Thursday, February 23, 2012

Facebook for eCommerce Businesses

*This is Part 3 of a 5 Part series on actionable ways to successfully use social media for business.

Interaction on Facebook is critical to the future of any business. Almost every active internet user in the US has a Facebook account! Your customers are hanging out there, isn't that enough incentive to go and talk to them? If not, remember that in the first part of this blog series, Social Media for Business, I went over some interesting research:
  • Adults that are active on social media are 12% more likely to purchase products online.
  • Socially engaged consumers spend 20-40% more than other customers!!
  • 53% of active social networkers follow a brand.
And since Facebook is the biggest of all social media sites, the results from these campaigns can be astounding.

Why Do People “Like” Facebook Brand Pages?
For a couple of years now, research has been pumped through the veins of the online marketing forums saying that people Like brands on Facebook to receive promotions and discounts.
This, in my opinion, is because of two things: 1) The survey questions are too narrow, and 2) People are still unsure about what they want from a Facebook interaction with a brand. Because of #2, the most successful Facebook brands are up front about what the individual will get out of the interaction BEFORE they click the Like button. This will allow for higher quality Likes, and more accurate data (from Facebook Insights and Google Analytics).

New research has been conducted globally, and the results are in: people Like a Facebook brand because they want to learn more about products or the brand itself. This probably varies industry by industry, but I tend to believe this one a little more. Online shoppers are researching even small, inexpensive products before they purchase nowadays. Facebook is a natural place for people to check the credibility, legitimacy, and reviews of brands before they purchase a product from them.

So How Do You Create a Facebook Campaign Already!?
In my few years working with social media for businesses, I've literally pulled e-commerce companies teetering on the edge of closure up to peaks they never knew existed, just by following the strategies I've outlined below. Before we get into the tactics, though, we need to begin the way every good campaign does: with goals.

Step 1: Create and Record Your Facebook Goals
Make sure that your brand goals align with what Facebook is naturally good at:
  1. Customer retention
  2. Brand advocacy
  3. Customer/tech support
  4. Top-of-funnel” activities
  5. Learning more about your customers
  6. Spreading your brand's compelling story
  7. Exemplifying your brand's “personality”
Some other Goal possibilities:
  • For customers to learn more about the brand
  • Promoting a Blog
  • Promoting discounts
Notice I did not list direct Facebook sales as a Goal. Facebook is not good at this. I think Brian summed it up pretty nicely in his post, Retailers Drop F-Commerce .

Step 2: Know Your Customers
If you currently have a Facebook business page, check the Demographics of your fans in your Insights. This is only relevant if you have a significant current following. Keep in mind that Facebook fans are not completely representative of all of your customers, just one segment. 
If you don't have a significant Facebook following, either find some research on your industry or do some of your own. If you don't know where to get that stuff, Forrester has a cool online tool, and always has great info. (I plan on posting more information on target market strategies later on).

Step 3: Figure Out Your Tactics
If you have an overarching goal to increase sales for your e-commerce business through increasing referral traffic from Facebook, retaining customers, engaging customers, or “fan nurturing”, here are some ideas you can apply to your Facebook strategy:
  1. Create a Welcome tab that people see when they go to the Facebook page,  here is a free one to get you started.
  2. Add text and a picture to the tab, at the very least.
  3. If you don't currently have a substantial Facebook following, set up Facebook Ads with the minimum bid, targeting people that Like relevant Facebook Groups or Interests. Targeting here can get very specific. 
  4. Post something on Facebook every other day, especially on Sundays. Research has shown that this is where you get the most bang for your buck/time.
  5. Create one post per week addressing each of these types of Facebook users:
  • Altruists: Want to be seen as helpful. Give them something to inform friends about.
  • Hipsters: Creative, and view sharing as an integral part of their identity. Ask them to post pictures on a subject, or have a contest for the artists.
  • Boomerangs: Like to share controversial things. Give them something funny
  • Connectors: Share to stay connected with friends.

I know there is a lot more to cover about Facebook. I plan on getting into Social Media Measurement in Part 5 of this series, so stay tuned. As always, if you have questions, corrections, or feedback, I'd love to see it in the comments!


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Andy Strauss said...

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