“Because,” in the immortal words of notorious bank robber Willie Sutton, “that’s where the money is.” Or at least where the potential money is because it’s where the people are. Even people who have no affinity for Facebook are being affected by Facebook. Their friends, relatives and colleagues are passing them information from it on a regular basis, whether they’re aware of it or not. People make purchasing decisions based on this information.
Oddly enough, even this negatively worded article, Facebook Impressions Don’t Influence Most Users to Purchase, indicates that at least twenty percent of Facebook users say that they have made a purchasing decision based on something they saw on Facebook. Considering that it’s very cheap and easy to target one million users with Facebook advertising, that means that there’s a potential buying pool within them of 200,000. If you’re running a small business in which a few new customers a month can make a measurable difference, than this should appear to be a no-brainer.
For large businesses that are making comparisons to traditional media such as radio and television the justification may be more difficult. Some very large companies have run some legendarily bad Facebook campaigns in the last few years, wasting immense amounts of money while expecting the same gains they received from other media, which in turn caused many to sour on the idea of social media in general. Reference General Motors pulling all of their Facebook advertising days before Facebook’s IPO (General Motors Pulls $10 Million Campaign From Facebook Because Its Ads Don’t Work). Many follow-up articles make cogent arguments against GM’s decision.
However, the first article I cited above has a point. Facebook ads don’t work well by themselves. To convert a Facebook fan to a customer, in my view, requires some finesse that might include the use of other social media channels such as blogs and email campaigns to pull your fans through your marketing pipeline. In marketing terms, I believe that you should classify a Facebook fan as a “suspect” – someone who might be interested in your good or service. They are not yet a bona fide lead. They first have to be converted to a lead, and then a prospect, before they can become a customer. For example, if a Facebook fan signs up for your email list after “liking” your page, I would call them a lead. If through your email campaign you get them to follow your blog, I’d call them a prospect. Once they’re a prospect, that’s when I’d entice them with an event or offer to convert them to a customer.
For small businesses, Facebook can be a bit like panning for gold, but I promise you the gold is there and it’s not hard to find. I’ll be proving this with some case studies in the coming weeks including a campaign I recently ran for my client, John Howard Swain.
If you’d like to discuss whether a social media campaign could be right for you, please call or click today!