Every business - big or small - nowadays consider having a Facebook Business Page as part of their online social media marketing strategy. But why has it turned into a phenomenon? The euphoria can be very much compared to the mood at the onset of the internet era, when brick-n-mortar businesses strived to create an online presence.
Fig: From buzz to 'Likes' - Do they convert to Sales? (Image credit: Facebook.com)
Well, my intention here is not to teach you guys how to 'Create a Facebook Business Page'; as I'm very sure most of you reading this post have got your FB Fan Page or Business Page, and the select few 'aspiring entrepreneurs' must have already been planning one for your dream business.
Here we are discussing how you can create a popular Facebook Business Page that sells - one that can convert leads and generate revenue. One of the main ingredients to create a popular Facebook business page is CONTENT; because it is ultimately the content that makes your fans 'Like', 'Share' and 'Comment'.
However, there are also other aspects of creating a popular Business Page for Facebook like: creating an interesting Username for the page and posting images more frequently - because images not only say a thousand words, it also helps initiate discussions and give reasons for people to engage.
Starbucks - the popular coffee retailer brand for example, absolutely implements what it says in its Company overview: "Starbucks has an unusually human approach to business. We always figured that putting people before products just made good common sense." Just check out this post below:
And Starbucks absolutely won over its customers, when it stated in its launch announcement of the New Hazelnut Machiato that it has 'listened' to what its customers wanted and created this unique blend. And you can see the overwhelming social response in likes (199,186), shares (12,242) and comments (4394), reflecting a strong indication towards the verdict - SALES.
One of the first things you need, to create the buzz on Facebook or in any social networking podium is a strong community. You should consider yourselves fortunate if your community comprises of many passionate, 'social' individuals and active customers. Identify the Influencers in your community and nurture relationships. Here are a few thumb rules as to how you can generate more 'likes' for your Facebook business page:
Here is an illustration below from a series of posts from the McDonald's Facebook page, which reiterates that generating 'likes' for your Facebook for Business page has much to do with certain factors like consistency in posting, active participation, understanding customer sentiment and requirements and last but not the least measure, analyze and learn from post analytics.
Fig: (A series of posts from Facebook/McDonalds): Play with posts and 'listen', you will know what works for your Brand.
The desperation and cravings for Facebook 'likes' really amuses me and makes me realize that 'LIKES' are treated nonetheless as free publicity generating tool. But do they actually convert to sales? First, let us analyze why people FOLLOW a Brand or you can say 'Like' a Facebook Business Page.
Fig. A graphic representation of why people actually (follow) 'Like' brands on Facebook
This graphic representation created from a research on Facebook in what influences people to follow brands gives a clear indication that even though Brands reckon the success of their social media marketing campaigns based on the number of 'likes' their pages have received; just clicking 'Like' however, DO NOT quantify or measure business success.
Statistics reveal that while 60 percent of Brand marketers consider success in the growing number of people liking (following) their business page on Facebook; about 39 percent people measure success by the sheer number of people sharing, liking, or commenting and discussing brand content.
Now, the BIG question is do these convert into sales? Most of all, it is important that people who have liked your page keeps visiting and stay connected!
Are you obsessive towards generating Facebook 'like' for your Business page? Well, before you drain all your finances and energy accumulating 'likes' let me tell you that it is equally important for Brands to understand the equation of Facebook 'Likes' to Sale. It is true that 'likes and shares' is an endorsement of your brand visibility; BUT IS THAT FUELING SALES?
If not, then you really need to re-work on your strategy; although there is no paved way to lead your customers from 'like' to sale. Building relationships with your customers and engaging with them is one of the initial steps towards customer engagement and laterally guiding into the selling process.
Everyone's aware of Starbucks big brand presence online. It all began in 2008, when after a phase of disappointing sales, the coffee giant decided to revamp its offline strategies and implement them online. Starbucks is one of the most successful examples of a brand using social networking asset to turnaround sales through promotions and advertisements.
One of its bold marketing decisions was the launch of a website MyStarbucksIdea.com that was conceptualized with an intent to help identify problems - basically a forum for consumers to make suggestions, ask questions, and even vent their frustrations as well.
Starbucks Facebook Page indeed looks like a celebration of the brand! (Image credit: StarbucksTM)
Then came Starbuck's Facebook page. Created in 2008 with around 200,000 fans, the FB business page of StarbucksTM now boasts of a staggering 36+ million likes. It is rightly said that no other brand engages with their customers the way StarbucksTM does. One of the key reasons being Starbuck’s social media success, especially on Facebook is its consistent engagement with their consumers and brand values.
In short, StarbucksTM have successfully managed to create an online community for everyone who enjoys Starbucks - where fans and friends can come together on a common podium to share their comments, pictures, stories, feedback, grievances, and insider news.
What makes Starbucks™ social media initiative (as in Facebook) a success, is the APPROACH it took to build its social media presence. It strategically uses Facebook not as a direct marketing tool but with the goal of building customer relationships. And interestingly its strategy worked, as Starbucks was consistently able to improve sales after the use of social media promotions.
Chris Bruzzo, Starbucks' VP-brand content and online shares one instance of the brand's successful online social media initiative in the summer of 2009 - 'Free Pastry Day'. Starbucks urged consumers to visit the company website or its Facebook page and download a voucher for a free pastry. Bruzzo, who visited multiple stores later that day to assess first-hand response was amazed to see long queues outside every store, with people holding printed 'Free Pastry' voucher. This indeed made Bruzzo realize the power of social media and its impact on turning sales, if implemented strategically.
Fig: Attributes of Facebook Sharing - Why do people 'share'?
A careful analysis of Facebook 'Shares' that usually follows 'likes' is attributed to content or images that either offers advice for common problems faced by one and all, to warn against impending danger, an unique event (a celestial occurrence happening once in 100 years) or amazing facts and pictures that amuse; or you can say inspirational quotes presented through graphics.
And what about sharing deals? The Brands not only gain visibility through strategically posted Deals and Offers on their Facebook for Business Page, they are happily reaping the moolah too!
Just check out this post from Starbucks™ Facebook Business Page. Its simple, harmless, doesn't send out a sales statement directly - but makes the right impact. Not only does it bring a smile on your face (who doesn't like flowers after all) but also makes you obliviously SHARE the post. Well, the job is done. Mission accomplished! Starbucks 'share' is now showing on your connection's Wall, and who knows Starbucks has gotta another 'Like' and a new follower by now.
Fig. The right content and image can help you CONNECT with your audience. (Image Credit: facebook.com/starbucks)
While it is trivial whether every business should have a Facebook for Business page or not, what is required is understanding the socioeconomics of integrating Facebook and social media experience for your consumers into the brand. One has to remember that Facebook for Business success is much more than the 'Likes', 'Shares' and 'Comments' - not to forget Facebook advertising. In fact, your social media strategy or here you can say Facebook strategy does not end with your Business page creation, but starts with it.
You might be personally popular in your Facebook circuit, but that does not ensure business success for your brand in a personal Profile page. Even though your popularity might fuel integrity in the nascent stages of social growth, it is ultimately your customers who make your Brand.
Moreover, the fans associated with both profiles when juxtaposed are absolutely different characters - you will not like to share your personal conversations or photos with your business connections and your personal connections (family, friends, etc.) would not appreciate brand promotions in their personal space. Time to move over to Facebook for Business!
Facebook business page is not just about creating buzz but the 'right buzz' (productive and conversion-friendly content, images and videos) and to the 'right audience' i.e. your brand's target audience. Statistics has revealed that hardly 1 to 5 percent of people who have 'liked' your Facebook Business Page actually read your post updates. So, it is important that you give your audience interesting social feed to connect, engage and initiate sales.
Experts say 'No' till you make some relevant contributions to 'building' the Business Page. Post some great content, product images and videos that will introduce your Brand to your audience and make then 'like' and 'share' posts to a larger client base. Anyways, your email contacts are a ready resource and you may invite them anytime to 'Like' your business page.
With 152 million likes, the 'social real estate property owner' it naturally leads the pack with the highest number of admirers in Facebook Business Page.
Coca Cola Inc. the largest global beverage brand is also the most popular with 83 million likes to its credit. What makes Coca-Cola Facebook Page interesting is its ode to real people, where it presents a collection of stories presenting how people from around the world have helped create the Brand Coke.
Popularity is synonymous to the brand Disney, and it has maintained its dominance in Facebook Business page too with popular and loveable update to its movies, cartoon characters and highly popular Disney merchandise. Its 48 million Facebook 'like' speaks for it.
4. Red Bull
The popular beverage brand Red Bull Energy Drink made famous through its association with top athletes, besides professionals, students and travelers alike; manages to engross its fans in its Facebook Page. It too has a fairly successful social media strategy attributing to 43 million Facebook likes.
Starbucks - the popular coffee retailer brand, (besides being my personal FB Business page favorite) is emerging as one of the most engaging of most brands. With a burgeoning 36 million likes from fans, Starbucks's Facebook team consistently posts interesting content in its Business Page generating overwhelming response. And most importantly, it just does not 'listen' it 'engages' too.
Fig: Effective Facebook business pages - a comparative study (the logos used in the image are trademarks of respective brands)
Oreo, the classic cookie brand that was founded in 1912; has found 36 million (fans) 'likes' reiterating its popularity even in its social media venture. The posts in Oreo's Business Page are smart representations of concepts - mostly using the cookie as their muse.
Walmart, the retail giant since its inception in 1962 has been a trendsetter that promises to lower the 'cost of living'. Not only has that concept helped the brand create an instant connect with its customers, it also continues to create trends in the social media circle. Its recent endorsing and promoting of 'Buy American' (products) has proved to be a winning formula, with Walmart’s Facebook Business Page garnering 34 million followers who engage and promote sales as well.
McDonalds, is unarguably one of the most 'loved' brand. Starting from its popular tagline "I'm lovin' it", the brand promises no health benefits, no great attributes for selling its products. All that it says is that you are going to love what it has to offer for you. And it’s 31 million 'likes' in its business page is an indication of how much McDonalds is loved worldwide. More so, its Facebook for business page is an alluring mix of fun and intelligently conceptualized content.
The global snack brand Pringles, made popular through its potato wafers considers itself 'not just a snack, but a way of life'. The Pringles Facebook page clearly sets the mood for its 27 million strong followers that - this platform is meant to be nothing else but a fun environment for its fans to discuss the Brand products and promotions.
10. Angry Birds
Are you an Angry Birds fan? Well, its Facebook business page says 'Hit LIKE if want to become a fan of the birds!' Cool branding of the popular mobile app that broke all records and gave a new dimension to app 'inspired' merchandizes. With the brand just touching the 26 million fans mark, it has indeed been an incredible 'app' journey for Angry Bird - the Brand.
Well, businesses need to understand that considering Facebook 'likes' as directly proportional to customers or directs sales will be a HUGE mistake. It is quite a difficult proposition to measure the investment that goes into creating a 'social media brand', as it requires consistent man-hours of active engagement and smart implementation of social media marketing strategy to facilitate conversion of Facebook 'likes' into C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R-S.
After all, what matter for you at the end is the ROI or Return-On-Investment; and an insightful Facebook Business Page Strategy can help transcend your business to the next level.
WHAT IS YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY FOR BUSINESS?