Facebook logoWhether you’re using Facebook for personal pleasure or to build greater awareness of your business, seeing those Likes rack up next to your latest post feels good, doesn’t it? It means people think you’re funny, incisive, totally in tune with what they’re feeling – in short, a Facebook Like makes us feel good about ourselves.

But is it enough when marketing your business on Facebook?

I’ve recently started working with an ecommerce business. My client has a Facebook business page and is very active in posting new information and gets lots of Likes as a result. The problem is that those Likes just aren’t translating into sales, what’s happening on Facebook is failing to drive traffic to my client’s website or generate increased revenue.

Sadly, this is an experience shared by many small businesses – and, for that matter, much larger brands too. Getting Likes just aren’t enough to positively impact on business growth and actual sales – it’s really only the start of the Facebook journey.

Research has shown that a mere 1% of fans of brands’ Facebook pages actually engage with those brands. Think about the effort required to Like something on Facebook – you read a post on your news feed, one click of the mouse and you’ve added a Like. It’s minimal, it’s momentary, it’s relatively non-committal – and this does not constitute positive engagement. Even worse, even fewer of that 1% will bother to create any content themselves, or bother to revisit specific brands’ business pages.

So why bother having a Facebook business page?

Well, your foray into social media doesn’t have to be consigned to the back of your virtual drawer of ideas that didn’t work. But it does require a little strategic thinking.

Any time I’m asked by a client to utilise Facebook as part of their marketing strategy, the first question I always ask is “what do you need to achieve?”. Once I know that, we can then work together to find effective ways in which that need can be translated into useful content and effective tactics to engage with my client’s Facebook ‘fans’.

Facebook content that converts…

We all know that funny pictures, videos and thoughtful or provocative quotes have universal appeal on Facebook and will get people clicking the Like button, and they can all be used to some degree. But as a means of generating sales, this type of content is relatively ineffective. It can be great for awareness and brand building but you need to translate it into sales and often using Facebook to capture an email address through a competition or promotion and then following up with an email campaign can be more effective to move them up your sales pipeline or funnel.

Similarly, don’t just push out your sales messages all the time; ask a question of your Facebook fans, invite them to share their opinions, vote on something and start to encourage a dialogue to strengthen the relationship!

Adding value is just as important on social media as anywhere else. Always think about the benefit to your fans when you write a post. Be helpful, offer good advice and tips. Then, when you are promoting a new product or service, they will be more likely to buy from you.

What’s your experience of making Facebook work for your business – do you have any useful tips to share?