Facebook might be a powerful channel for sales and customer engagement, but leveraging it well can
be a different matter. These are some no-fail strategies for making the most of F-commerce.
While social media phenomenon Facebook has become an increasingly popular sales and marketing tool, the reality is that many businesses are using the channel very poorly.
Posting nondescript landing pages that say little about the business, failing to use interactive content and ignoring the opportunity to sell goods to visitors each signal an inability to capitalise on the emerging F-commerce space.
“Businesses are rushing to use Facebook but they don’t do it with any strategy behind it,” says Fi Bendall, company director at digital strategy consultancy the Bendalls Group.
She notes some exceptions – Oxfam (encouraging online donations), Red Bull (uploading interactive content to engage visitors) and Dunkin’ Donuts (promoting competitions and discounts) are all adopting clever strategies to maximise the benefits of Facebook. Other companies are embracing a range of Facebook trends to improve marketing outcomes. These trends include:
- Facebook stores, or F-stores – enabling consumers to make product selections and transactions through a fully functioning online store without having to leave the site
- group buying – facilitating discount deals for users. For example, American retailer Walmart has been asking people to “like” its deals on Facebook. When a set threshold of “likes” is achieved, a discount is activated
- shop and tell – promoting a referral feature with online shopping carts so that when someone makes a purchase at a Facebook store, they can recommend the product to other people in their network
- check-in deals – allowing users to access a brand’s Facebook Places page on their smartphone device when they are nearby, to unlock special deals and discounts.
On top of such features, Bendall advises businesses to embrace the following rules to take advantage of Facebook as a sales and marketing tool.
1. Create a bespoke landing page
Facebook provides tools and applications that can help you customise the landing page and showcase your business. “A lot of people just don’t create a landing page that is eye-catching and bold,” says Bendall.
2. Finetune your content
Conduct brainstorming sessions with colleagues and potential customers to determine what content should go on your Facebook site and which features are likely to be most popular.
3. Make it interesting
Consider uploading exclusive videos, blogs and news, along with details about competitions, promotions and giveaways. Let people interact with your site, rather than just bombarding them with dull corporate messages.
4. Have a clear call to action
Getting visitors to your site is one thing; getting them to buy is another. Make it easy for them, with tabs or icons enabling them to click through to make purchases and payments.
5. Differentiate your brand
Bendall suggests a simple feature such as a striking picture on the landing page that attracts visitors and gives them a clear understanding of your business and product offering. Accompany that with a clear list of services, a location map and contact details so they know what you do and where to find you.
6. Offer incentives and exclusive deals
Why not reward visitors with special offers that generate a buzz and allow them to share with friends on their own Facebook pages? “You want customers to be sharing your content on their Facebook pages, not just limiting the content to your page,” explains Bendall.
7. Provide links to other forums
If you are on other social media networks, let people viewing your Facebook site also have access to other sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. “If you’re driving traffic to your site, make it a very clear call to action – ‘also visit our website, read our blog, follow us on Twitter’,” says Bendall.
8. Measure and analyse
Every comment and activity on Facebook has its own set of analytics that contributes to a set of data. This is a valuable mine of information, so use it to get a clearer understanding of your audience and what information they are sharing. “What we are looking to do is build a recommendation economy,” says Bendall.
9. Consider your reputation at all times
It is crucial to realise that your Facebook site and all associated content reflect your brand and business. So take care.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and the interviewees, and not of Australia Post.
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