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Social Marketing: Why Facebook Rocks!

Introduction

Facebook is a social network that we all undoubtedly have heard of by now. Pretty much everyone you know already has an account, and you are likely flooded with status updates, images, etc. from your friends and family. One of the biggest overlooked parts of the site, though, is its massive impact on sales. Facebook opens up a major avenue for getting more sales and visitors to your websites. Through this article we are going to be looking at this and why it is so important, as well as how it can benefit your business.

The Scenario

The best way to get this started is to create a scenario. So read along with this while you put yourself in to this situation and immerse yourself in to it.

You are preparing to buy a new bicycle. You have never bought one before, and all you really know about them is that they have two wheels and that you can ride them. You have seen them in the stores and have ridden on one before, but that is as far as your knowledge stretches. Even so, you feel that it is now time for you to get one, but you want one that matches you; you want something that looks great and is comfortable. You have a few different choices at this point:

  • You can head to the store, check out a few by giving them a short ride and then pick the one you like the best
  • You can head to the store and ask an employee for assistance in the hopes that they will know more than you do
  • You can ask your friends or relatives for their advice; after all, someone has to know a bit about them from experience, right?

First scenario. So you have gone to the store to give the bicycles a try. You have taken them for a short ride around the store (maybe you felt ridiculous doing that, but you really wanted to be sure you were comfortable with the one you chose). You grab the one you liked the most and you get it home. You then go for a longer ride, only to find that while it was great for the short ride, when you take it for a real ride your experience is not so great. It is stiff and tough to keep peddling. Ouch, you have made the wrong bicycle choice!

Second scenario. So you have gone to the store. While there, you looked for someone who works in the bicycle area and asked them for assistance. They were very nice and open to helping you make a decision. They let you run the show and they point you to the bicycle they feel would fit you the best. You give it a go and everything is great! Now you purchase it and take it home. After a short ride, you find that it is not all it was cracked up to be. The sales person that was helping you clearly just wanted to get you on to an expensive bicycle for the bigger commission check. In all actuality, they tricked you in to buying a different bicycle than you needed.

Third scenario. You start calling around to ask your friends and family members for advice. You get a hold of a couple people and get their input, ask questions, etc. You end up finding that they both love the same bicycle, so you decide maybe it is the one for you. You head down to the store, ignore the store employees and go straight to the one you want. You buy it and take it home. As you give it a ride, you sit back in enjoyment that you made the proper decision. You then invite those that helped you to go on a ride with you.

Out of all of these choices, the third one is the best. The first one is flawed because without the knowledge, you can not make informed decisions on things like this. The second is flawed because there are far too many employees that will either lie to get you to go away or will do it for commission checks. The third scenario, however, works because if it is good enough for your friends and family, and they have been using it, then it should be good enough for you. After all, they get no benefit in lying to you, and, if anything, would go through more problems if they did.

All of this shows the social impact that we face every day. Whether or not you realize it, we make decisions all the time based on what others have recommended. Whether it is a place to eat, a movie to watch, a new type of food to try out, or anything else, there is almost always at least a little social pressure that helps guide us in the way we make our decisions. I like to call this as “social confirmation,” as it is essentially the people we trust giving us confirmation that we are on the right path.

How Does Facebook Help?

At this point you are probably wondering where Facebook comes in to all of this. What I want you to do is think about that for a minute, and you can likely start to fit the pieces of the puzzle together.

Facebook is pretty much the central hub for socialization most people go through today. Rather than calling each other or visiting one another in person, people update Facebook with their important things: parties, wedding information, get togethers and many other things are now hosted through Facebook because it is a simple method to get the word out there to everyone you know and also get their input. What you may not realize, however, is that this often stretches even further, to things like purchases and reviews.

Let us say, for example, that someone has posted their bike question on Facebook. They let everyone know instantly that they are looking for a bicycle and need some advice on what to look for or even what to purchase. Within minutes, they can have many different replies to give some help. Some replies may be from friends, some from family and some may even be from strangers (people that are linked to friends or family but are not known personally). What this did is open the doors for even more knowledge than the person can possibly hold, but it also does a couple of other things:

  • It provides even more enhanced social acceptance when it comes to a buying choice
  • It provides more detailed knowledge since more people can get involved and can even start conversing with one another about the topic. Through reading that, a much better understanding can be obtained

In other words, in a very real sense Facebook is an excellent place to go for advice. Just as you would usually trust your friends and their opinions in real life, Facebook offers up that same opportunity online (and usually still involves your real friends). While we did have similar hubs in the past, such as chat rooms, Facebook opens up the doors for building actual relationships with one another. Whereas a random chat room would give opinions based on what random people think, here you are getting input from those you trust, and giving advice to those you trust. It makes the process much more efficient and meaningful.

So How Do We Utilize Facebook?

A lot of Facebook's benefits are given to you automatically. If you can find someone that likes your product or business, and they click the like button or make comments about it, their friends will be able to see that stuff as well. What that essentially does is give them (while they may not fully understand it is happening) the chance to make a social call while telling all of their friends, “hey, I like this thing, you should come check it out!” As this goes from one person to another, it then has the chance of going viral. Virility is when one person shares it and that person shares it, then those people share it, and it goes on and on, increasing the number of people that hear about or see the product. When it comes to social marketing, this is what you really want to strive for. It not only drags in more traffic to see what is going on, but the sheer fact that it has gone viral works towards showing others that it has the community's backing and is something well worth looking in to.

Even if you do not realize that this is occurring, it is. When we get social verification that something is good or is at least a good choice, it is embedded in to our minds and makes us sway towards it. On the same token, the opposite also occurs (when we are socially told that something is bad and that we should try to stay away from it). What makes this a little interesting, however, is that when it comes to our social networks, we really only see the positive. You will not see a “fan page” for something that you want to stay away from. Instead, they are all focused on the positive parts of businesses, and they are usually run by the businesses themselves. As a result, the owners are able to take the moderation in to their own hands, ensuring that all conversation is both on topic and is favorable (which in itself can be pretty controversial, but it happens all the time). So when you or other people are visiting the pages, what you see is a rush of positive emotions towards the product or business, which makes you much more likely to choose to go with them in the future. In other words, just by how the networking works on its own, you are already getting a ton of benefits for your business (assuming, of course, you are getting your page out to the public so others can check it out – and that you keep them engaged with your page so that they can drag in the attention of their friends).

Views Are Not As Important As Interactions

Facebook fan pages are just like real businesses out along the street. People can see them all day long, but what you need in order for the views to matter is some type of interaction. In the example of stores, you want people to come and browse around, and (hopefully) make a purchase. After that, you are hoping that you can lock in their repeat business, and that word of mouth will help push things even further. Facebook fan pages are really the same way; you do not want people to just look at it and move on with their lives. Instead, you want them to actually interact with it. And a big part of this requires that you also interact with your visitors. After all, a store with no employees still would not get very far even if they did have interested shoppers.

So how do you get people to interact with your page, rather than just look at it? There are a few methods I have seen used so far, of which each of them is useful with some people and not others, and there are probably thousands of new things that could also be implemented that would make things even more efficient. The ones I have seen that worked the best so far, though, are:

  • Setting up a page that people have to “like” before they can view a free giveaway page. This ensures that each person that signs up has already gotten the word of your brand or company out to everyone they know, prior to you having to give anything up. On the other hand, this can be seen as an annoyance; after all, you are forcing people to claim they “like” you when they may not even know you yet
  • Hosting giveaways. These are awesome because they help keep people involved. If you are doing giveaways and contests on a somewhat regular basis, or even somewhat sporadic, people will follow the page to keep up with the updates. After all, if they do not do this they will never know when the next giveaway is!
  • Sharing great information. This one should be pretty obvious but it is so often forgotten about. Facebook fan pages are a lot like websites; “content is king.” While this will not help in the search engine rankings, it helps with something more important: you are directly pulling in more visitors that are interested in what you have to say. This also leads to the enhanced trust that comes over time, because if your readers are liking your articles and they agree with them, when you come out with something they are unsure about they will be much more likely to side with you

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Social-Media


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