why my go-to strategy when businesses come to me for advice is to plan content releases around the interests of the people who’ll be most likely to drop by your shop or call you for an appointment.
So you run a pool construction company? Feel free to post messages of support for your local swim team! You’ve built a business as a roofing contractor? Post news articles about hail or storm damage in your area! The trick to maximizing the value of your Facebook page is simple: generate or repost content that 1) appeals to your audience’s interests, 2) is relevant and up-to-date, and 3) proves that they need or want whatever it is that you’re selling.
Likewise, be quick to reply to messages and inquiries people leave on your business page’s inbox and/or comments thread. You’ll find a lot of differing opinions as to when and how you should reply, but my four rules of thumb are:
- Reply to questions, corrections, and requests. If you’re receiving a high volume of messages, answer those that appear sincere and are naturally expecting a reply first. Ideally, you’ll want to start with the most recent messages and work your way towards the bottom.
- Keep a consistent tone. As a general rule, the same style of writing that goes into other parts of your profile should apply when replying to messages. Your brand should have a persona in an of itself and that should shine through in all your interactions.
- Walk the talk. Whenever you make promises or assurances through Facebook–or anywhere for that matter–you’d better be sure to follow through. Always deliver on any changes or actions you guarantee.
- Keep a cool head. Anyone who’s been around social media knows that even the most well-intentioned businesses can draw flak from their audiences. Should you encounter an angry comment or a negative review, always attempt to move the conversation in a positive direction, even–and especially–when emotions are running high. Delete comments and block people if you have to, but remember: you should always be the adult in the room.
Make Facebook Advertising Part of a Wider Marketing Strategy
I always encourage my friends and clients to keep an eye on the bigger picture. A marketing strategy should be a holistic and modular thing, with each facet connected to the other for maximum effect.
When it comes to Facebook marketing, the rules are no different. Use social media as a tool to carry out your other brand initiatives (e.g. contests, promotions, events). This is especially important for local and home businesses, since a relatively smaller client base means each lead has to be given as much incentive to convert as possible.
One example I love giving is that of a pool construction service run by a friend of mine that catered to what he lovingly referred to as his, “aquatic family.” Long before launching his business on Facebook, he was already sponsoring local swim meets and openly supporting a handful of swimmers as a way build a reputation as the go-to pool contractor in the area. After he put up his page, he began covering swim meets on Facebook Live and posting about up-and-coming swimmers on his page, which eventually got him known in the city as “the pool guy”.
Not only did word of his business reach new customers through swimmers and their families–his Facebook following also grew thanks to his decision to post relevant, non-salesy content. And my friend? He would up having to expand his business just to accommodate new customers.
The idea of an integrated marketing strategy is especially noteworthy when designing landing pages for your website. Your posts and ads on Facebook should prime people to convert once they hit your landing page–or, in simpler terms, whatever you put on Facebook should encourage people to follow through with a purchase or appointment once they hit your website.
A quick aside: When you run your A/B tests to see which versions of your ads and/or landing pages score the most conversions, remember to keep your tonal and design elements consistent. A thorough marketing campaign keeps all its moving parts working in perfect sync, from its visual products to the words they use in their copy.
Facebook marketing is a powerful tool in and of itself, but it also works wonders for other schemes you have running at the same time.