The social media platform that everyone (well, not everyone, but many people) loves to hate.
Since going public last year, Facebook has taken its fair share of bad PR and public outrage. Some of it may be justified and the rest I think is just over-reaction.
I’m a Facebook homer, though, as I teach small businesses and online entrepreneurs how to grow their business using Facebook marketing.
And, when I tell people what I do, I hear the full spectrum of responses.
And a lot of the ugly lately: Facebook doesn't “work” because none of my fans see my status updates anymore. I’ve tried Facebook ads and I lost all my money without any return on my investment.
I'm on a mission to show you how Facebook marketing can be an effective and efficient way to grow your business, without breaking the bank.
With over a billion users, over half of which login every day, the opportunities are just too big to write off as “not worth it.”
Let me show you a couple ways Facebook marketing rocks.
Grow Your Email List & Generate Leads
As bloggers, we want as many highly targeted readers as possible. It’s even better when those people are on our email list.
After all, the money is in the list, right?
Facebook marketing offers a unique opportunity to grow your list on autopilot.
Two really effective ways to this are through custom apps and Facebook Offers.
Apps are the little boxes just below your page’s cover photo:
When someone clicks on an app, they’re taken to a landing page (within Facebook) that can contain an opt-in form. This is where you can give away something of value (like an ebook, video series, webinar, etc…) in exchange for a person’s email address. Ms. Ileane does this well with her “Blogging Tips” app shown above.
Don’t worry, apps are easy to create using sites like Heyo, ShortStack and even AWeber. You don’t even need to know any coding as they both use drag and drop functionality. And, depending on how many fans you have, they can be free to use!
Once you’ve created your app you need to drive people to it. Each app has its own unique URL which means you can use that URL in your Facebook posts or ads (including Facebook Mobile ads).
The reason this works so well is because you’re keeping the person within Facebook. It creates trust between you and the user.
Think about when you’re on Facebook. You’re there to share updates with your Facebook friends and family, post pictures, etc. If an ad catches your eye and you click on it, you likely don’t want to be taken outside of Facebook, far from what you’re doing. By keeping people within the same platform, you’re more likely to get them to take the action you want.
Lastly, you can use your app’s unique URL in your business emails or marketing materials. Rather than sending someone to your Timeline, why not send them to your custom app where you can collect their email address and then they can also check out your Facebook page?
I’m betting you've seen Offers in your news feed before but might not have known what they were.
Here’s an example of what one looks like:
Offers are a great way for website owners and businesses to promote products and services through targeted word-of-mouth marketing on Facebook. You can even use them to promote your free products that people get when they join your email list.
In order to use Offers, your business page needs to have at least 400 fans (although I’ve recently seen where they are available to anyone). You have the option of choosing whether someone can redeem your offer online, in your actual store, or in store & online.
Offers can be awesome word-of-mouth promotion for your website, too, because when someone claims your Offer, it shows up in their News Feed. Friends of that person can then see that their friend just claimed your Offer.
Offers do cost money to use. It’s a form of advertising, after all. But before you dismiss it, I want to tell you about a little ninja trick.
As you’re finishing up creating your Facebook Offer, check the “Promote Later Using Another Facebook Ad Tool” box. This allows you to create an ad out of your Offer in your Ads Creator and bypass the pre-set budgets Facebook gives you. You can then choose whatever budget you’re comfortable with.
My Fans Don’t See My Posts!?
Finally, I realize the issue of Facebook “cutting” the number of your fans who see your status updates has raised some concern.
Yes, they did make a change to their algorithm late last year that affected the percentage of fans who see your posts. It all has to do with their EdgeRank formula that Ms. Ileane discusses in-depth here.
And yes, if you want to reach all of your fans now, there’s a cost associated with doing so in the form of a Promoted Post or Page Post ad.
I know, I know how dare they start charging for something that was previously free. I don’t love it either but I also understand why they’re doing it.
Here’s my take on it:
1) Facebook is now a public company and has to show they can monetize their billion plus users. Charging brands to promote a post to their entire fan base is one small way to do this. If you want to play you have to pay. After all, social media is an investment.
2) They’re your fans, yes, so shouldn't they see all of your posts? If I saw every post from every page I've liked my news feed would be crazy inundated with stuff. I’d never see everything because posts would constantly get buried in a matter of seconds.
This is one reason why the EdgeRank formula exists. It’s designed to filter out the content that you want to see most. Remember, Facebook is all about engagement. If you want to see more updates from pages you've liked, start liking, sharing and commenting on their posts.
3) Think of your Facebook posts like email marketing or Twitter. If you have a list of 1,000 people and you send out an email to them, how many actually open it up and read it? How many even see it in their jammed email inbox? And, these people have opted-in to be on your list, just like they might be a fan of your Facebook page.
With Twitter, people have chosen to follow you. But how many of your followers actually see your tweets? If they aren’t on their Twitter account when you tweet, they likely will never see what you posted.
4) If you are going to promote one of your posts, I recommend targeting your fans rather than fans and friends of fans. I’ve seen and heard too many cases where when you promote a post to your fans and their friends, it gets shown to people outside of your ideal audience. Until Facebook works this out, just be aware this is happening.
Scratching the Surface of Facebook Marketing
As you can see, Facebook can be a powerful platform to grow your blog or business. I’m only just scratching the surface here of what’s possible, but hopefully you can see that smartly leveraging Facebook marketing can be a very effective complement to your blog growth strategies.
I’d love to hear your experience. Do you have a community on Facebook full of engaged Fans who fit your customer profile? Have you used custom apps or Facebook Offers yet? Please leave a comment below and let me know!