September 11, 2017

Sure, Facebook might not be the coolest social platform on the block any more. It may no longer be “the” place to be, where the young crowd goes to vent their angst, or the place where folks go to share pictures of kittens, spray tan, rainbows, and KFC (coincidentally, these also happen to be Trump’s nuclear launch codes, but let’s stick to business!). Sharing shocking stats is now considered an over-practiced practice, but to get an idea of where FB’s at, users between the ages 13 to 24 make up for only around 23% of visitors on the social media platform. But, y’know what? Facebook is bigger and better than ever!

Contrary to what the ‘pundits’ said about the “eventual demise of Facebook”, the numbers of its users has grown tremendously, and there are no signs of these numbers slowing down any time soon. This is great news for marketers and even more so for startups who are looking to break into new markets. In fact, Facebook is the best place to be for a business. So, what gives? Why does Facebook STILL matter?

Two words “brand awareness.”

Despite the sharp change in Facebook’s demographic from teens and tweens to older folk, the social platform somehow remains to be a powerful tool to create brand awareness for not only big-name brands like Nike or Adidas, but new school companies as well.

The question is, how much jiggering is required, and just how much money do you need to see results after using Facebook?

Don’t Just Jump the Gun

I get it!

Marketing on Facebook is hard work. But, that has less to do with your audience and more to do with your mindset. Answer this question, “what is on your mind when you log on to Facebook?”

Normally, all folks want to do on Facebook is check out friends’ status updates, comment on shared photos, and maybe share information or something they think is cool with their friends. Almost nobody thinks of buying a new tripped out ride or the latest gadgets when they’re on Facebook. People log on to their Facebook account to hang out and kill time, not browse products and spend money. Facebook is more about socializing and less about buying, and that’s a fact. With such a low buying intent found on Facebook, the platform seems to be a silly choice when trying to reach out to customers with the sole purpose of enticing them to make a purchase, right?

There are many brands out there who would nod in the affirmative to that, but the real problem here is not with Facebook, but rather with your approach while using Facebook as a tool for creating brand awareness. Figured out what has been the problem here so far? Well, for starters, you’re trying to sell your product or service to someone who isn’t really interested in buying (at least, not at the moment!). This is like cold calling someone and expecting them to give away their social security number after you’ve exchanged “hellos”. Well, that could happen, it’s possible, but most of the time people know better.

Before we go any further, let’s take a refresher course on the buying cycle shall we.

These five phases make up the buying cycle. The bubble sitting right on top is the starting point of your engagement with your audience. Needless to say, anybody can be hovering above the “opportunity recognition” phase, which is why it is considered as a cold lead at best. While people are going through that phase you can’t really expect them to whip out their credit cards and start buying away. But, hold on a minute. All is not lost. There’s still a way to entice those who are thinking to buy even though they have not decided to make a purchase yet.

How? How? You ask.

The key to coaxing your audience into making a purchase using Facebook is by creating a clever sales funnel. As the name implies, this funnel will enable you to turn strangers into potential customers, and potential customers into that guy staring at your site with a clenched credit card. But, that’s only possible once you’ve cottoned down to the fact that most people using Facebook will not be in a “must buy now” mindset.

Your Facebook Sales Funnel

Facebook experienced a strong quarter in Q4 2016, earning a whopping $8.81 billion in revenue. Remember, this mind-numbing figure was pulled off with just 1.86 billion monthly users. Remember at the start of this blog when we said that the majority of Facebookers were over 24 years of age. Keeping that in mind, $8.81 billion isn’t so bad now, is it?

Yeah, I hear you.

But, your Facebook ads campaign failed.

Of course, it did. Many companies nurture a mindset that ultimately leads them towards failure. And that mindset is; expecting Facebook ads to convert like AdWords. As mentioned earlier, folks visit Facebook to hang out. These people cannot be compared to those searching on Google, who actually plan on buying a product or service, or at least finding information about it.

Unlike Google’s AdWords, Facebook is entirely a different beast, which means you need to get your visitors from one phase of the buying cycle to the next, until they are eventually in the mindset to make a purchase. Things suddenly got a lot harder. But, it’s actually simple if you’re smart in your approach.

One of the first things Facebook asks you when creating a Facebook ad campaign has got to do with your objective, as in awareness, consideration, or conversion, which looks something like this here.

What’s killing your results?

Businesses actively involved in Facebook ad campaigns usually run into the following problems:

  • Have poor ads with unclear information
  • Target generic audience
  • Use incorrect ad placement
  • Measuring wrong metrics

The best way to maneuver around this roadblock is to recognize that your Facebook campaign is not going to be enough to get more customers through the door. But, it’s great for:

  • Generating awareness of your brand
  • Developing interest in customers in the sales cycle
  • Acting as an aid in product or service evaluation and
  • Driving action in the form or reviews and recommendations

Capture an Audience’s Attention

Facebook ads enable businesses to pique an audience’s attention and get them to your website by using content-based offers. For example:

That’s right. The trick is to grab people’s attention with in-your-face content, without being pushy. Normally, useful, informative and educational content does the trick, or some Ace Ventura always works. Keeping the buying cycle in mind, you will want to use online analytics tools to zero in on a specific age, gender, or location first and then make your way to the common interests that your audience shares. Remember at this stage, we are only building an audience.

Buying Fans vs. Creating Engagement

It’s not all about reaching out to fans, but it is all about creating engagement. While building a decent fan base on your Facebook business page is all fine and dandy, engaging those fans is what really matters. The key is to create great quality content, whether its sharing images and videos or plain links of stuff you think is cool. Facebook Live is like basically having your own private TV station that only broadcasts content relating to your brand, and as a result, enhances brand awareness. At the end of the day, only meaningful content will engage your audience and keep them coming back for more, while still attracting new business opportunities.

Producing Leads

This part is easy, regardless of how many campaigns you’re running simultaneously, the key to creating more leads is by offering your audience something of value in exchange of their information. The reward doesn’t have to be a gold watch or tickets to the next New York Giants game.

Find out what your target demographic is struggling with or what causes them the most pain. Then give them something that deals with that issue, and preferably, stops it. This can be in the form of a great article or an e-book, or even a webinar for the more complex products. Here, you are going to have to pay close attention to engagement levels and determine which content is delivering in the form of purchases or visits to your website. Stick with the ones that are and tweak the ones that aren’t working out for you too well.

There are two tools that Facebook provides to help you along the way. These tools are Facebook Page Engagement and Website Traffic, where the former creates a log of everyone who has liked your Facebook page, or interacted with individual posts or shared any content from your site or have clicked through the CTA, and the latter records the number of visitors of a site so that they can be automatically targeted. While the former is ideal for low volume sites, the latter is great for high volume sites.

Transforming Leads into Customers

You’ve come a long way, good job. Now, it’s time to reap what you have sown. It’s time to bring your audience home. To do this, simply create an audience of past opt-ins with data sync or upload a .CSV file and sync it to MailChimp. Businesses can even use custom events to follow up on those members of your audience who added something to the cart, but left before clicking “purchase.” Here’s where you’ll have to aim for the jugular and tell your audience why they NEED your product.

  • Have poor ads with unclear information
  • Target generic audience
  • Use incorrect ad placement
  • Measuring wrong metrics

The best way to maneuver around this roadblock is to recognize that your Facebook campaign is not going to be enough to get more customers through the door. But, it’s great for:

  • Generating awareness of your brand
  • Developing interest in customers in the sales cycle
  • Acting as an aid in product or service evaluation and
  • Driving action in the form or reviews and recommendations

Capture an Audience’s Attention

Facebook ads enable businesses to pique an audience’s attention and get them to your website by using content-based offers. For example:

That’s right. The trick is to grab people’s attention with in-your-face content, without being pushy. Normally, useful, informative and educational content does the trick, or some Ace Ventura always works. Keeping the buying cycle in mind, you will want to use online analytics tools to zero in on a specific age, gender, or location first and then make your way to the common interests that your audience shares. Remember at this stage, we are only building an audience.

Buying Fans vs. Creating Engagement

Once everything’s going according to plan, your targeting is on point, and your Facebook campaigns are doing well, all you have to do is fire up a direct ad to send people a product or service you already know they want to buy. While this is in no way easy and takes time, but regardless of the type of campaign, it will still need to be periodically tested and improved before you are able to achieve any real success. So, brace yourself, and get started.

Ending Note

In the end, the goal of any business worth its salt is to provide the best stuff they possibly gain, whether that’s a product or a service. When it comes to creating brand awareness on Facebook, it’s all about providing more valuable content to your fans, and since that works, you should be doing it even more. And one more thing, it’s easy to screw-up while using Facebook, so if at first you fail, try – try again.

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