8 Factors for Long-Term Facebook Marketing Success - dummies

8 Factors for Long-Term Facebook Marketing Success

By John Haydon

Every marketer wants her Facebook campaign to succeed, but not everyone can be so lucky. What are the best approaches to ensure success? Here are a few of the most time-tested ways to make sure your campaign makes the most of Facebook.

Make personal use of Facebook

One of the best ways to ensure long-term marketing success on Facebook is to personally use it. Sure, you can read books and the latest research about why people use Facebook, but no book can take the place of the Facebook experience.

By signing up and using Facebook to connect with old high school friends, share photographs with family, discover new music, and comment within threads about various topics, you begin to understand how to better connect with your customers.

Understand why people share

Obviously, one of the most important things you want your Facebook fans to do is share content that you post on your Facebook Page. Understanding the psychology of sharing enables you to optimize your content for specific “sharing personas.”

Some people share to promote their careers, keeping everything they share professional and safe for work. These folks are generally well educated, use LinkedIn, and keep their Facebook profile privacy settings very closed. Other people share because they want to look cool in front of their friends. A good person to follow to understand more about what motivates people to share is Dan Zarrella.

Be useful and helpful

One of the most powerful social laws that functions across cultures and languages is the law of reciprocity. Helping others is at the very core of our evolution as a species. If your neighbor helps you shovel your driveway after a major snowstorm, you’re much more willing to help him out in the future. Reciprocity is scaled to a massive level on Facebook.

You can also be helpful by joining relevant Facebook groups and keeping an eye out for questions you can answer.

Listen to your fans

One of the biggest reasons why people use social media in the first place is to be heard. And the brands that do really well listen to their Facebook Page connections.

One example is ShortStack. When customers post technical questions, they always get a quick and helpful answer. Make sure that the moderation settings on your Facebook Page are configured so that Page connections can post updates on your Page. Also make sure that you can be notified quickly when someone comments on your timeline.

Your Facebook Page is essentially a platform where you can have conversations with your customers and prospects. You can ask them for feedback on products and services, which enables you to give them more of what they really want.

And even if you can’t give them what they want, you can at least show them you care by replying. The fact that they’ve been heard leaves them with a positive feeling about your business, even if you don’t have exactly what they want.

Consistently participate

One of the biggest reasons why you’re using Facebook for your business is to better connect with your customers and prospects. You want to make them aware of your business, get them interested in buying from you, and motivate them to take action. Every single step that they take along this path requires trust. Nothing obliterates trust more than being inconsistent.

After you begin to use your Facebook Page as a platform for conversation, fans will expect a certain consistency. And if you’re not consistent, you’ll hurt your chances for success on Facebook. For example, if during the first month on Facebook you post three times daily and quickly respond to questions, but then disappear in the following months, fans begin to question your ability to provide good products and services.

Appreciate and recognize your fans

If you want to stand apart from the crowd on Facebook, make a concerted effort to recognize and appreciate your Facebook fans. Being recognized and appreciated is a basic desire that all people share, immediately making them feel valued and inspired to appreciate others in return. The positive feeling that starts with you causes them to more likely share your business with their friends, and even give you money!

One way you can express appreciation is to state it simply: “We have the best Facebook fans on the planet!” (Notice how many comments you get after that update.)

Measure and monitor

Chances are that you’re a business owner. And if you’ve been in business long enough, you know the value of measuring return on investment (ROI). What you’re measuring on Facebook is the response from your efforts. What topics get people excited? Which fan acquisition strategies are working best? When fans click to your website, how many of them end up as customers?

If you can’t answer these questions, you’ll never know whether you’re using Facebook effectively. In today’s economy, you can’t afford to wing it. Think about measuring your Facebook efforts as a compass that tells you how far away you are from your destination, when you have arrived, and how to change direction, if needed.

Be fearless and creative

Right now, millions of businesses are competing for attention on Facebook. Many of them are pleading for the attention of your current Facebook fans. They’re using video, photos, conversation strategies, and highly interactive custom tabs to achieve this goal. The good news is that you can be just as innovative and have the same or even better capability to attract and retain.

To stay creative, keep reading books, attend webinars on Facebook marketing, and watch what other brands are doing. Still, all this knowledge won’t mean a thing if you don’t take action. View everything that you do on Facebook as a draft — a never-ending beta. That way, you get both a real education about what actually works on Facebook, and more business in the process.