You might be one of those companies who have currently created your social media strategy. Somewhere in it, you should have some lines about how to leverage Facebook’s technology from two perspectives.
- How can I work on the Facebook platform
- How can I leverage the value of user data derived from Facebook
You must remember that Facebook is a technology and not a network in itself. Just like the fact that you aren’t guaranteed a lot of visitors, buyers or other success just because you choose EPiServer or WordPress as your CMS. You need to do good stuff in order to do well.
First something about transparency and content
In your strategy you will probably have some sentences about transparency and that social media is about sharing valuable content. This is good, but we have to elaborate on this a bit for it to make sense business wise. You shouldn’t be transparent about everything, and you shouldn’t create any kind of content, just because your users find it valuable.
What level of transparency do you need?
Let’s start with transparency. What users expect from you, especially if you are a product brand, is that you are transparent about your intentions. Your goals and ambitions with your social media investments shall be public and easily accessible by the users. Also, you should make sure that you are transparent on the full promise you can deliver on with your products. If you are using child labor or if you are engaged in some kind of tax fraud, this is not the time to let it out there. You should probably get it sorted and change your business ethics instead.
The transparency of intentions sets the users expectations at a reasonable level. They know why they connect with you and they know what kind of communication they can expect to get out of you. All you have to do after that is to stay true to your promise. In some companies this is difficult as the bosses tend to neglect reason when they see a nominal number. You should make sure they understand, and are in compliance with the promises you make, before you start being successful. Otherwise things will/might turn really ugly. When it comes down to it, you will take the blame, so make sure your boss is there to make the promises with you in the beginning.
Is remarkable content really necessary?
Secondly, we have the question of “remarkable content”. Your primary objective is to find a funnel that leads to a billing relationship with all your fans as soon as possible. This is important to remember. If you give away stuff for free, people will expect this in the future as well, and thus you will have little success in driving business if you don’t set the foundation for this right away.
On Facebook, you are not allowed to give offers in the news feed, so you need to find another way of utilizing your Facebook page in order to drive sales. One of the best ways is to create a weekly coupon. People love coupons. I don’t know why, but they simply do. I can tell you that you will have a million times more success putting a weekly coupon on a Facebook page tab than you will if you put an online offer with a direct link on the same tab. Make an image of a coupon, create a button that reads “Claim your weekly coupon”, and then watch it go.
Naturally, you connect your coupon with special permissions that post to wall and collect all the user data through an application. Just imagine the possibilities with a “Jesper just claimed his weekly coupon on xxx.com” (don’t go to that site by the way… it was just an example… bad one perhaps.. ). It would surely go viral.
What I mean with this is that your content surely has to be good. But good content doesn’t have to be a purple cow. It might as well be a good offer, or an offer placed in a setting that makes it relevant.
But let’s get back to the billing relationship.
So how about that billing relationship?
Every week I hear social media prophets talk about remarkable content as though it was the easiest thing in the world to create. Most of them are talking about creative content. Such that make people go wild. But think about it. How many times a week do you do something just because you think wow? How many times per month do you buy something because you think wow? How many times a week do you connect with a new person because you think wow?
Most of the times you don’t. Most of the times you do stuff that you normally do, buy stuff that you feel you need, and connect with people that you think might be able to benefit your social or work needs in some way. Of the three things stated above, I would say it is the connection phase that has the greatest need for a wow-factor. But it is not to say that you have to create that remarkable sensation of storytelling success every time you share some kind of content. Especially not if you have been transparent with your intentions from the beginning.
But let’s get down to the tactics.
Facebook page conversion funnel
When I think of launching a new Facebook page I think of three steps. I will only go through one tactic in each step of the process.
- Persuasion to join
- Persuasion to share
- Persuasion to buy
These steps can be taken on site or on Facebook. Why I split it into these three stages is because it gives me clarity when I work and helps the client understand at what stage they are in the process.
If you need some insights into persuasion it basically states that you set up a goal, then you think of three or more reasons as to why a person shall want to walk the line to your goal. Then you find three facts that support each reason. Almost like building an essay. Each paragraph has a statement and at least three facts to support the statement. Here is a pdf that gives you a good matrix for when you work with this.
Now, this is what social media allows. Especially when working in social network environments. It allows dialogue, and thus you can make a statement and then use the facts in the dialogue to support it. Don’t give it all away at once. By doing that you will induce more dialogue, debate and be able to tell who is ready to move onto the next step in your conversion funnel.
Persuasion to join
Let’s do this with an example. I create a Facebook page and my primary goal is to get fans. I decide that I should buy a social ad from Facebook in order to grow quickly.
What’s great with the social ad is that it includes the facts you need in order to convince people that your page is the right choice. First of all you have the headline where you can make the statement of your goal. Then you have the text where you can make the statement of reason. Then you have the “social circle” that gives the user the final persuasion to join in compliance with theories of conformity. If some of my friends have joined, then why am I not in it already?
Perhaps a simple tactic, and there are much more sophisticated ones such as building a challenge or charisma app, but I’ll save those examples for my book… hehe..
Persuasion to share
Secondly, you need to get them to share some information about themselves. You do this through an application where the user grants you special permissions to your Facebook data. Now, this is more tricky than it sounds as you have to provide them with quite a persuasive argument in order to make them join. Either you can do it like Amazon did it:
- Goal: Connect your Amazon account to Facebook
- Reason: Improve your amazon shopping experience
- Facts that support the reason: See what your friends buy, get suggestions related to your network, ie. more relevant shopping experience.
In their case they put some security stuff in there as well. That’s natural as they are the first to do this kind of advanced integration, but the sense of security can be accomplished with some symbols as well (such as https or verisign).
If you do not wish to do it like Amazon and utilize the user data on your website outside of Facebook then you should probably have a look at some of the more fun and creative applications. Here you can have a look at what Burger King did with the defriend campaign or perhaps what FarmVille is doing. Two really strong ways to get special permissions from people. I strongly recommend you have a look at what Amazon has done though as I believe it will be the future of online business. It is highly persuasive in the phase of creating buyers to actually have an integration set up on your website. Otherwise you might loose the social stimulus and guarantees for your shop visitor when they are IN your online store choosing between several goods.
Persuasion to buy
Last but not least you have the persuasion to buy. Now this is what people forget about social media. Building value and equity is only half way there. You need to get the billing relationship going as soon as you can. You need to start giving offers, news and such information related to your business goals – making more money – as soon as you connect with the person. I do not agree with people who say you cannot sell through social media. I’ve seen the contrary several times and so, I believe it is a matter of poor tactics rather than lack of possibilities.
Anyhow, once you have the user data, the rest is a matter of fishing. Put on a fat worm on the hook and kick back and relax. If you get one person to bite, you will get the rest to follow. I am going to introduce something called aggregated conversion rates in my book about viral marketing. This concept builds on that you only need a very low conversion rate in big networks such as e-mail or Facebook in order to get great results. A conversion rate of 1% in a network where people have an average of 100 people makes your viral campaign infinite. It will go from one person to the next, to the next and then to the next.
Anyhow. Again… Once you have the user data you can choose between running your buyers persuasion on Facebook or off Facebook. Either you do like Amazon and use gift/birthday notifications via e-mail, together with social circle persuasion once on the website.
- Goal: buy a book (or several)
- Reason: This book is probably something you like
- Fact: So many of your friends rated the book top notch!
Another way of building a persuasion to buy, getting back to the coupon, is to create a survey on your Facebook page where you poll what people want to buy from you, or what they are interested in knowing more about. Then you base your weekly coupon on the findings you get from the survey.
- Goal: Buy my stuff
- Reason: Because this specific thing is the hottest stuff right now
- Facts: Because 90% of the Facebook page fans says so
Conclusion & disclaimer
So these are some tactics on how to build a buying customer out of a Facebook user. Think of persuasion and what type of way you can persuade your fans into moving along the ladder towards becoming a returning customer. If you happen o be at Dialogkonferansen in Strömstad next week I will elaborate on this in my session. Getting nervous as I usually speak in front of specialists and not marketing directors.
Naturally there are a million ways to build your customer base through Facebook. The above statements should be seen as inspiration and are not guaranteed to work for each and every business. I take no responsibility for what you do with my advice and if you decide to invest in any of the above be sure to consult me or someone else first so that you don’t make a mess of things. Add me to Skype: jesperastrom or just give me a call if you need clarification.
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