Customer touchpoints are changing, with social media leading the race. Small businesses have the most to gain from this shift - if they only know how.
There is enough content (tips, tricks, strategies, plans...) online, and offline, about social media and how to use it to make your business an overnight success. And yet, very few businesses seem to get it right.

Let me adopt the skeptic's view here: How important is social media really? People who are interested in our products can find us on our website, right? Why entail the extra expenditure?

Nothing
Picture
Photo Credit: Elke Suess (http://www.flickr.com/photos/41771115@N05/)

Skittles, Forrester Research and Salesforce.com may have the answers to those questions. 

Skittles are fruit-flavoured colourful candies made by Mars, the very company that manufactures M&M's, Snickers and Starburst. All four of these are heavenly - I could gorge on them 24/7/365 and still not have my fill. I mean, we are talking chocolate here...
Picture
Photo Credit: Poxie frills (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikey_misfit/)
Sorry, I digress.

Skittles makes it to this post, because despite being a relatively new entrant in the candies market, its Facebook page has almost as many fans as M&M's, Starburst and Snickers combined. 
Candy
Skittles
M&M's
Snickers
Starburst
Created
1974
1941
1930
1960
Facebook fans
25.3 M
6.7 M
12 M
9.8 M
Why? Skittles is certainly not four times as yummy as M&M's. 
Clearly, they are rocking their Facebook marketing strategy. Based on a Forrester research that showed that your brands fans are more likely to buy from you, Skittles is going to have a distinctive edge over the other three (and its rising annual sales bear witness). A standalone website will never be able to achieve the kind of reach Skittles enjoys through its FB page.

B2B businesses that argue that a website is enough for them and social media is primarily for B2C companies can take a leaf out of Salesforce.com's book. You don't get more B2B than them. They had online videos (enterprise related technical ones) that they featured on their website alone. Last year they moved these videos to Youtube and viewership jumped from 34%  to 66% - a jump you cannot ignore. They also have a Facebook page where they share information about virtual events and seasonal releases and do event registrations, lead generation and recruiting.

Is Your Brand Ready?

Customers have clearly gone social. It is not uncommon for them to tweet or comment about their brand related praises and complaints. This shift to social has levelled the playing field - small businesses can now compete on the same footing as big conglomerates. The brand that responds, engages and delights is going to win. The question is, "Is your brand ready?"

Two Social Media Rules To Live By

Before we dive into the whys and hows of Facebook marketing, I'd like to share two thumb rules for any social media account your business may set up:

#1: Set Audacious Goals

Can you go from 0 to 15K fans in a year? Can you get 500 shares for your next blog post? Can you add 3000 followers in the next one month? Always set audacious goals if you want to stay on top of things.
Picture
Photo Credit: 3W Giant Mart (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25504455@N02/)

#2: Start Strong

Don't compromise on expenses in the beginning - invest in good content and design. You can start narrow, but don't start weak.


Facebook Marketing - Why?

There's tremendous potential to grow your business using Facebook. With you, me and most of your current and prospective customers sporting Facebook accounts there's no denying the fact that your brand needs to take its marketing there. The top three reasons why you shouldn't put off investing time and energy on your business' FB page:

#1 Interaction - Interacting with your fans online shows them you care and they feel valued. Real-time access to your customers' issues and feedback ensures you get an evangelist each time you give a prompt reply.

#2 Influence - Billions of accounts on Facebook. One billion come back on a monthly basis. 120 million people become fans of FB pages every day. Over 3.2 billion likes and comments generated daily. Connections are happening on a massive scale. Imagine the kind of reach your brand can have and the amount of influence your products could wield.

#3 Exposure - On an average each of your fans will have over 130 friends and with the kind of connections the point above highlights, exposure is a given.


Facebook Marketing - How?

There are four steps to getting your brand's Facebook marketing off the ground and into the realm of online success:

#1 Build your FB page - The technicalities of setting one up can be read here: http://www.squidoo.com/facebookpage. Some non-technical tips:
  • Make it unique to your brand. Don't leave the cover and/or profile photos blank. Work with a designer if possible and design images that will portray a feel and look that matches your brand.
  • Keep your page active. Add textual and photo updates regularly - at least daily.
  • Add milestones: The timeline features enables you to add milestones on your FB page. Use it showcase your company's history.

#2 Grow your audience - Now that you have a page that looks filled in, start spreading the word. Here are some avenues:
  • Emails
  • Business cards and signatures
  • Website
  • Physically encourage (for instance, in your stores, if you have them.)
  • Receipts
  • Ads on Facebook and elsewhere

#3 Engage people with quality content - No matter how people land on your facebook page or how many of them land there, they won't click the like button unless you give them a reason to and the reason is quality content. Some useful tips on that front:
  • Keep the content short and sweet. Long prose will often not make the cut
  • Posts with images evoke 120% higher engagement than the average post
  • As far as possible, use high-quality images that evoke an emotional response
  • Ensure that each of your posts has a call to action
  • Ask questions
  • Post offers
  • Learn from the data on your insights page to figure out what works and what doesnt

#4 Influence the friends of your fans - As stated earlier, each of your fans has, on an average, over 130 friends. Spend a little to reach them. Promoting your posts, creating sponsored stories and sharing offers are good ways to improve exposure and like count.

Do your Facebook marketing efforts rock? Share your tips and comments with us below. 

Share, tweet and spread the word. Also, subscribe to this blog's feed (see the subscribe option in the sidebar) to receive an update when I add another useful and awesome post for your business.

Author: Urooj Kazi is a professional freelance business writer. To hire her to write content for your business, visit this website's Contact Urooj page. 
 


Comments

07/04/2013 8:12am

I'm thinking that we need to choose the marketing that best suits us

Reply
07/05/2013 8:01am

Still a good way of marketing is via email. So we have with customers in direct contact.

Reply
07/05/2013 10:28am

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Marketers (like you) do not have to sell anything. You and your marketingcommunity get cash rewards by spreading the use of the free Liftago app amongpassengers and drivers. Once a passenger from your community uses the LiftagoTaxi app to order a taxi, your marketing community gets its share. What's more,there are no fees to be paid!
Passengers get more timely, reliable, and convenient taxi service and driver ratings,while avoiding wait times, unreasonable costs, and unpleasant surprises.
Taxi drivers get extra customers through Liftago and pay only anominal fixed fee for each Liftago order they receive without any othercharges. With Liftago they canprovide better taxi service and make the most out of their business.
Marketers (like you) do not have to sell anything. You and your marketingcommunity get cash rewards by spreading the use of the free Liftago app amongpassengers and drivers. Once a passenger from your community uses the LiftagoTaxi app to order a taxi, your marketing community gets its share. What's more,there are no fees to be paid!
Liftago is coming soon! Register now to learn more and build your marketing community before the launch:
www.joinsomethingnew.com/ROBERTALLEN
https://www.facebook.com/zimmermann.robertallen
Please note that the apps are not limited to the features shown in the video and that they will also be available in your local language!

We believe this video will give you additional information to share with potential passengers and taxi drivers
.our demo of the Liftago Driver app for
our official YouTube channel for marketers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-cHPn_zf8Y


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXfFyL3O6yc
Regards
technological service Support Team
Taking you to the TOP in 2013
Robertallen

Reply
07/05/2013 10:28am

I am happy to tell you about a new project we are just getting ready to launch.
Liftago Taxi A unique "community business" concept using mobile app technology to move the world.
Liftago Taxi – make the taxi world a better and hassle-free place for both passengers .and drivers
People around the world spend millions on taxi rides, so let's makethe service worth it! With Liftago community business, you have thepower, tools, and motivation to get your share of the taxi businessaround the world.
Passengers get more timely, reliable, and convenient taxi service and driver ratings,while avoiding wait times, unreasonable costs, and unpleasant surprises.
Taxi drivers get extra customers through Liftago and pay only anominal fixed fee for each Liftago order they receive without any othercharges. With Liftago they canprovide better taxi service and make the most out of their business.
Marketers (like you) do not have to sell anything. You and your marketingcommunity get cash rewards by spreading the use of the free Liftago app amongpassengers and drivers. Once a passenger from your community uses the LiftagoTaxi app to order a taxi, your marketing community gets its share. What's more,there are no fees to be paid!
Passengers get more timely, reliable, and convenient taxi service and driver ratings,while avoiding wait times, unreasonable costs, and unpleasant surprises.
Taxi drivers get extra customers through Liftago and pay only anominal fixed fee for each Liftago order they receive without any othercharges. With Liftago they canprovide better taxi service and make the most out of their business.
Marketers (like you) do not have to sell anything. You and your marketingcommunity get cash rewards by spreading the use of the free Liftago app amongpassengers and drivers. Once a passenger from your community uses the LiftagoTaxi app to order a taxi, your marketing community gets its share. What's more,there are no fees to be paid!
Liftago is coming soon! Register now to learn more and build your marketing community before the launch:
www.joinsomethingnew.com/ROBERTALLEN
https://www.facebook.com/zimmermann.robertallen
Please note that the apps are not limited to the features shown in the video and that they will also be available in your local language!

We believe this video will give you additional information to share with potential passengers and taxi drivers
.our demo of the Liftago Driver app for
our official YouTube channel for marketers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-cHPn_zf8Y


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXfFyL3O6yc
Regards
technological service Support Team
Taking you to the TOP in 2013
Robertallen

Reply
07/18/2013 8:59am

To have a successful business should have a successful marketing

Reply
01/10/2014 10:59am

Facebook is the big social media which has different but users friendly interference for business objectives or personal accounts. Social media is the big source of diverting traffic towards your website but the thing is that you need to update your business page regularly and share your promotions on that page so that maximum people like it and you get more traffic as well as customers. Facebook play vital role for online marketing success of your business so wise people can't ignore the value of this social media for their businesses. Your tips are very helpful to run this marketing which is like social marketing campaign successfully.

Reply
05/17/2014 10:04pm

Nowadays the social media marketing is frequently used. And the social media sites play a vital role in SEO marketing. The some social media site like Facebook, Google, Twitter are frequently used. We can advertise our website or blog through Facebook marketing as, by building the FB page, grow the people in your content and also engage the peoples with quality content and so on, thanks for sharing the great post with us.

Reply
05/26/2014 10:25pm

Both the designs have their own ways and characteristics so its up to you which type of design you require. in the templates you have a better chance because a lot of work already been done and you need less struggle to make it perfect but having your own custom design you have much more flexibility to do everything. Custom web design is much more secure too. so it may be a better choice for most of the people but both are good. Also VPN services have a great part of it and it helps a lot.

Reply



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