Effective Use of Social Media for eCommerce: Facebook Edition

by Sean Ogino |

Effective Use of Social Media for eCommerce: Facebook Edition

By now it’s pretty obvious Social Media is a vital component of any retailer’s or brand’s marketing efforts and with Social Media management tools like Hootsuite, executing across multiple networks has become easier than ever. However, it’s easy to fall into a trap of treating all platforms the same, positing similar if not duplicate content across Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram and Pinterest and expecting similar return on investment out of all. And ultimately missing out on the varying opportunities for engagement each platform offers.

We’ve created a series of educational guides to help identify the key differences among all popular Social Media networks and specific tips for managing each; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

In this article, we share 10 tips for retailers to get the best return on investment in their Facebook presence.

Devote Only About 1 in 5 Posts to Selling

The surest way to get Facebook fans to stop following your brand is to constantly bombard them with sales pitches. Four out of five of your Facebook posts should be informative and engaging. Keep fans engaged through running posts like riddles, posing open-ended questions, and interacting with those who post on your page and they’ll be much more welcoming to the occasional “selling” post.

Attract New Customers With “Like” Incentives

One way to build your numbers of Facebook fans is by offering first-time incentives like a discount when someone new likes your page. These Likes show up on the pages of friends of new followers, extending your reach and piquing the interest of even more possible customers.

Incorporate Facebook Into Your Customer Service Strategy

While Facebook can’t replace your customer service program, it can supplement it. The transparency you display when interacting with a customer who mentions a problem shows all your fans that you’re committed to customer satisfaction. New followers will be more comfortable doing business with you when they see on your Facebook page that you take customer service seriously.

Post Regularly, Not All at Once

Optimum posting frequency varies, but if you don’t know where to begin, start with twice a day, seven days per week. You can ratchet it up or down a bit and see if the effects are positive or negative. Generally speaking, posting once a week or less snuffs out engagement, while posting more than twice a day is perceived as annoying. However, frequency needs can vary across audience demographics so its important to monitor your Facebook analytics so you can make adjustments when necessary.

Use Promoted Posts Wisely

Promoted posts, along with consistent regular posts and a solid fan base can help you reach more targeted customers through Facebook. Promoted posts have to be image-heavy, so prepare accordingly. You select your budget, and after the time of the post promotion ends, Facebook sends you a receipt showing how many clicks and impressions resulted from your promotion.

Use Facebook Open Graph

Open Graph involves inserting meta data into a web page or blog posts that turns it into a “social object.” That way if someone shares a link to your blog post or an item you sell, you have control over how the image, description, and link are displayed. You can easily find instructions on how to implement Open Graph, and once you do, the media-rich social objects it creates are more likely to result in click-throughs from Facebook.

Utilize Facebook Contests

Contests are a great way to keep people engaged on Facebook, and there are numerous types contests you can try: photo contests, caption contests, and quizzes are just a few. Make sure you follow all of Facebook’s rules for contests because they are a terrific way to build excitement and maintain engagement with your followers.

Make Your Posts Media Rich

Photos are by far the most shared types of posts on Facebook. Offering high quality images to which you have the rights, mixing up types of images, and inviting captions are simple, effective ways to maximize user engagement. Link posts typically include an image that you can select, and these encourage sharing too.

Offer Check-In Deals

Local retailers can offer check-in deals that include an incentive (like a discount or free gift) to customers who check in with Facebook using their mobile phones when visiting. Check-in deals have to be approved by Facebook, but they’re great for strengthening engagement with customers and rewarding loyal customers. Moreover, when customers check in, their friends know about it, and this can be a powerful form of “word of mouth” advertising.

Remember: Interactions Are More Important Than Follower Numbers

If you pursue huge fan numbers at the expense of engaging with the fans you have, you’re ultimately short-changing your business. People notice the total number of Likes your page has, but they’re also interested in the “Talking About This” number, which indicates true engagement. So don’t pursue huge numbers of Likes without a plan to ensure you’re engaging the people responsible for these “likes”.

Retailers have been using Facebook to drive sales for several years now, and you can learn from their successes and mistakes. Keep in mind, although you should be utilizing a variety of Social Media networks, they should not be utilized in exactly the same way. Plan your Facebook strategy carefully, using the best strategies for the network and, commit to carrying it out for the best return on your investment.

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