This week, we continue our Lead Generation Series with a look at specific tactics to help you make the most of Facebook.
If you are not yet compelled to integrate Facebook into your marketing strategy, The 2012 Social Media Report from Nielsen and NM Incite, may change your mind. Consider this:
“Facebook remains the most-visited social network in the U.S. via PC (152.2 million visitors), mobile apps (78.4 million users) and mobile web (74.3 million visitors), and is multiple times the size of the next largest social site across each platform. The site is also the top U.S. web brand in terms of time spent, as some 17 percent of time spent online via personal computer is on Facebook.”
So, How Do You Start?
Of course, simply using the platform is not marketing. To make it an effective led gen tool, you need a strategy—as with any other component of your plan. Naturally, that strategy begins with:
As a publisher, quality content is your priority. A little later in this post, we will provide a few tips for optimizing its life on Facebook.
Having a flexible and scalable SaaS CMS with built-in CRM (customer relationship management) features should also give you the capability to learn about your audience and follow their activities. But it helps that Facebook provides a variety of insights about your fans and the quality of their engagement with posts. These insights, in combination with your own CRM activities, can provide a pretty comprehensive picture of what your potential leads are engaging with and how they are engaging with it. You can leverage this information to enhance the quality of your organic and paid post activities (and yes, you should consider a budget for paid posts).
Once you have these foundational elements in place, you might want to consider installing a CONNECT button on your fan page. When users click on this button, you seamlessly collect information about them—and you can designate what that information should be, to support your targeting strategy. The button is integrated with MailChimp and AWeber so you can include these leads in your email campaigns.
Featured and Pinned Posts
Facebook, by its very nature, makes it difficult to compete with the organic, personal content that people have come to love. So, it’s just smart to find ways to draw attention to your targeted content. Start with entertaining and useful posts. Then choose which to Feature and which to Pin (to clarify, this is not a reference to Pinterest).
You can pin a post by clicking the pin tool at the top of your page. The post will remain at the top your page for a week, at which point you re-pin it or select a new post to pin.
You can feature a post by starring it to display the expanded content of that post on your page—and draw more attention to it.
Sponsored Posts/Promoted Posts/Page Post Ads
Purchasing promoted or sponsored posts and page post ads will ensure at the very least, that your content is being seen by your friends and fans. Otherwise, if they aren’t engaging with it, it’s not likely to be seen.
- Sponsored posts/stories are essentially a paid promotion of organic user activity.
- Page Post Ads begin as posts on a fan page, but get additional distribution beyond the normal friend and fan activity.
- Promoted Posts are similar to ads, except that they are shown only to existing fans and their friends.
This can get a little confusing, but Inside Facebook does a good job of explaining it. Take some time to experiment with each type of ad and determine which your audience engages more deeply with and when.
One theory to test with any of your ads is that keeping your fans engaged on Facebook (as opposed to taking them to another site) is a more effective tactic for lead generation. This is in keeping with predominant ideas about the use of internal links vs. external links or on-site vs. off-site eCommerce: when users leave a site, you are more likely to lose them. This same principle is applied to the use of:
Facebook allows you to use up to 12 apps on your page, but only four are visible above the fold. Aside from the sedentary photo app, you then have 3 valuable pieces of real estate for engagement. You can use apps as a call to action or to gather key lead gen info from your audience. Make sure you keep them fresh by rotating or changing the three above the fold frequently.
- Your goal is to engage, so think of posts in terms of a two-way dialogue. Ask questions more than making statements. Be interesting, fun and helpful
- Create separate themed timelines and newsfeeds to focus and target your content.
- Take advantage of Facebook’s recent changes and employ crisp, compelling images and videos to maximize the effect of the larger format and redesigned photo albums. Don’t forget that your cover photo can contain up to 20% text now.
- Keep mobile in mind, as the recent changes have also streamlined the user experience across devices.
- Remember that most of the activity on a post happens within the first hour, so if you post and run, check in within the hour to monitor and respond.
By using these tools and tactics, you might find yourself among the happiest of faces on Facebook.
And if you haven’t already, check out our two previous Lead Gen posts to learn best practices many publishers deploy in website and mobile features, as well as with Twitter, to generate more traffic, build brand, extend marketing reach and of course, generate leads.