by Dave Fuller

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Follow this, re-tweet that, pin this and that. It’s easy to look at social media as the latest fashion which people are only using to document every detail of their lives. This is a common trend when using social media sites for personal use however using the network for a business is a whole different matter.

Why Use Social Media?

Social Marketing is an effective way to promote your business as it can market your services and products whilst enhancing your brand. Social networks give friends (or followers) easy access to information about your company within the familiar interface of their chosen network.

The problem is these sites are launching all the time, There’s now so many you cannot concentrate your precious time on all of them. We have the big established and proven networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest. But from a marketing perspective it’s better to look at Facebook and then refer to the ‘other’ social media platforms.

For that reason this article focuses on Facebook but the theory can be applied to all of the above social networks.

What You Need to Get Started

Good Website
If we’ve designed, developed and maintain your existing website I’m confident in saying you have a fantastic one. As the hub of your business it needs to look professional and clearly show what you have to offer to customers.
Clear Business Model & Plan
Asking the question how are you making money sounds obvious but many companies don’t have a solid business plan. Without an accurate idea of your marketing budget it is very difficult to propose the scope of the marketing effort. Facebook maybe free but can you afford the time to keep it up-to date?
Email Marketing
Email is not dead. Most businesses still need to use email marketing as part of their overall strategy. Email is still the best chance you have of being seen by the majority of your current and prospective clients. However like a website, the email has to be consistent in design whilst displaying the intended message quickly & efficiently with clear calls to action. When possible, collaborate with a designer through consultation to customise your design across all your businesses materials.
Optimised Facebook Page
Before you start marketing to Facebook users you need to get the basics setup on your Facebook business page. As Facebook is ever changing it’s an evolving application that may have one of the worst interfaces you may ever have the misfortune to use. Detailing the instructions required to setup your Facebook business page properly is an article on its own. But never fear! Accent can setup your account so it’s ready to go out into the Facebook jungle.

What Are My Goals?

Goals are critical. Creating a strategy with goals is required to measure a return on your social media effort. What does a Facebook page need to give you? More sales is the most common answer however there are other goals that can lead to sales.

Increase Overall Exposure & Awareness

Difficult to measure but you can record the number of new likes to your Facebook page and aim for an achievable target for this goal i.e. 100 new likes in the next two months.

Create a Loyal, Engaged Community

This goal can be measured by investigating the excellent statistics within your Facebook Business Page. Viewing Page Insights within Facebook gives information on the number of people who’ve clicked, commented or shared your posts as well as the number of page mentions and posts made by other people. People like to do business with companies they know, like or trust, creating an engaged community will support that trust.

Establish Yourself as an Authority

Facebook is a great venue for exhibiting your work, past or present it will show your detailed knowledge of your subject matter. Naturally the work will help show the personality of the business and what makes you and your company tick.

Gather Contacts

Facebook as a way of collecting contacts is a really important goal. Using an email newsletter opt-in system like MailChimp is an effective way to gather leads from potential clients interested in your products. Giving away free items relating to your products or creating competitions that reward the winner with an exclusive product is a tried and tested means to gathering those contacts for your pre-existing email campaigns.

Selling from Facebook

No kidding selling directly to Facebook users is difficult. Pushing your powerful selling messages to your followers too frequently will result in a low conversion rate and will cripple the effort in obtaining more fans. We would suggest posting direct selling messages no more than 10% of the time maximum.

Create special tracking links to include within each Facebook post to allow you to accurately measure the conversion of each link through to your website. Google Analytics is another effective tool when tracking conversions but this will need another article to do it justice.

Facebook advertising allows you to track conversions from within Facebook. These adverts work on a Pay-Per-Click model and can target a specific demographic i.e. all females around the age of, and so on. Each advert is then only shown to your required demographic and you pay for every click of your advert.

Make sure whatever the goal, you are defining specific numbers and deadlines. Make sure you know how each goal will be measured.

This concludes the first part of Facing Facebook article. I hope it has given you some insight into the basic reasons and concepts behind social marketing. In the second and final part we look at how we plan, implement and measure our marketing effort.

Dave Fuller

Armed with a BA Hons Arts Degrees and decades of experience as a Web Developer, Dave manages all aspects of Web Design and Software Development at Accent and is also our technical guru.

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