Creating an Effective Facebook Brand Marketing Strategy

Facebook marketing strategies chalk talkIf it seems like no one’s visiting your Facebook page, there’s probably a simple reason.

Brand pages that gain viewers and likes have provided a reason for folks to stop in – again and again. There is fresh content, informative videos and conversations with others who are passionate about the brand or its category. Many times they are sharing tips and suggestions that draw in others to the conversation.

In short, these brands have created conversations and a relationship with their audience. Some followers have even become brand advocates who help spread the brand message to others.

Gaining brand traction on Facebook

Facebook brand page frustrationBut what if you have just created your Facebook page? How do you overcome the sheer brand awareness that FMCG companies have? Plus, you probably don’t have much money or content to put up on a Facebook page. Which is why so many pages get started but then fizzle out – a lack of time to create interesting, relevant contact.

Here are several tips that will get you started on building a Facebook page, creating conversations, and over time, building relationships and brand advocates to help you share your story

How you communicate is as important as what you communicate on Facebook

Getting heard on FacebookYour initial Facebook strategy is all about building your foundation:

  • What is your product?
  • How is your product used?
  • What does your company believe in and stand for?

These pillars — Product, Purpose, and Education – actually will make your job easier. They provide the framework to focus your content and keep you from posting silly or irrelevant topics that do nothing to build your brand.

Follow these 8 simple steps to build your online brand marketing strategy on Facebook

  1. Facebook marketing strategy tipsPost often – even if it seems like no one is listening. Build the base that will define your brand, educate and establish your purpose. You want your followers to keep coming back to your page, so make sure that they always have something new to look at.
  2. Use third party content to make your job easier. Mix in videos and articles that are of interest to your audience and fits your brand’s category. The goal is to have variety so that every post is not the same.
  3. Mix in real product education. You can post pictures or video or other materials you may have created to sell your customers. A little goes a long way.
  4. Like other non-competitive brands that are in your category. This could be your customers, for example.
  5. Create excitement. Can you give away your product in a quick promo? Use or celebrate a goal to create a reason or add urgency. Using Likes is popular tool to drive engagement.
  6. Promote a post. If there’s a post that you think deserves a broader audience, then for a minimal amount of money it can be promoted. This maybe a good idea when you run a promotion.
  7. Be topical. With the holidays being around the corner, you can post messages and create graphics that celebrate the holidays or New Year.
  8. Don’t just talk. Listen and respond when others make comments.

The bottom line on creating your Facebook marketing strategy?

Like buttonHaving a specific vision of what you want to achieve with your Facebook marketing strategy will help you make the most progress towards meeting your goals. If you only have a vague idea of what you hope to accomplish, you will find it hard to know whether your strategy is working. Have measurable benchmarks that you can use to evaluate your success.

Not surprisingly, many companies don’t see quick results from their Facebook page marketing efforts – and certainly not sales. It’s easy to say it’s not worth it.

Remember: you are helping someone solve a problem where your product is a possible solution. You are not selling them why your product is the best solution. Keep this in mind and over time, you will see real and measurable results.

Good Selling!

Using Content Marketing to Drive Sales

Content Marketing Is Driving Brand ConversationsSocial media offers brands a set of inexpensive tools that can quickly get marketing messages out through interactive discussion and rapid word of mouth and, properly managed, can deliver measurable results.

You can use content marketing to create conversations around topics and social channels related to the need for your products.

Use a two-pronged approach to creating awareness and driving interest and sales

To do this successfully, you need to take advantage of both a top down and a bottom up approach to social media.

  • Your top down strategy is to create broad awareness and credibility among experts and consumers
  • Your bottom up goal is to drive consumer awareness and engagement through grassroots and in-market activities

How to spark and drive sustainable conversation and recommendation

Social media platforms for your content marketingHere’s how to spark and drive sustainable conversation and recommendation through social media:

  • LISTEN:  Track and identify key trends, stories, posts and influencers
  • DEVELOP:  Build content that makes it easier for consumers to share and recommend your brand
  • ENGAGE:  Work together with consumer influencers to drive discussion, posts, reviews, give feedback, conduct contests and share recommendations with others
  • OPTIMIZE:  Ensure both new and existing content is tagged to make brand discussions easily searchable and sharable
  • PROTECT:  Establish a protocol for responding to negative word-of-mouth and mitigating damage from competitors and brand detractors
  • MEASURE:  Build-in metric that demonstrate the impact of engagement at each point in the Conversation Engine

The most important step in building your social media foundation is creating a “sharable story”

Sharable story is like an elevator pitchA shareable story is basically an elevator pitch story with messaging that connects your key points together in everyday, natural language.

The sharable story shapes all engagement to ensure the story you want to tell is infused into all of your conversations.

Become the leading expert, resource, authority and trusted partner in your space

Next, you need to engage leading industry eminents across all relevant vertical channels. Find and engage those individuals who can influence people to consider your category and become interested in your brand.

Screen influencers using rigorous criteria to ensure identifying only the leaders:

  1. Reputation
  2. Reach
  3. Visibility
  4. Accessibility

Remember, these influencers are going to give you credibility so focus on engaging the right online influencers.

Track & identify key trends, stories, posts and influencers

Track & identify key trends, stories, posts and influencersThrough either subscription-based tools or through publicly available free tools, develop a daily monitoring routine to identify opportunities, influencers, and key trends.

Create conversations around topics and social channels related to the need for your products

Social media platforms for your content marketing

Now you are ready to activate your online social media channels. You want to create conversations around topics and social channels related to the need for your products.

Consider doing this in stages so you don’t overwhelm your team or confuse consumers by creating online content but not having the time or energy to keep it fresh and current. A possible phased approach is to launch on Facebook and Twitter initially.

Once you have Facebook and Twitter up and running smoothly, and the team is comfortable managing and posting content, it’s time to expand to additional channels like Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Google+, etc.

These channels allow you to broaden your content and create additional content that your created and control to help further enrich the consumer education process and provide opportunities to link into your customer websites with rich content.

Your goal is to drive fans and followers with these two sites. Remember, these sites require you to engage regularly. That means you need to manage and moderate daily, especially since you will quickly find consumers using these sites to post customer service, quality or warranty issues.

Don’t worry if there are negative comments. Ultimately your goal is to bury these comments under an avalanche of helpful tips and advice on where and how to buy your brand. It’s this kind of news that will ultimately shape your brand conversations.

Focus on building assets that make the benefits of owning your brand shareable and portable

This will allow you to leverage the full capabilities of online multimedia sharing sites to maximize visibility and reach.

  • Action Words Bullhorn Megaphone Motivation MissionCreate checklists for occasions or life events that should include your brand
  • Build video demonstrations and distribute to YouTube and beyond through services such as TubeMogul
  • Build photo libraries that illustrate specific benefits of safe ownership and distribute to publicly indexed networks like Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram
  • Encourage consumer-generated testimonials (stories, videos, photos) – leveraging the capabilities of Facebook and Pinterest for running sweepstakes and contests

A good way to draw consumers to your social media sites is to host contests. It’s a straight forward way to build followers of your brand and ultimately to have them “opt-in” to being open to receiving email offers from you for new products, services or promotions.

Create and share content regularly that engages consumers and encourages them to share, recommend and, ultimately, buy

The final step is to measuring the impact of your online social media efforts.  A great way to do that is with a measure call an Earned Digital Engagement or EDE.   Earned Digital Engagements are the metric you can use to measure the direct impact of your online social media efforts, independent of natural conversation.

Using an EDE methodology, you’re able to provide a comparable measure of the number of people reached online, but this form of measurement also accounts for their action.  The EDE measures the number of people reached through a brand’s social media efforts across channels – from blogs to Facebook to Twitter and YouTube and Flickr.

An earned engagement consists of the number of people influenced by an interaction with your brand that results in a:

  • Post
  • Tweet
  • Photo
  • Video
  • Or public Facebook engagement

Forrester Research said it best: “…interactive marketers must move beyond experimentation by making social applications a permanent part of marketing, measuring and demonstrating their value, and integrating them into marketing efforts.”

Are You Following These 8 Basic Steps For Online Success?

8 steps to online successYour potential buyers are actively participating in social media every single day. In many cases, they are having conversations about your products or your brand.

This is where social media comes into play. It presents you with a huge opportunity to take part in conversations your potential buyers are engaged in, and offer value by providing information and education.

By doing this, you’ll quickly move your buyers from the “shopping phase” to being “ready to buy.”  If you’ve done a good job giving them information they will “like” you, engage with you and be more likely to buy your product.

Here are eight basic ways to become part of the dialog and create awareness of your company and products.

1. Create a Twitter account

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There are many companies who are using Twitter effectively as a customer service tool. These companies continuously monitor the “Twitter-sphere” looking for people who have problems related to their products, or who have questions.  These companies have dedicated staff to provide answers to their questions and handle issues they may be having.

Another way companies are stepping up is by becoming the expert consumers turn to for answers to questions they have while moving through the buying process. Since potential buyers are turning to the web to educate themselves before they are ready to buy, Twitter is a great platform to give valuable knowledge to these information seekers. You should send out “tweets” containing the most often asked “pre-sale” questions your potential buyers have, and include links to content you have created that contain the answers.

2. Create a Facebook page

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Facebook pages are an excellent way to get your message and valuable information in front of a large volume of people. The way the system handles these pages is extremely valuable for businesses since: when there is a post on your Facebook page, it shows up in news feed of anyone who has “liked” your page and is visible to anyone else that may be visiting their profile page.

A Facebook page will also give you the ability to position your company as much more than simply a company that wants to sell stuff. It provides a way to make a connection with your consumers while they are going through the buying process and shows potential buyers that you care about them regardless of whether they open their wallet or purses up … or not.

3.  Facebook pay-per-click advertising

facebook_ad2Facebook provides an excellent opportunity for you to reach people based on interests they list within their profile. You can create customized image ads based on the target you are looking to reach.

This type of advertising is extremely inexpensive and can be highly targeted. These ads need to have a very compelling call to action or they risk being ignored. If you are simply looking to create top of mind awareness, you can do that by creating a brand focused ad. This type of ad will not receive many clicks, but it will create a high volume of impressions which will create a familiarity of your brand among those targeted.

Image credit: sharedmarketing.com

4. Create a YouTube channel

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It is important to understand the way your potential buyers prefer to consume online content, and once you know this, give it to them in that format. Video is a good way to achieve this because most people would rather watch a 1-2 minute video than read pages and pages of content.

Populate your YouTube channel with “user submitted” testimonials, “how to” videos, and any other relevant videos. Fight the urge to place “one way” advertising message videos on the site since nobody cares about that stuff besides you. These videos also need to be highly optimized for your brand so they can come up higher in the results than any negative videos about your brand’s products.

5. Frequent blog participation

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If you don’t have one already, you should create a blog for your brand. Be sure to post at least once a week and make sure your posts include valuable content that either educates or entertains readers. If the content is very “corporate” and stiff, consumers won’t return.

The more content you post, the more likely you’ll be able to connect with your buyers through  search engines and ultimately on your website. You should also make a point to read other blog content related to your category to identify hot topics consumers are looking to solve. If you feel you can help them and add value …you should post a comment. If your comment has valuable information and stands out, chances are you’ll receive visitors to your website.

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Seo

Your social media efforts, blogging, YouTube participation, and article creation will help you significantly with your SEO since your main focus should be on building a large number of inbound links. These links are viewed as “votes of confidence” for your site and are used in determining where your site should appear on the search engine results page for specific keyword searches.

7. Reputation Management

Build your reputation

Your brand is no longer controlled by you, but rather by what your consumers are saying about you. The internet has created an environment where a company’s reputation can be destroyed almost overnight if they don’t work on knowing what is being said about them online.

You need to address the negative content which resides online and either work on “burying it” through aggressive SEO efforts, address the negative comments head on, or produce a high volume of testimonial focused content. Believing that you can get negative ratings or comments removed or changed is naive.

Regardless of which path you follow, it is critical for you to check the internet constantly so you know what is being said about you and your products.  It is no longer acceptable to wait days or in some cases minutes to address negative comments. The “real time” nature of the internet allows for a negative message to spread around the world in minutes and can completely alter your prospective buyers’ perception of your company.

8. Engagement

Engage with consumers

If you’ve done a good job of “amping up” the awareness of your company and products, and have done an effective job building a solid reputation online, you still have one more step to take. You need to make sure you are engaging the visitors who arrive on your website.

Consumers are turning to the search engines for solutions to problems they are experiencing or education. If your website is simply talking about how great your company and products are and don’t have any interactive mechanisms in place to engage your visitors, they’ll have no reason to return.

Meaningful conversations lead to relationships

The new rules demand that you find out where your potential buyers “hang out” online. You then need to go there, and take part in the conversation. That doesn’t mean you go there and spout off about your great products or try to sell them. It means you need to go there and add value to the conversation. The result will be lasting consumer relationships with your brand and strong demand for your products.