Facebook is far more than the name “social media” implies. It has become one of the most effective marketing venues the world has even seen. So why is it that, although you’ve created a Facebook page for their business, it just sits there? Why don’t people notice it? With countless people with Facebook accounts, why do you have only two fans after an entire year of exposure? Well, it might depend on your concept of exposure. And it might amaze you that there is nothing new under the sun.
Imagine, if you will, a town square a century or more ago. People are coming and going, walking around, visiting friends and neighbors. Scattered around the square are merchants with carts filled with various and sundry goods for sale. There’s even a ‘snake oil salesman’ touting his latest cure for the gout. Amidst all the product there is a stand where a politician is making promises he won’t keep if elected. And there’s the charity, Mothers Against Chewing Tobacco Husbands (MATCH), handing out samples so the public can taste the nasty stuff themselves.
Now hold that thought. What you’ve got in that town square is an early form of Facebook. It’s a public place where the community comes together to visit, to gossip, to learn what’s going on, to get up on the soapbox to share their opinions, and to market their company or cause.
Now, let’s go back to the square. As you mingle, you begin to realize that this might just be the right place to sell your new idea for a flyswatter, so you arrange for your own space next week and you set up a table. Then you sit behind your table and wait for people to stop by. There you are, quietly waiting for something to happen – you, your chair, your table, and your flyswatter. A few people have stared in your direction, looking as if they are wondering what you are doing there. After awhile you starting thinking that this was a stupid idea, and you while away your time swatting flies.
Actually, it was the start of a great idea. Just showing up rarely works on its own. But showing up with a plan that gets people’s attention and ideas that draw them to your table will begin to garnish you some sales.
You see, the essence of marketing is the same, whether it’s down at the town square or whether it’s on Facebook. We’re about to share some ideas that will draw crowds to your Facebook page or you table on the town square.
Rule Number 1: Let People Know You Are There. – Tell people that you are “in the square and open for business.” Tell people you are on Facebook and tell them where to find you. Tell them everywhere you go. Advertise everywhere they go. It’s called cross-promotion. Put up banner ads on associate websites. Do you have a business card? Put your Facebook address on it – and do it prominently, not in teeny- tiny fine print. PROMOTE IT! Every email you send should have a link to your Facebook page. Every print ad should feature your Facebook page. Incorporate “Like” buttons for your page on other websites. And always – underline that – always talk about your Facebook page during every phone call, incoming or outgoing. Finally, create a sense of urgency. For example, “Don’t miss out on this one-time offer.” HERE’S A BONUS IDEA: Create a QR code and put in on all of your print collateral, even your business cards. They are cheap and easy to create and they can drive anyone with a smart phone to your page or website almost instantly.
Rule Number 2: Don’t Just Be There. Have A Purpose. – Not everyone needs a Facebook page. But everyone with a product or cause to promote does. Share your passion on your page. Let people know what you are all about. Let them know what supporting your cause can do for others. Let them know what your product can do for them. Then, go back to Rule Number 1. and cross-promote by driving them to your website(s).
Rule Number 3: Make Their Visit Worthwhile. – Post valuable content on your page. Interesting content is okay, but valuable content is better. Tell them something they don’t know. It might be something unique about yourself, your product, or your company. It might be something newsworthy. Or it might be an exclusive offer of some kind, a discount, or a coupon. Somewhere on that page, offer something that they cannot get anywhere else, whether it’s material, philosophical, information, or even humor. If a visitor to your page considers what you have to say or offer is valuable, they have a reason to visit again. Speaking of which . . .
Rule Number 4: Give Them a Reason to Return – Create contests and have giveaways. Post teasers about upcoming articles or freebies. Link these ideas to things such as visiting your website and finding a hidden item. Create a contest whereby the person who refers the most new fans to your page receives a prize and some special recognition. Run short contests and year-long contests at the same time. Always tie contests to building your fan base. And keep your content fresh. Even people who were interested on their first visits will not keep returning if there is nothing new and interesting on your page. Keep creating that sense of urgency that originally drove them to your site to get them to return.
Rule Number 5: Encourage Interaction – This is the a la mode on the pie, the icing on the cake, the gold nugget in the stream. As you comply with the first four rules, do it so intensely that people will “Like” or “Share” or “Comment” on what you have posted. This is where the magic happens. “Liking”, “Sharing”, and “Commenting” are what make things go viral. When someone Likes, Shares, or Comments on Facebook, it’s like Gossip Gone Wild. And when that happens, the increase in readership could become astronomical. Don’t wait on them to Like, Share, or Comment. Encourage them to do it.
By now you should realize that it’s not having a Facebook page that is the secret to success, it’s how you promote it and use it. Tell folks it’s great. Then prove it to them when they visit. If you’ve followed the rules, not only will they return, they’ll bring Friends, and Friends of Friends, with them. And the Friends of their Friends’ Friends will follow.