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Your customers are on Facebook

A guest article by James Cummings

In the past few years, social media has expanded to become an essential marketing tool that enables businesses of all sizes to reach out and engage with their target audience. For many such businesses, Facebook offers a more robust platform that allows for easy engagement.

There are numerous ways you can utilise Facebook to promote your business. Updates that are rolled out regularly make this especially useful to small businesses. For instance, if you are a web host and you intend advertise your new page (say, www.freeparking.co.nz/web-hosting/ ), you can simply add it to your post with a CTA like “click here”. While having a website is an important part of building your brand online, it is vital that you don’t overlook the place of Facebook in your overall marketing strategy. The change in consumer habits and intent has made it imperative for business owners to take the fight for customer loyalty to social media. This is because their customers are to be found on Facebook, which is something they cannot ignore. So, how exactly can you use Facebook to promote your business and increase sales?

Know your target audience
An important component for business success is the ability to identify and know who you are selling to. Posting updates on Facebook is all very well, but this will prove fruitless if they’re not channelled towards the appropriate people. It’s therefore important to know who you’re targeting and the best way to reach them. When you understand your target audience, you will be in a better position to create effective ads and will be at less risk of going off track with your message. You can only successfully engage your audience if you prepare and post content they would find interesting. This comprises content they would be willing to share, comment on and ‘like’. However, posting the same kind of content every day can be counterproductive. It is vital that you mix your messages in order to provide the target audience different forms of engagement. There are a number of ways to do this, such as using pictures, infographics and even videos.

Have a vibrant presence
Once you know your audience and can craft content that would appeal to them, strive to do this consistently. Having a vibrant presence on Facebook goes beyond simply having a profile. It involves posting regular updates and sharing a constant stream of ideas with your followers on Facebook. Content should be crafted in such a way that it portrays your business in the best light possible. However, remember that it’s not all about using promotional content; you should have a mix of materials that is equally promotional, informative, educative and entertaining. More importantly, regardless the type of post you create and how often you do so, your message (and its tone) should remain consistent across all your engagements. It can also be helpful to boost your posts from time to time. This cheap process helps move posts directly to the people who need to see them.

Promote posts
The new reality of Facebook marketing is that 99% of your target audience will never see posts that you don’t promote. This is very discouraging news to online marketers. However, the good news is that with a small monthly budget, you can experiment with boosting your Facebook posts once in a while. This has the benefit of enhancing the level of interaction with your customers. It can also increase traffic to your website significantly. If you are a web designer in Birmingham for instance, your site should easily pop up when someone types in “web design Birmingham”. All in all, boosting your Facebook posts is something to consider, as it brings about significant returns on your investment.

Use Facebook for your events
If there’s an event coming up, you can attract a lot of interest when creating and sharing a listing on Facebook. It doesn’t matter the type of event you’re planning, whether an in-store clearance sale or an online event such as a webinar or live contest. You can use Facebook Events to attract attention to your upcoming event and your brand. By doing so effectively, this can attract a new set of customers. If your event is only available to customers in your area, adding a location to Facebook will help localise the occasion. In turn, this will let people accessing the post know that the event is restricted to a particular locale.

Make use of Facebook offers
Discount coupons are a great way of attracting new customers, and you can do this on Facebook. A useful tool called Facebook Offers allows businesses to create coupons that can be shared and used online, in-store or both. People who visit your page and see your posts can take advantage of these coupons to purchase your products and services at a much cheaper rate. If you’re willing to pay a small fee, Facebook can push your offers directly to people who need them (even those not following your Facebook page). The offer will pop up on the user’s newsfeed, just like an advertisement would. The interesting thing about Facebook Offers is that you can also share it on other social media platforms (such as Twitter) or send via email to potential customers. Starting a Facebook Offer is relatively easy and will definitely attract customers to your business.

Run contests on Facebook
It’s quite the norm that people are attracted to discounts and anything that involves freebies. Running a contest or giveaway on Facebook is another effective way to attract customers to your business. It doesn’t have to be a cash intensive affair; a simple poll whereby the winner would go home with anything from samples of your products to discount coupons to their favorite spa or salon is enough to encourage people to engage and interact with your business. If yours is a service related business, the price for winning the contest could be a time-based discount for any of your services.

Final words There’s no doubt that Facebook is a great vehicle via which to market your business and promote it to millions of potential customers. Though organic search is still very much relevant, there are many other things you can do to reach your target customers, and using Facebook is one of them. The more you learn about your target audience, the better you’ll become at creating posts and campaigns that meet the needs and expectations of potential customers.