Have you ever felt like you’re holding a placard that everyone is just walking by when you’re using Facebook for your business?
You’re not alone. According to a survey, 59% of entrepreneurs feel like social media is not essential to their business and it doesn’t get results. Perhaps you’re one of them?
I know Facebook can be really frustrating but I’m here to tell you that if you feel like it’s not working for your business, you’re doing it wrong.
I’ve been growing businesses audiences on Facebook for almost ten years. In the beginning, I battled with silence and lack of results too. But since I figured out the strategy I’m going to share with you today, that problem disappeared.
With the most recent business I applied this strategy to, I’ve grown their audience by 60% (from 45k to 115k) whilst increasing their engagement rate by 76%. The majority of their posts reach at least 20,000 people and in the last twelve months, it’s finally become a profitable marketing channel for the business… seven years after the page was set up.
I’m going to share this strategy with you because I believe it is the ONLY thing you need to know to make your Facebook business page thrive and to reach and engage with potential customers. Without paying for ads. And without ‘gaming’ the newsfeed algorithm.
One caveat though… it will take work.
Jodie Shaw, Chief Marketing Officer at TAB, who ran the survey agrees:
"In order to have real results with social media, you have to start with building a community, then a conversation. From there, savvy social media marketers can drive referrals and leads. Many small business owners jump straight to lead generation without building a community and a conversation first."
You will not get results without putting the effort in. But trust me, the effort will be so worth it.
Without further ado, let me introduce you to the 4C’s...
You have got to get and stay curious about your audience and potential customers on social media. Start by asking yourself these questions:
Answer these and you can move on to the next C…
Start asking your current audience on Facebook questions about themselves. Even if you only have 20 fans, you have to start talking to them. A simple question as a text post from your page is enough, and trust me, people like to talk about themselves. So, if you get the question right, you’ll spark conversation.
If you’re an accountant, you could ask what they find most challenging about dealing with their books. If you’re a jewellery maker, you could ask if they prefer gold or silver (and why?). If you’re an independent travel agent, you could ask which city made the biggest impression on you and why?
Not only does this create a connection to you and your brand, but it dings Facebook’s algorithms to say that this post is engaging, which means they’ll show it to more people and you’ll get a ripple effect.
Now you’ve got a two-way dialogue and are continuing to learn about your audience, you can create content they will like, engage with and share. This content could be fun things like memes that are entertaining and make them feel like they can relate to you. Or, maybe it’s a helpful quick tip you’ve videoed that makes their lives a little easier. You can also share info and news about your products and services, just try and stick to those types of posts about 20% of the time.
This 'C' an ongoing thing, and will help you deepen your understanding of who they are and what makes them tick.
This happens naturally when the other 3Cs are all working together. You’ll start to see familiar faces, meaningful conversations on your posts and your audience talking to one another. That’s when you know you’ve got the magic working! Your page, and your posts, are a place they want to spend time and brings them closer to people like them, with content they like and find useful. Once you’ve gotten to this point, you can really involve them in your business and ask for their feedback on new products, services or ideas you’re thinking about. They’ll trust you enough to share their opinions.
Now you might be wondering… when do they become customers?
Well, I can’t tell you that for sure as it depends on what you’re selling.
But what you’re doing with this strategy is building a sense of know, like and trust. When you do go to them with an offer, you've got a stronger connection and have a much more likely chance of them becoming a customer.
In order to have real results with social media, you have to start with building a community, then a conversation. From there, savvy social media marketers can drive referrals and leads. Many small business owners jump straight to lead generation without building a community and a conversation first.
Let me give you an example of this in action, just to crystalise those 4Cs in your mind.
I recently started working on the Facebook page of an ecommerce gift brand.
When I got curious about them, I discovered that the existing audience were women in their mid to late 40s who were struggling to buy meaningful gifts for their closest friends and family. They care about quality and uniqueness, and hearing their recipient say how much they love the gift they’ve bought them. They’re also animal lovers who enjoy simple pleasures like a glass of wine in the garden on a summers eve and watch popular TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing.
When I started conversations with them, I discovered things like: they’ll spend more on a partner or child or grandchild than more distant relatives and that most of them find wrapping presents really relaxing. The cat (or dog) will always try to sit on the wrapping paper too!
We started creating and posting content related to the outcomes of those conversations. Memes about pets getting involved with the wrapping. Polls about how much they spend on gifts at different times of the year. Quick videos of how to wrap presents beautifully.
These three things starting building a sense of community. We saw familiar names and faces responding to our posts frequently and they even started talking to each other. Especially when we posted a “show us your pets” post and they were swapping funny pet pictures and commenting on one another’s without us prompting.
The hard results other than growing the audience by 270% and engagement by 110%? Traffic from Facebook to the website increased by 15% over the last 12 months, with sales from Facebook increasing by 10%.
I truly believe this is the one thing you absolutely need to know about Facebook to make it work for your business. And, you can apply this strategy to any social network and it will get you results.
It might take time, effort and energy, but no matter what Facebook decides to change next, it’ll always work.
Jen Smith is our resident email blogger. We’ve got the perfect guide for those of you who want to find out more about how to set up a business Facebook page so you can start putting the 4Cs into action.
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