As an Internet Marketer, it’s very common to use social media or social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, and so on, to promote yourself, your products/services, your company, and/or your work.
But like any marketing communications and strategy, there are some important dos and don’ts. I’ll use Facebook as an example of social media marketing, for the purposes of this discussion.
The main difference in using Facebook, as opposed to any other marketing platform, is that it is, or certainly was, primarily a social medium (and not a business medium). Facebook was originally designed for people to connect socially with other people. Then when Facebook became a force to be reckoned with, companies and businesses decided to get their slice of the pie. The fact that Facebook is a social networking platform means your marketing communications must have a more social/friendly and connecting flavour.
So here are 5 tips for making your Facebook marketing effective, based on my observations of the most successful Internet Marketers’ methods of using Facebook, as well as my own use of it as a marketing tool:
Tip 1: Make your Facebook profile interesting, friendly, and informative.
Your profile needs to let people know what kind of person you are (often your Facebook Friends are people you haven’t met in real life). Don’t be too formal, businesslike or unattached (this is my downfall sometimes!), or equally too informal, which could be viewed as unprofessional. The trick is to portray something balanced and in between – after all, you are a business and must come over as competent and professional; but Facebook is a social medium, and you need to show your human side too. Do this by mentioning some things in your Profile about you which make you you, and that have nothing to do with your business. But also give readers the facts about what you do as a business and how you can help them.
Tip 2: Be real with your status updates/posts. You shouldn’t be on Facebook just to promote and sell.
Be a real person – sometimes simply post status updates/comments that enable people to see you’re just another ordinary person like them. Don’t make your comments too inconsequential or personal though (avoid mentions of your toenails or hair problems!).
A fairly common way to add value in this way is by posting quotes from famous people which resonate with your values, hopefully to make your Friends stop and think, or to inspire them.
For example: ‘”Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” John Wooden, Basketball Coach’ (posted by Lavinia D. Osbourne on Facebook, 30th May 2010).
But also be aware that posting quotes is becoming so commonly used now, that its value may have been diluted. Perhaps also make up your own statements based upon your observations and thoughts about the nature of life, business, and being human?
Tip 3: Be helpful to your Friends/Page Fans/Group Members.
Do not use forceful sales-hype in your status updates/posts – people do not want to be sold to! Depending on your business, the products/services you promote, and your own personality, you need to build a personal brand by offering help and advice to others (your target market) in a relevant way to them; based on their typical needs, wants, desires, dreams and problems.
This kind of approach is more likely to entice them to click through to your main website and purchase from you, because over time they will have become to like and trust you.
Tip 4: Be interactive. Create and use a Facebook Group (with a relevant name, topic and purpose) to connect with others, and make sure you do at least one group message, event/webinar invitation or free/useful offer every day to your group.
Remember that although you can invite your Friends to join your Facebook Group, they choose themselves whether to become Group Members or not, and they will be more likely to join a dynamic group with lots of interaction and helpful information (that isn’t simply created to spam them with sales-talk).
Besides your posts, allow Group Members to post their updates/comments to your group’s wall, so that they can freely interact with other group members (but perhaps it’s wise to limit purely self-promotion by Group Members).
Tip 5: Use Facebook frequently. Become known by your Friends/Fans/Group Members.
If Facebook is one of your main chosen Internet Marketing strategies, then use it everyday – be seen, be interactive, be there! View it as a place you go to – if you go there often, people there get to know you, and feel more comfortable and familiar with you. This can only be good for your personal brand and Internet Marketing efforts.
Facebook can be a very effective marketing tool, but not all Internet Marketers see success from their use of Facebook. Success is of course not only measured by website sales conversions ($$$), but also by the amount of interest, interaction, and excitement generated by your Facebook profile, status updates and Groups. Use the 5 tips above as a checklist for your Facebook marketing – and remember, “good things come to those who work hard, but not always immediately“!