Companies today are increasingly leveraging the broad reach of Facebook as a social media tool. As the social media landscape continues evolving, there are a few trends we have noticed that should inform a company’s use of Facebook to reach its audience.
A few years ago, I was working as the media-relations person for a government ministry when I attended a meeting where a well-known politician was being briefed on an outreach strategy.
After listening to various tactics, this media savvy individual finally shrugged and said, “That’s a lot of effort to get TV cameras to follow me. Can’t I just go to where the cameras already are?”
I remembered this comment recently as I asked myself, “Why should companies use Facebook as a social media tool?”
There is a connection to my politician story. While most digital marketing strategies aspire to bring people to your website, Facebook brings your story to where people already are.
Indeed, Facebook offers direct access to a massive audience.
Everybody is on Facebook. Okay, maybe not everyone – but very close.
Facebook has successfully passed the 1 billion member mark, so it’s a huge social network.
Also, Facebook pages appear on Internet searches, so the social network is dialed-in to the broader web community.
As you launch your organization’s presence on Facebook, remember these key points for keeping your brand top-of-mind.
Facebook is not a replacement for your website, but it’s a cost-effective method to engage your audience online and offer teasers to bring them to your website.
Share interesting stories related to your product. Post relevant content and articles. Address the challenges that your target customers experience.
A good tactic to keep your audience engaged is to offer people an interactive experience.
Don’t let your Facebook presence be a passive experience for your audience. Interact with them. Share questions. Ask for feedback. Some useful ideas are:
Not only will these tactics engage your audience, but this approach also results in free market testing for your company. The respondents are providing you with direct insights about consumer needs and concerns. You can’t beat a free focus group.
When your audience shares its thoughts with you, take them seriously.
Your Facebook communication is not a one-way street. It’s not just about pushing information out to your audience. It’s also about listening to them.
Send them a proper response. They took the time to speak with you. You should be doing the same back to them.
With all these ways to interact with your audience, you are probably asking yourself the biggest question of all. “Will Facebook help me get new customers?”
The honest answer is: probably not – unless you are thinking about Facebook advertising, but that’s a topic for another post.
The truth is people only click “Like” for stuff they already like. People like things they already have in their life. Most people don’t express a liking for products they haven’t used yet.
In the Facebook world, your audience will be the people who already use your product or service.
Facebook is the tool to keep your brand top-of-mind for your existing customers.
This doesn’t mean that all this talk about Facebook is for naught.
It’s a valuable resource for keeping in touch with your customers and helping build a robust network of followers. It’s a place to monitor and enhance your brand reputation. And as your business grows, you will add more and more followers to your Facebook page.
In today’s world, you need an ongoing dialogue with your customers, and Facebook is an accessible and widely used network for having these conversations.
Here is a final note of encouragement.
When you launch your Facebook page, remember that it’s a large social network and you cannot manage everyone’s behaviour.
Some people may visit your page to complain or criticize.
Be ready for it. You must be willing to answer the bad stuff and the good stuff.
Does your organization have a Facebook page?
How has it helped keep your brand top-of-mind with your stakeholders?
What challenges have you encountered?
Please leave your comments in the box below.
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Submitted by Paul Lalonde, MarketingWise’s Manager of Content Marketing and Social Media. Paul’s role at MarketingWise builds on his 15-year career as a communications and PR specialist with government ministries, trade associations and the investment industry.