“Build it and they will come is a load of crap!”
The days of building a simple Geocities website and having flocks of readers interact are long gone. I have been building website since 1994 and have seen some become very successful (with over 100,000 unique visitors every month) and some with less traction (200 visitors a month).
They key here is quantity. The more eye balls are in front of your content, the better. The more leverage you will have when asking for services, exchanges or advertising.
Facebook and Instagram are the best tools in your arsenal. These two networks (Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 Billion) are the biggest community on the planet with a combined user base of 2.7 Billion active users). Below, we will focus on Facebook but many of these points are true to Instagram as well.
Facebook is a low-cost marketing strategy
Marketing activities that would cost thousands of dollars through other channels can be used on Facebook for a fraction of the cost. This makes it ideal for small to medium businesses with a limited marketing budget. Larger businesses can also trial marketing concepts and themes through Facebook before committing to bigger campaigns. More and more we see big names using Facebook instead of the classic Sunday paper or television ad.
Share basic information about your business
Your Facebook page is a place where you can publicise your business name, address and contact details, and briefly describe your products and services. You can also talk about your staff, history, or any other aspect of your business that is likely to attract other Facebook users and create interest in what you do. It’s all about creating a hub for your business or blog.
Share pictures and videos from your business
As well as allowing you to post text, Facebook lets you upload pictures and videos from your business. This can be a powerful way to communicate with customers and potential customers, allowing them to see your product or service without having to visit your premises.
Talk to existing and potential customers
You can use Facebook to ‘talk’ to existing and potential customers by posting and receiving messages. But don’t use Facebook to aggressively promote your products or services. You’ll have much greater success if you share information related to your business that is actually useful or interesting to other users. This increases your credibility and promotes your business by building long-term relationships with other users. For example, a veterinarian could post tips for looking after pets, timing them according to when particular health issues arise (e.g. ticks in summer).
Raise brand awareness and promote positive word-of-mouth
You can increase your business’s profile on Facebook by encouraging existing and potential customers to click the ‘Like’ button on your Facebook page. Once they like your page, your customers will receive your updates on their wall, where their friends will also see them. This helps to build awareness of your business, and to associate your friends with your brand. Customers can also post positive messages about your products or services, shared on their walls for all their friends to see.
Facebook can steer traffic to your website
You can include a link to your website on your Facebook page. Indeed, many businesses report that the greatest benefit of Facebook is the extra traffic that it steers to their site. Visitors who come to the website can be exposed to stronger marketing messages and, often, the option of buying goods and services.
Customers who come to your website from Facebook are likely to be more receptive than the average visitor, because they already know something about your business and were motivated to click the website link.
Facebook can analyse all the information that millions of users enter into their profiles. As the owner of a business page, you can pay to use this information to deliver targeted advertising to a specific group.
For example, an outdoor store could use Facebook to calculate how many men over a certain age in a certain city have listed ‘fishing’ as an interest. Then they could develop an ad for new fishing lures, and pay for it to appear only on the pages of those people. (Ads appear on the right-hand side pages in Facebook.)
More on this last one in a later post.