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Is Facebook ineffective for Marketing?

decisions“Marketers Use Facebook Despite Believing It May Be Ineffective” was the headline in a recent Mashable article I came across – and it really worried me.

We live in a time in which self proclaimed “social media experts” are everywhere and marketing agencies and teams are spouting that it’s all about social. Unfortunately in many cases Social really isn’t suitable for a company, or there are better things that they could be dedicating resources to.

I regularly speak to people who talk about using Facebook as just posting up ads on their Facebook page and expecting it to drive sales. But the reality is, this is about the most minimalistic use of Facebook you can utilise. I spoke about using social media in a social manner in my article “Is your social, really social?“, but I want to expand upon that here.

What sort of KPIs are these companies using to classify Facebook as ‘Effective’?

Social Interaction

Social interaction on Facebook is really important, and a core part of why a brand is on there. But don’t let your Facebook page be the limit of your interaction. There is a whole world of very active communities on Facebook who take advantage of the ‘Groups’ feature. These in essence become mini forums for Facebook users to communicate through. Getting involved in these communities can be really advantagous, furthering brand involvement and awareness and is a form of proactive interaction, rather than waiting and hoping to attract and audience to your Facebook page (which is becoming less and less effective with every Facebook update at the moment). This then follows on to the next point:

Brand Management

Brand management is something that social media can both make and destroy your brand. But Facebook is an excellent channel when leveraged properly for keeping branding up to date, and with a clear message.

With constant updates, regular interaction between users and the Facebook page you can leverage you brand further and take advantage of the word of mouth spread by the viral nature of Facebook.

But lets be clear, as stated social media can also destroy your brand. Ensure that you are doing it appropriately for your audience and that the consumer sentiment isn’t going to tilt negatively and become a ragging session on your Facebook wall.

PR

Facebook is the perfect channel for PR. The public and often other businesses will check out Facebook pages regularly because they are choke full of fresh content. A Facebook page with a strong/large audience will have excellent initial cut through and reach within their target audience. There is nothing better than spreading word of new products to you already loyal and happy customers and fans!

Furthermore Facebook ads allow your reach to be further expanded, targeting users who are in the same interest areas, but who mightn’t have touched you brand page yet. With Facebook ads able to be setup on a performance basis, you can easily identify what’s working and getting the cut through you need. Even better this information can feedback into the overall messaging and communication that you may then release through more traditional methods later – allowing you to¬†optimise your messaging across traditional releases!

Customer Service and Post Sale Service

Facebook is an awesome place for customer service and post sale service – but don’t just limit yourself to your Facebook page. The internet is a place of many complaints. Generally if a consumer is happy with a product, they aren’t likely to take the time to tell of their high graces – but an unhappy customer… That’s a different story altogether.
Facebook pages are often a place that customers will vent about the disatisfaction with your products and services. This is fine – you can’t please everyone! But it’s important to manage these complaints. Direct them towards more private channels if appropriate and respond to them reasonably. You aren’t going to be able to make ever unhappy customer turn around, but if you can at least show that your company is open to helping and dealing with any issues that may arise, consumer sentiment will be greatly assisted.
But as stated DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF TO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE! Facebook is a massive playground with many different corners. Facebook groups is something that’s greatly expanded over the last few years, often taking the place of what was traditionally a forum. Get involved across these groups, converse, assist and follow up on any issues/complaints. From my personal experience, this additional personal touch has made massive shifts in overall consumer sentiment.

Sales

Finally selling through Facebook is a simple thing to do these days! It’s not hard to throw up a few promotions of a product (even at RRP) to gain interest for a product. But better yet, Facebook has the ability to install Facebook stores, creating a sales channel on your Facebook page itself.
For small brands especially this can often save the cost of pulling together a whole separate website, and for larger companies and brands, this can represent a small sales channel for sundry items such as merchandise or a key product line they wish to promote.

Facebooks is effective for marketing – if applied correctly!

So the takeout of all this should be, Facebook can be used effectively for companies Рotherwise why would brands still be investing millions into the platform!

BUT

The important thing to note is that Facebook isn’t for everybody. Some companies just won’t be a good match for Facebook and further to that, how you leverage Facebook for your marketing will vary between cases, a cookie cutter approach isn’t appropriate and will often lead to the ineffectiveness many companies are facing!

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