Facebook is arguably the founding father of social networks, so you might find it strange that we didn’t start our social media for businesses series by looking at how ecommerce retailers can utilize its capabilities.
The simple truth is that it’s taken Facebook a long time to perfect its B2B offering. Developments such as the launch of company pages and the growth of advertising have enabled it to get closer to fulfilling a commercial destiny, but the vast majority of companies still aren’t using this social network to the full advantage.
So where could your business be going wrong on Facebook? Perhaps by forgetting that prospects are still people – people who want to engage in two way conversations with your brand.
Too many organizations still post endless sales messages on Facebook, without thinking how and why people use the site today. Asking questions, sharing exclusive insights and talking to your audience like real people – not just buying machines – goes a long way to building followers. And ultimately, the more followers you attract, the more powerful Facebook becomes as a selling tool.
This also presents an opportunity to be clever, as you can create content that links through to your main ecommerce site. By driving traffic through to your predominant sales platform, even if the post that pushed them through isn’t promoting your products and services, they end up in a prime place to learn more about your brand.
It’s important to remember at this stage that Facebook is an independent platform when it comes to searches. So while your business might be investing heavily in Google search engine optimization and pay per click advertising, there could be a whole section of your customers that never visit that particular search site to look up your brand.
And unlike Google, Facebook is built as a word of mouth sales tool. Sharing content is key to both building brand awareness and driving sales – so make sure that the content you post is written in an engaging manner. Interesting, informative updates – perhaps even with a touch of humor if appropriate – are far more likely to be shared than dry sales messages.
One of the most powerful aspects of social media is the ability experiment and analyse responses, in order to refine your strategy. Therefore don’t be afraid to try out different styles until you find your voice. It’s worth looking at how other companies engage with their prospects online, but don’t fall into the trap of copying them verbatim; what works for one brand won’t necessarily transfer successfully to another.
Finally, use all the tools at Facebook’s disposal to enhance your brand presence. All companies on the site are required to carry out some nominal advertising, but you can support this by creating engaging and interactive features on your main page. Adding images, running polls and launching competitions are far more likely to gain you followers than just posting text updates on a daily basis.