You’re probably familiar with Facebook, but if you’re like a lot of business owners, you may not know how to get the most mileage out of it. To find out how small business owners can use Facebook to attract holiday shoppers, I spoke to Nick Robinson, contributor on the social news site Business 2 Community and Director of Client Services at Social Media HQ.
Q: What is your top social media tip for making the most of the holiday season?
A: For the upcoming holiday season, the keyword this year is "value". People's wallets are tight, and your product or service needs to be perceived as above and beyond what a customer would normally get for the price. So how do you create the perception of value in social media? Amazing content! Rather than saying, "Hey look, here's our product," show people how the products or services make people happy, more efficient and successful. A great example is creating a video of happy customers using your product. Also reach out to your brand advocates to spread the word through user-generated content.
Q: Should small businesses use both online and offline efforts to get “Likes” on Facebook, and if so, what advice can you give?
A: Online and offline marketing should always be integrated and seamless. Brick-and-mortar businesses, in particular, should raise awareness of their Facebook presence through print ads, billboards, television, radio and events. One tip for driving Facebook "Likes" through offline tactics is to tell people the exact address of your Facebook page. Too many businesses display the Facebook symbol, but this does little if people don't know where to go. For example, if your Facebook page's address is facebook.com/yourbusiness, make sure to spell it out in each offline channel.
Q: What can businesses using Facebook ads do to get the most out of their advertising budget?
A: Facebook ads can be effective if implemented properly. Here are the steps I suggest:
- Look at your Facebook Insights demographic data. Identify the top demographic profiles for the people who like your page. Then identify the audience that you would like to reach on Facebook.
- Create at least 10 design variations for an ad campaign.
- Within each design variation, target at least three to four different segments.
- Test broad category types for each ad variation.
- Decide whether you want to drive traffic to a landing pageon your website, or if you want to acquire more "likes". If you decide to acquire likes, what is it that you want the user to do after they click the "like" button? Figuring this out before launching a campaign will allow you to measure conversions. Clicking on the "like" button is a microscopic conversion, so you will also need to measure more important conversions, such as downloading content, submitting an e-mail address or using an application within Facebook.
- After launching your ad campaign, monitor closely for the best and worst performing ads. Decrease spending or pause the poor-performing ads and increase spending on the best-performing ads.
Q: How can businesses tap into Small Business Saturday on November 26th to help broaden their Facebook presence?
A: Small Business Saturday was created to raise awareness about the importance of small businesses to our economy. Small business owners should contribute to raising awareness by creating and sharing content that inspires the community to act. Content can be anything from videos to blog posts to simple one or two sentence Facebook status updates.
Q: Can you share two great tips for building online excitement in the lead-up to Small Business Saturday?
A: First, create a lot of informative content. Second, spread that content to as many online channels as you can (i.e., blogs, social networks, video sharing, social bookmarking, e-mail), including those you own and that others own. Sharing your content on other people's channels is important because these people have their own audiences that may be receptive to your messages. The key to effectively sharing your content on others' channels is to create a relationship first by offering a helping hand. If you've done a good job of cultivating a relationship, you will be allowed to share your content infinitely with their audiences.