Biz Tips: Facebook marketing is a-maze-ing

Biz Tips: Facebook marketing is a-maze-ing


Facebook marketing is a-maze-ing

Marketing in general poses challenges, but those who want to try their hand on Facebook have a different animal on their hands.

“It’s their massive data plus algorithm power together,” said Dennis Yu. “They need both to drive word of mouth at scale. Nobody but the U.S. government has more data.”

Yu would know. He is the chief technology officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company, which partners with schools to train young adults. He talked with Winnie Sun, one of the financial industry’s most sought-after professionals, about how to build a community and grow your business on the social media giant.

“Before starting a Facebook campaign, businesses should be able to answer these questions,” Sun said:

Yu had more propositions.

“Businesses should be able to ask themselves what their business goals, cost per result, cost per lead, cost per sale and return on ad spend are,” he said. “You must know these. The ad system works well only when you tell them this, using the system as they intended.

“In other words, GCT: goals, content and targeting,” Yu said.

He sees no alternative but to pay for advertisements.

“To play, you must pay,” Yu said. “Organic is dead for everyone but a few. Nothing is free, not even search engine optimization. If the return on investment is good, why complain? Invest more to keep making more.”

As long as there are businesses, they will need influencers to spread the word. Word of mouth is powerful. However, be selective on influencers you select. Your values and goals should align.

“I’m a big believer in influencer marketing, but I think the influencer must have real influence and not just followers,” Sun said. “The brands must be a natural, organic fit. Otherwise, it can backfire on both parties.”

For Yu, influencers light the way.

“Influencing an influencer is an amazing way to build a potential fan base,” he said. “Not just any ‘influencer,’ but the ones that are well known among your customer base. We call these lighthouses. A lot of people pay for bogus influencers — self-proclaimed experts.

“Being an influencer is more than being influential,” Yu said. “Unless you can back your ambitions with real skills, you’ll get nowhere.”

Sun and Yu described their particular processes to devise new social media strategies.

“I try to do as much social listening as I can to learn what my connections are interested in, what resonates with them and how that correlates to the business we do,” Sun said.

“Additionally, we try to survey what others in our complementary space are doing that is working,” she said. “Learn, adopt, test, try again.”

Yu returned to goals, content and targeting.

“We use social to amplify what’s already working, not to try to come up with something new,” he said.

“The Facebook algorithm needs a lot of data to learn who your best customers are and what content to send to each of them — paid or not,” Yu said. “Fifty conversions per ad set per week is what Facebook told us.”

In any campaign, a business needs to know how to gauge online marketing success.

“The most important gauge is this: After the campaign, did we reach more people who could be potential clients?” Sun said. “Did we sign new clients? Did we earn new business opportunities?”

Facebook has its own check-engine warnings.

“Learn the standards of excellence — the ‘idiot lights’ that tell you to take your car back to the dealer,” Yu said.

“If a campaign isn’t working, it’s either the content or targeting — right content to the wrong person or wrong content to the right person,” he said. “Figure out which one. It’s probably content.”

On Facebook — as elsewhere — seek the stories behind the statistics to help expand your community.

“Numbers matter,” Sun said. “If you don’t have the reach, no one is seeing your content, no matter how wonderful it is. It’s important to nurture and grow with your community.”

Yu wants to see information in all forms.

“We need qualitative and quantitative data — right brain and left brain working together,” he said. “Just because something is profitable — great — you want to know why — the underlying emotion.

“Then create more variations of those winners,” Yu said.

Despite disparities in size, small businesses can use Facebook to compete with their big-business counterparts.

“On social media, it doesn’t matter too much how big of an organization you are now,” Sun said. “It’s really how present you are and how much you’re sharing and giving.

“Of course, a big business may have a bigger budget — especially on Facebook,” she said. “This can be very helpful.”

Yu thinks littler is better.

“Small businesses have an advantage,” he said. “They have a founder who can tell stories. People like to buy from people like them, not faceless mega-corporations.”

Gaining Facebook followers applies as on other social media platforms: Have conversations. Engage. Show you’re a real person, not a robot or call center worker. Give people something of value to respond to.

“For us, it’s creating good content, but still investing money in sharing the content,” Sun said.

Yu prefers a two-pronged approach.

“Educate and entertain,” he said. “Only then have you earned the right to sell and can you sell.

“Remember, what you’re posting on Facebook is sandwiched between status updates from friends,” Yu said. “Don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Who likes to see an ‘ad’ anyway?”

Businesses should focus energy based on what their audience is and where they are.

“Your public figure page is a business page to post, boost and analyze — spend money here,” Yu said. “Your profile is for friends and family. You can’t advertise.

“Groups are for customers to have discussions, usually when you have enough sales and community to warrant a group,” he said.

Looking down the road, Sun expects to use more webinars and courses. Yu sees chatbots as “an up and coming trend that will be a bigger part of marketing in the near future.”

“Video is not a fad, but something all of us must do and produce — even with our phones and $1 a day to boost,” Yu said. “It doesn’t matter about your skill, how good you look or what boring industry you’re in. Video is a must.”

Sun and Yu look at Facebook Messenger bots with a mix of frustration and hope.

“I’ve seen some people on Facebook use a lot of messenger bots,” Sun said. “I guess it’s helpful in that I know who they are and remember them for bots.

“I find the communication frustrating because I can no longer have a regular, human conversation with them anymore; the bots block it,” she said. “There is still a long way to go. I prefer regular direct messages or email for now.”

Yu favors a combo.

“Why not both email and messenger?” he said. “It can be hard to make an email seem ‘human.’ The same goes for a messenger bot. But as long as you can make it sound ‘human,’ they’re both good options to send out information.”

Besides something tangible, Facebook also can introduce a service.

“Facebook represents a great opportunity to introduce you, your personality and your story,” Sun said. “No one wants to be sold these days. If they know who you are and what you do, you’re one step closer to earning their business.”

Online or off, general sales rules apply.

“People buy your why, not the product or service you sell,” Yu said. “All products are now services, and all services are now products, anyway. Everything is based on relationships and word of mouth.”

Sun said her dream Facebook tool would help her establish new relationships more efficiently.

“You press a button and Facebook does all your marketing for you,” Yu said of his wished-for tool. “From talking to Facebook’s engineers, they might be three to four years away from that — the biggest hurdle being content collection and tweaking.

“They’ll do this by gathering positive reviews from customers and auto-generating videos, much like the automated friendship celebrations they give you,” he said.

That leads to Facebook analytics and the information they offer.

“It’s important to watch for ‘attribution,’ which we’ve played with for the last two years,” Yu said. “You’ll likely get it sometime this year — to be able to see how your search, social, email, in-store and app traffic work together.”

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Facebook marketing is a-maze-ing was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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