Facebook is one of the most widely used social media channels in the world. Since its inception, Facebook has branded itself as the place to connect socially with friends and fans across the globe. And, for the last few years, business owners, managers and their staff members have worked to understand and take advantage of all that Facebook has to offer.
There are many benefits, including the ability to create online brand awareness and establish interactive relationships with customers and fellow industry professionals. But, some question its return on investment (ROI). For full impact, Facebook requires time, manpower and consistency, all of which can greatly impact allotted budgets for online and traditional marketing.
With many grower and garden center businesses now having Facebook accounts, the next step in the social networking equation is to start evaluating how ROI is defined when applied to social media. ROI is not necessarily based on direct or immediate financial gain. It is built around the idea of establishing online relationships with customers. By interacting with fans on Facebook over time, the result can include developing consumer loyalty, which in turn, can equate to sales.
To help businesses develop successful Facebook pages and to ensure maximum ROI, here are five tips to keep in mind.
1) Focus On Photos
Facebook allows users to post content in a variety of ways, including photos and albums, videos, links, notes, status updates and questions. The key is content that will make an impression on your company’s target audience and encourage interaction. A recent study by Social Media Today, an online portal that covers the topic at large, says photos and albums generate the most interaction.
By nature, we are visual beings, and photos have the ability to capture the attention of those with whom we desire face time. You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Posting images of new plants or other products and services enables fans to pictorially learn about your business. In addition, photos of company gatherings and events humanize a brand, which helps build trust among Facebook fans and customers.
2) Create Meaningful Content
As technology becomes more advanced, many are monitoring Facebook accounts on tablets or smartphones. Users want to view quick posts that are easy to scroll through and respond to. These short posts, however, still need to be backed by meaningful, industry-related content. Most social media experts agree the majority of users prefer short posts as opposed to long status updates and notes. Unassuming status updates with engaging hooks or angles can produce more engagement amongst Facebook fans.
Try Facebook giveaways or sweepstakes. When done creatively and according to Facebook standards, they can be a surefire way to generate activity. Always ask yourself if a post provides real value to your fans. Define the value briefly and clearly prior to posting. When sharing photos, be certain to include interesting captions; this way the meaning or story behind the photos will not be lost.
3) Be Social
The purpose of Facebook is to be social, and it is not a one-way street. Interacting with people who visit and interface with your page is essential. Facebook is intended to create online dialog with two or more fans. If someone likes a post or shares a link, be sure to thank them or leave a comment.
Think of your Facebook page as a conversation with a customer. If the customer leaves a complaint or concern, do not delete it. Address it head-on and use the opportunity to show your company is accountable and available to customers.
The most important rule for maintaining a Facebook business page is to keep it active. Being consistently involved in social media is a trait admired in many companies, so updating Facebook often is truly important. If budget, time or patience will not allow for this, consider assigning it to a staff member who enjoys social networking or hire an industry-savvy consultant or firm to do so. Schedule the content and allocate staff to disseminate it so that your Facebook-bound brand message stays consistent even in the busy season.
4) Keep Informed
Facebook is working every day to stay on top of the ever-changing social media world. This means there are new formats, tools and setting updates frequently. A great example is the most recent Facebook Timeline. Many companies are still researching the advantages of this new layout and how it will best benefit interaction with fans.
Websites such as Social Media Examiner and Mashable are popular sources for businesses to find news, information and changes pertaining to all types of social media. These sites have abundant resources and articles that are updated multiple times daily. From a company looking to start a new Facebook page to one that needs assistance with the most recent additions to Facebook, these are the go-to websites. Stay abreast of Facebook updates easily by registering for these sources’ eNewsletters.
5) Understand Your Analytics
Monitoring analytics can help businesses determine which posts and content hold the most interest for fans. The new Timeline design includes insights that are easier to use than ever. Facebook’s Insights page allows businesses to keep track of which posts are generating interaction among fans and friends, including likes, shares and comments. You should check your Insights page regularly to examine fan demographics such as age, gender and location. You can also see the posts from your Timeline that your fans are sharing or reposting on their own Timelines, as well as which posts are securing the highest number of comments. Then use this information to target applicable audiences by posting similar content.
When viewing the Insights, do not to get caught up in the number of page likes alone, since this number does not necessarily indicate the amount of Facebook users who are actually visiting a page. Rather, view the page as a whole, including the amount of likes, views, posts seen by friends of friends and other factors.
In addition to Facebook’s Insights page, other third-party sites for tracking analytics include HubSpot, Simply Measured and Radian 6/Sales Force.
With more than one billion users, Facebook has become a prominent method to market brands and products. If you want your operation to stay competitive with others, now is the time to jump on the social bandwagon and embrace this worldwide phenomenon.