As I work with different clients on Facebook, I keep finding the best results come from those with a well-rounded view of the strategies and opportunities available. While there is a great deal of money to be made through social media, success in the Facebook Marketing Ecosystem is in the right combination of building fans, speaking to them, and referring them to your site. Simply focusing on one area may prove to have some value, but the best performance happens when all three work in harmony to create a positive feedback cycle. Whether you are using paid advertising or non-paid strategies, your focus needs to be on the big picture:
Actively working to build fans is vital to having a successful Facebook presence. Whether you use paid or non-paid strategies, you must be building fans if you want to maximize your return on the platform. Simply put, if you don’t build your fan base, you will have no fans to communicate with, no fans to spread your message and no fans to refer to your site. While all three areas of the Facebook Marketing Ecosystem influence each other, you can’t build anything without fans.
Non-Paid Examples: Domain Buttons
One of the easiest non-paid strategies to build fans is to put domain buttons on your website. Facebook currently supports different types of buttons including ‘Like’ buttons and ‘Send’ buttons as part of their social plugin offerings. These are integrated with Facebook’s API so that actions taken on your website appear on Facebook. These actions appear in different places, including the News Feed of friends of the user who took the action and they may also appear on the original user’s timeline.
Paid Examples: Fan Ads and Page Like Sponsored Stories
A paid option for building fans is Facebook’s Fan Ads. These ads are customizable and will direct a user to your Facebook page when clicked on. These ads also give the user the option to Like your Facebook page in the ad without leaving the page they are on. If a user Likes your Facebook page, this action then appears in the user’s friends’ news feeds. Facebook then gives you the paid option to make an ad out of the story that appears in the user’s friends’ news feeds with Page Like Sponsored Stories. This helps amplify the actions you are driving with your Fan Ads.
Fan Ads have proven to draw a sharp increase in fans when done correctly. Here is an example of a client’s new fans by day before, during, and after a fan ad campaign:
Speaking to your Fans
Speaking to your existing fans has a real impact on earning new fans and on your ability to refer them to your site. In this Facebook Marketing Ecosystem, all pieces impact one another. Here is just one example of the importance of posting to your Facebook wall.
Each pink dot represents a new post and it is plain to see that posting on Facebook has a huge impact on Weekly Total Reach (the amount of users who saw any content associated with your Facebook page). The plateaus in this example represent the life span of each individual post. This life span is different across clients and across verticals. In case you were wondering, this client did run paid e-commerce ads for a portion of this time-frame. In this case, the paid ads were simply building upon the level of reach created by the non-paid post activity.
Non-Paid Examples: Posting to your Wall
The best way to reach your fans is simply posting to your wall and the clients I have worked with find that a combination of post types creates the most engagement with fans. Some examples are interesting stories, questions, weird videos or pictures, and descriptions of sales and promotions.
Paid Examples: Page Post Ads and Page Post Like Ads
Facebook gives you the opportunity to draw more interaction to your posts with paid Page Post Ads and Page Post Like Ads. Page Post Ads can be targeted to any users you choose while Page Post Like Ads are automatically targeted to friends of users who have liked a post you made on your wall. Both types of ads are designed to amplify the engagement and reach of wall posts.
Now that you’re recruiting fans and speaking to them, it’s time to refer them to your site.
Referring your Fans
One of the most straightforward strategies for generating conversions from Facebook involves driving fans directly to your site. The goal is to have the Facebook fans that you've built up see that you are speaking to them and want to click through to your domain. One way to keep track of these Facebook referrals is to claim your domain in Facebook by entering your website into Facebook’s Insights Dashboard. Once you do, you will see information such as:
This specific example shows impressions of stories generated by those nifty domain buttons I mentioned earlier. The trick is to increase your story impressions on Facebook in order to increase traffic to your site. If you know your AOV per online sale and the conversion rate of traffic on your site, you should be able to estimate the value of this boost in visits using these helpful stats. Facebook offers a number of different opportunities for increasing referrals:
Non-Paid Examples: Page Posts
One non-paid way to drive traffic to your site is to include links to your site within your wall posts on Facebook. You can do this by featuring that new promotion that just started or the new product you just launched. This method may not have the scale of paid campaigns, but I have seen plenty of quality referral traffic created in this way. You can also drive Facebook users to your site using domain buttons on product pages, which will let the user’s friends know that they like specific products on your site.
Paid Examples: E-commerce Ads
One of the most direct ways to drive Facebook users to your website is to use ads that refer users to your site, which are generally called e-commerce ads. These are customizable ads that when clicked will take a user to a website that is outside of Facebook. In general, we have seen the most success with this type of ad when they are targeted to users who are already your fans. Not surprisingly, we have found that fans have a much lower bounce rate and stay on your site longer than non-fans. Ads we’ve worked with also tend to have a higher conversion rate when targeted to existing fans.
By now, you should be recruiting fans, speaking to them, and referring them back to your site. Each of these steps influences and bolsters the others: Speaking to fans helps you recruit new ones and advertise to them. Recruiting fans allows you to advertise to them in a targeted manner and gives you the opportunity to speak with them on an ongoing basis. Referring them to your site and giving them a positive experience will help you recruit more fans and then engage with them. This is the Facebook Marketing Ecosystem.
There are many ways to create a successful social marketing environment for your brand. These examples are just some of the offerings and combinations that are available to marketers on Facebook, and Facebook is always launching new and different tools. These tools are also incredibly intertwined and have a bold influence on one another. Although you don’t need to take advantage of every available tool, the most important takeaway is that you should shift your focus to a multifaceted marketing approach. In order to get the most out of social media, you must broaden your scope from focusing on one-click conversions to the entire Facebook Marketing Ecosystem.