Social media mavens, aggressive marketers, and businesses wanting to drum up interest in their products and services may have something quite intrinsically in common: the desire to use Facebook for lead generation. With an estimated 1 billion active users, it’s little wonder why. It just screams so much untapped marketing potential. Yet, many remain completely clueless about how to correctly go about getting leads on Facebook.
The reality is that smaller businesses seeking fresh leads do not have to spend thousands on used lists or scrape data from LinkedIn. With many internal tools that businesses can take for granted, one can really find an excellent consumer base. Below are several, effective strategies small businesses can follow to properly keep leads and gain new, engaged followers without breaking bank and without losing valuable content, time or effort along the way.
1. Increase Engagement
From the customer’s perspective, users would rather see things they care about as opposed to offers or sales randomly thrown in their face. Instead of targeting the whole, concentrate on the sum of the parts which comprise Facebook – otherwise known as targeted audiences. There’s an easy, holistic and sensible approach to encouraging engagement on your Facebook business pages:
- Take time to match your message with targeted groups likely to have an interest in your business’ products or services. In other words, don’t target your content related to bicycles to audiences which prefer discussing puppies.
- Without actually paying for Facebook Ads, you can see how many people are located within a specific demographical area and would have an interest in your content or business. From this, you can construct content containing relevant keywords in order to draw the customers you wish attract.
- If you are looking for engagement, then make sure your business is engaged. Answer all questions, or at least prove that your interest is actually vested in your Facebook presence. There is no greater put off in the Facebook realm than a “zombie” page or profile. Content won’t save you if a visitor senses that the page is on autopilot or has been abandoned.
- One tactic to increase engagement is to encourage expression and debates. People are drawn to businesses or ideologies where civil expression, ideas, and even debates are allowed and encouraged. This will also give your business new focal points by which you can create content. One example of this in action is to ask questions that require short, easy responses: In ten words or less, what is your best food-related memory?
- Offer a reward for engagement. Whether it is a discount on your products or services, a prize like a gift card or another promotional item, or even recognition and exposure, you may get more initial attention from Facebook users by enticing them with a good offer. More on this below.
Using these methodologies for engaging targeted groups will grow your likes outward, meaning interested parties will share your content and bring their friends with them.
2. EdgeRank Wisdom
Much like Google, Facebook has their own internal algorithmic tool used to delegate what ends up in user news feeds. Content that appeals to your audience, and is engaging, will appear systematically in news feeds in the order which is found to be the most relevant. The EdgeRank algorithm adds the quantities of various ‘affinity scores’ which are measured from comments, likes, tagging and newness of the content and adds the decay factor which gauges the length of time content was created. Learning this and implementing the algorithm into your content will surely increase your Facebook readership as only the targeted audience will see news you choose based on varied factors.
For a more in depth tips on mastering EdgeRank on your business’s Facebook page, see this post over at Social Media Examiner.
3. Spring for Promoted Posts
Every investment, when well-placed, will yield some return… or a lesson learned. With promoted posts from Facebook, you can ensure that some of your content gets maximum exposure among your target audience. What this service basically does is allows you to promote important content already on your news feed by giving it a second, more prominent life. Your promoted posts will appear higher in the news feed, so there’s a better chance your audience will see them.
If you decide on this path, make sure to script your posts with exceptionally usable content that teaches, outreaches and has the best call-to-action possible. By showcasing your best content you will invariably increase readership and engagement. You also need to pay attention to your budget. Those added $5 to $10 expenses can quickly ad up.
4. Reduction in Rejection
Although your audience may shrink, having the targeted features turned on while running paid ads will definitely reduce the unlinking and unsubscribing from your posts or pages. What kills many business’ initiatives through Facebook is the fact wide targeting aimlessly towards the world simply does little justice; you have GOT to shrink your scope down to what your specialty is, and match that with people who like your ‘stuff’. Even if the target shrinks into the hundreds, you’ll be less likely to lose them because you’re targeting their actually faves.
Targeting may only apply to news feeds, however, because Promoted Posts are actually the better resource to tap into when trying to feed your calls-to-action across Facebook. Keep your core marketing strategy small and incrementally grow it along with your fan base to reduce rejections.
5. Avoid Negativity
Although seemingly harmless, openly expressing criticism about other people or businesses in posts, links or discussions can generate more trouble for your business than it’s worth. Instead of bashing your competition, keep your promoted posts, wall discussions and any other dialogue across Facebook clean, sportsmanlike and factual. If the need to discuss another business arises, you would do well to speak with some level of tact and professionalism.
6. Build Your Customer List From ‘Likes’
Spending the quality time in checking out who specifically liked your page will eventually build a killer contact list for private messaging or, if they’ve ‘friended’ you, will harvest email addresses. Make sure that you open up all dialogue by thanking the respective party for liking your business or page because it’s simply ‘couth’ to do so. You could potentially offer eBooks, valuable coupons or even something else usable for free in exchange for contact information after the like was received.
7. The Power of Video and Photos
Offer webinars and other informative videos which teach a specific trade, trait or thought to a wide group of people within your targeted audience. Make this webinar interactive to the point you offer open questions on your Wall, and answer these live. Building rapport through showcasing your knowledge or experiences will keep people coming back, except with more people with them each time. You can hold this webinar as an event, a Q&A session or even something which gives away value to the end user.
Including interesting or informative photos with commentary and/or a call to action is also a good tactic. With all the data floating around online and off, graphical information provides an easy-to-digest way of presenting and absorbing ideas that can then be easily shared with others.
Social media marketing relies upon deep understandings of your targeted audience, what they like and love, and how often they are online. Knowing the basics of EdgeRank, the Promoted Post feature of Facebook advertising, and realizing the smaller targeted crowds draw the biggest conversion rates will boost your lead generation efforts across Facebook and allow your ‘Liked’ content to equivocally turn into ‘Loved’ products or services which is really all your business is after anyway.
Tim Wilson works as content manager at HostPapa, a website hosting company serving over 100,000 customers around the world. Since launching in 2006, HostPapa has offered reliable, budget-friendly, easy-to-use solutions for small to medium-sized businesses.
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