You can’t do business online without hearing about the importance of a strong social media marketing strategy. Whether you’re selling a dating DVD, designer clothing or specialty foods, you’re supposedly doomed without a presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. But does social media marketing really help?
The answer is yes … but not directly. You won’t see a significant click-through rate (CTR) on Facebook ads. Just like other online targeted ads, the CTR is very low. This doesn’t mean, however, that Facebook ads don’t have their effect.
Facebook ads cost relatively little, and their presence on the user’s Facebook page reinforces your brand recognition. The user may not click on the ad, but may still buy products from you on-site or through your website because the ad reminds them you’re out there.
Facebook pages are touted as an excellent way to interact with customers, build brand loyalty and connect with your target audience. All of this is true, but is your Facebook page encouraging sales?
A study by Internet research company comScore suggests that yes, a regularly updated Facebook page does indeed increase sales.
The study focused on Starbucks and Target customers. People who were fans of brands made purchases more often. Fans of Starbuck’s page, for instance, were 38 percent more likely to make a purchase over a four-week period. Over the same time period Target fans were 21 percent more likely to make purchases.
The study sends a positive message to businesses, although it’s important to remember Facebook was one of the organizations that commissioned the study, and study results were based on a panel of Internet users. In other words, study results could favor a positive outcome.
Even so, an active Facebook presence can hardly hurt a marketing strategy and provides long-term value. No, you’re not likely to see an explosion of sales originating directly from your Facebook page. Fans, however, are 68 percent more likely to recommend your product to others than non-fans.
A Facebook page’s success, of course, relies on frequent updates, so you’re getting your brand name mixed into a fan’s updates, along with posts from family and friends. If you’re not updating regularly, you drop off your fan’s online radar.
You slowly build brand loyalty with every update and, perhaps more importantly, establish a personal connection with your fans: 81 percent of Facebook fans report feeling “connected” to brands, compared to only 39 percent of non-fans.
Offering exclusive deals to Facebook fans also helps maintain that connection. If you’re planning a dating workshop to promote your dating DVD, give Facebook fans first-shot at reserving tickets. Offer coupons or discounts only available to fans. As a long-term strategy, Facebook pages and targeted ads work very well.
This is a guest post by blogger Michael Deaven who enjoys blogging on how your business can take advantage of Facebook marketing, whether you’re selling a dating DVD or street sweeper.