Hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. Below this review is a photo of our little banner at the front porch of the Chamber building in Culpeper which houses my office, and above is one of my favorite images of fireworks taken from that front porch Saturday night!
On Wednesday, June 24th, speaker Ray Sidney-Smith, Digital Business Strategist and President of W3 Consulting, presented a guide for Small Business owners on how to market successfully on Facebook in collaboration with the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, the Culpeper Renaissance, Inc., the Culpeper County Department of Economic Development, Germanna Community College: Center for Workforce & Community Education, and the Small Business Development Center at Culpeper.
In the context of social marketing for small business, I found it insightful to attend this two hour seminar devoted entirely to the topic of Facebook marketing. The room was full, with about fifty attendees who engaged the speaker with relevant questions which confirmed a growing suspicion for me that social marketing is an interest area in the Culpeper business community.
Mr. Sidney-Smith defines Facebook as a social networking service, a platform that allows a business owner to engage with past, current and potential clients using simple yet effective marketing strategies and integrated advanced opportunities within the platform.
When asked why the word “free” wasn’t in the definition, our speaker quickly clarified at one point, success for small business marketing on Facebook could have been achieved using only the resource of time. But, Facebook, now publicly traded, responsible to shareholders to produce dividends, decided rather than implementing cost to user, it charges businesses…. success in Facebook marketing for small business now requires both time and money.
For me the most valuable insight from this seminar involved drilling down to the purpose of Facebook for small business. The strength of this platform is community building. As a business, to harness the benefits of this platform requires you to develop a strategy to engage and build community to drive the users to your business website.
The website is where sales happen. The website is where as business owner you want to develop and house the relevant and interesting content, like blogs, videos, etc which you then share to Facebook. The website is where you can capture an email to further a relationship with a potential client. The website should be search optimized to direct web search traffic towards the website.
Users do not go on Facebook in the mood to buy. He used a term called ROBO buyers to describe the Facebook user — someone who “researches online and buys offline”. Facebook users are there with the intent to see what’s going on, check their family and friends, their interests.
However these interests can direct them to a website which can lead to a sale. And in that line, the Facebook marketing strategy should also drive traffic towards the website.
Our speaker did spend some time delineating whether Page, Profile or Group was the appropriate avenue for small businesses, and bottom line, it is the Page.
We discussed the question, what is a Page “Like” worth? It was fascinating – when a Facebook user “Likes” a Page, they become a subscriber or follower of the business. While the “Likes” on a post, an individual piece of content, has value in gauging the quality of that content, the “Likes” on a Page is a gateway to a relationship with a user. Studies he referenced indicated that each Page “Like” equate to business of 21 cents to over $150 each, but averaging in between.
Target quantity of “Likes” should not be too complicated. The strategy our speaker suggests is to seek enough “Likes” to see sales change.
One of the most useful insights of the seminar was the issue of how, on your website, to connect your Facebook page. Many include a Facebook icon, which directs folks away from your website and onto your Facebook Page. Our speaker calls this a mistake. When you drive traffic away from your website, you are not benefiting your business. Instead, use Facebook social plugins on your site — a place on your site to click to Like, or to Share, or take it one step further by including an activity stream of your Facebook on your website, where viewers can engage Facebook content while remaining on your website. Keeping viewers on your website brings them closer to sale.
The discussion progressed into further delineating what quality content is that you should be creating, and formats of posts, as well as great information on the ways to promote your posts on Facebook, or pay to play advertising.
Thanks again to our speaker Ray Sidney-Smith as well as the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, the Culpeper Renaissance, Inc., the Culpeper County Department of Economic Development, Germanna Community College: Center for Workforce & Community Education, and the Small Business Development Center at Culpeper.