It seems that just about every company has a Facebook page these days. Many companies are even devoting serious resources to develop new and fresh social content. From our perspective, it often seems that the motivation to join the Facebook fray is in itself ‘social.’ Companies need to have a Facebook page because their ‘competitors have one—and hey, everyone has one!’
All of these social efforts, whether strategic or not, have given many companies an impressive online following; it’s not uncommon for even small businesses to have upwards of 10,000 Facebook likes.
Facebook is, of course, a powerful communication tool. Companies can advertise their latest promotions, PR initiatives, and other relevant information to their followers vis-à-vis their Facebook page. But can Facebook pages be used outside of a communication function, and help to directly drive new sales?
First, let’s look at the composition of a typical Facebook audience. Facebook followers are predominately made up of existing customers. Facebook pages rarely rank organically for product/service level keywords, and product/service research is not something that is historically performed through social media. For these reasons, if a user has navigated to your Facebook page, it is most likely because they are already aware of your brand. Second, if a user has gone so far as to “like” your page, they are demonstrating some pretty serious enthusiasm in your company. So, we can infer that the majority of your Facebook audience will be comprised of enthusiastic existing or prospective customers. This is obviously good news to the sales-minded business owner, because an enthusiastic audience that has already qualified their interest in your business is certainly ripe for a well-timed direct marketing or remarketing campaign.
So, how does a business reach these customers? The issue with Facebook followers is that they are anonymous. There’s no name, email, or phone number to associate with a follower—just a digitized “like.” The obvious answer is to reach these customers through Facebook wall posts, but this is a very limited strategy for several reasons. Facebook wall posts cannot be personalized to speak to specific segments of your customer base. Also, wall posts are highly likely to be lost in the fodder of an active news feed.
The solution to these issues is to be able to relate a “like” to a unique customer. Fortunately, we have developed a strategy to address this dilemma. There are several Facebook apps on the market today that help recruit user information. For example, North Social’s “deal share” app is designed as a “gate” for a deal or promotion. The deal is advertised on the company’s Facebook page, and accessed through the North Social app. In order to qualify for the deal, the user is instructed to complete a set of customizable criteria. For example, you could require a customer to enter their name, email and phone number to gain access to the deal. Alternatively, you can “gate” a deal by making users have to like your page (if they haven’t already done so) or share the deal with their own friends. The user’s information is automatically logged into North Social’s interface, and data can be downloaded to an Excel report at any time. Logically, the more enticing the deal, the more interaction it will receive. Over time, a company can effectively build a customer contact list by acquiring the contact information of their Facebook followers.
Once user information is obtained, companies can relate customer names with specific demographic segments or even past purchase history. Customized email campaigns can be launched to push frequency of purchase or cross-selling opportunities.
This “deal share” strategy is a great way to unlock the sales potential of your Facebook page. By turning anonymous Facebook followers into identifiable and unique users, a company can grow what is otherwise a communication portal into a powerful direct marketing and remarketing tool.