Facebook Marketing: You’re Doing It All Wrong

Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Social Media, Social Networking [ 0 Comments ]

Facebook Marketing for Small Businesses- You're Doing it All WrongI’ve been in digital marketing since 2008, four years after Facebook first launched. And despite the significant evolution of marketing – it feels like social media marketing has become a bit stagnant. Countless social media tools have come out since to help us make our efforts more efficient. But unfortunately most of these tools and solutions focus on the ‘internal’ management of social media profiles and communities. Sure, this streamlines the process, but this implies that most small businesses currently have communities large enough to require these robust tools.

This does not realistically represent the whole Facebook landscape when it comes to business pages, as many of them want to grow their audiences. There needs to be more focus on Facebook ‘outreach’ – the marketing efforts that help grow your following. Here are 3 ways you can grow your audience using outreach:

Spend more time on other pages, not yours

I used to be a member of the BNI Network, which was an organized referral network. I belonged to a local chapter of about 25-30 other professionals and we would all meet for lunch once a week. The purpose of the meeting was ultimately referrals. We all were given the opportunity to ‘stand on a soapbox’ and give a 60 second pitch, and then one business had the opportunity to be the featured presentation.

Related: Placing Picture Perfect Facebook Ads

Despite this format, the successful members that generated the most business didn’t rely on the soapbox – they worked the crowd, met with other members’ one on one, and asked about THEIR businesses. They didn’t promote themselves, they had conversations and connected. The motto at BNI is ‘Givers Gain’, which is the secret to networking and ultimately social networking. Spend more time on other Facebook pages, not yours. Share other content, like other posts, and help other social media managers achieve what you want yourself – more engagement. Don’t rely on your soapbox, work the crowd and make some friends. As you scratch their back, naturally they’ll be inclined to scratch yours back.

Don’t just publish other people’s content – become the publisher

With focus on quality content, frequency of posting, and community management – a social media manager doesn’t have a whole lot of time on their hands. Because of this deficiency of time, quality content can often suffer. Tight marketing budgets and marketing backlogs can also attribute to quality content not being available. But being the source of all the Facebook shares is what’s most important. Rally your marketing department to commit to becoming a ‘publisher’, to becoming the content authority in your space. Be the Facebook page that other pages go to for content. It will take hard work an effort, but it will be worth it. You need to become the news source and the content authority, like so many universities strive to become with their programs. There’s a reason why they encourage professors to publish – to pave the way within their subjects and become the content authorities.

The power of direct Facebook outreach

An extremely underused outreach activity is to reach out to Facebook pages directly. Remember that social media managers are only a button click away:

facebook like button

We all want promote ourselves in one way or another, so don’t be ashamed to ask for it. Often, you can find win-win situations where the content is exactly what the social media manager is looking for. In other cases, you just may need to say ‘please’. Here’s a case study of a luxury resort that had incredible success from direct Facebook outreach.

The Resort At Paws Up was trying to promote their Cowgirl Spring Roundup event and targeted several horse riding and equestrian related Facebook pages. But because the event was relevant to these pages, there was no reason why it needed to be a ‘hard sell’. One of the targeted communities was Cowboys & Indians – ‘The Premier Magazine of the West’. If you look at the numbers, 152,341 likes and 6% of the fans engaged – this was a highly engaged audience (relative to most pages) and the ultimate jackpot.

Related: Facebook is Noisy: 4 Strategies for Communicating with Your Fans

I reached out directly to share about the upcoming event, being entirely transparent about my intentions and being as personable as possible. After not receiving a response, I followed up the next day. This time, inquiring if they required a ‘promotion fee’ or any sort of media kit details. I did receive a response and they were more than happy to share the event, free of charge.

If you look at the engagement numbers below, this was an absolute home run, both from a direct promotion and content marketing standpoint. Overall, 10+ equestrian related pages shared about the event, making the campaign a great success.

Facebook engagement for small businesses

As you can see, start looking beyond your own Facebook page. I’m not saying to ignore your content calendar, as it’s extremely important to keep your own audience engaged, but remember that it’s only half the battle of growing your audience. Remember to get off of your soapbox (status updates) and focus on outreach when you really want to gain more exposure. Work the crowd and remember that ‘givers gain’.

Author Bio: George has been in digital marketing for over 6 years and is passionate about helping small businesses to grow. He loves fishing and following his favorite sport teams. He has a B.S. in Marketing and lives with his wife and daughter in Saratoga Springs, Utah.


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