February 9, 2011

Cheat sheet: Key principles of social media marketing on Facebook

Stash Tea lures newcomers with a sweepstakes and charms them with Tea Haiku Friday.

The following is excerpted from Facebook Me! A Guide to Socializing, Sharing, and Promoting on Facebook (Second Edition) by Dave Awl. Copyright © 2011. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press. This is part 3 of a 4-part series on using Facebook strategically.
• Part 1: Demystifying how Facebook’s news feeds work
• Part 2: 15 ways to increase your Facebook stature
• Part 3: Cheat sheet: Key principles of social media marketing on Facebook (below)
• Part 4: 15 ways to increase your brand’s impact on Facebook

Guest post by Dave Awl

DaveAwl-AuthorPhoto2010Whether you’re promoting yourself or a client, Facebook gives you the opportunity to reach many people quickly and for no or little cost. But if you misuse the site, you may do more harm than good. Here’s how to take advantage of Facebook’s potential.

Facebook tools like status updates, Notes, Pages, photos, and videos make it easy to grab the attention of your friends and fans—and give you the opportunity to reach out to their friends as well, without being pushy or annoying about it.

For more about the tools, read 12 Tips for Creative Pros on Facebook. But first, let’s look at some of the ABCs of social media marketing and how to keep your Facebook presence engaging.

Strengthen emotional attachments with customers

An experiment conducted by the Harvard Business Review in early 2010 found that Facebook Pages can be very effective at creating stronger “emotional attachments” between businesses and their customers. HBR e-mailed a survey to thousands of customers on the mailing list for a Houston-based bakery called Dessert Gallery (DG), then set up a Facebook Page for DG and invited everyone on the mailing list to become a fan of the Page. They updated the Page several times a week with news, positive reviews, info about contests and specials, profiles of DG employees, and of course, lots of photos of scrumptious desserts. (I want to click the Like button just reading about it.)

Three months later, HBR surveyed DG’s customers again. They found that becoming fans of DG on Facebook “changed customer behavior for the better”: Customers visited the store more often after becoming fans, were more likely to recommend DG to their friends, were most likely to say that they preferred DG to its competitors, and reported a greater emotional attachment to DG (3.4 on a 4-point scale, compared to an average of 3.0 for customers who weren’t Facebook fans).

Cheat sheet: Key principles of social media marketing

I thought it would be useful to give you a checklist of some of the most important do’s and don’ts of social media marketing in one handy bulleted list.

Don’t advertise—engage! People come to Facebook to socialize, to be entertained, and to get useful information, but almost nobody comes for the deliberate purpose of being advertised to. To reach people on Facebook, you need to grab their attention by giving them something they need. See “Free ice cream: Delivering value to your fans” (below) for more on this.

Show, don’t tell. Remember that the best way to persuade Facebookers that you have something great to offer is to use Facebook’s sharing tools to give them a taste of how great that something is, rather than just telling them about it.

The great value of social media is that it creates a two-way connection — an opportunity to build a stronger bond with your audience

Don’t just talk—listen. The great value of social media is that it creates a two-way connection: an opportunity to build a stronger bond with your audience by listening to what they have to tell you and responding to them directly. In a world where customers who try to contact companies are routinely greeted with, “Please listen carefully because our voice menu options have changed,” genuine communication is a killer app. If fans know they can get your ear by visiting your Facebook Page, that can do wonderful things for your traffic. Continue reading