build facebook communitiesOne of the most powerful and effective means of reaching customers is by having their friends  recommend your product or service to them. Your best customers are the ones who are not just great customers, but who are also willing to share your story with their friends. (Source: “How Valuable is Word of Mouth?” V. Kumar, J. Peterson, R. Leone, Harvard Business Review, 2007.)

And consider this, from a Nielsen survey: Ninety percent of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.

This should be just about enough to convince you of the power of referral. The next part is going about getting that referral, and this is something that companies consider laboriously before going to market. The end result generally is — and must be — that what you have to offer is something great, something that meets and exceeds people’s expectations.

The Power of Community

From the very start, a Facebook page should be treated as a community, with the feeling of reciprocal communication for the benefit of all those involved orchestrated, encouraged, and developed. Giving people a reason to join, and giving them an instant benefit for doing so, is a great way to keep in contact with those individuals, and to develop fruitful customer relationships. And, as a result, those individuals will have somewhere to send their friends when they want to recommend you to them.

You’re creating a space in which you’ll be able to stay in direct contact with people by creating a Facebook Page. The goal is not just for them to Like you, but to engage them on a regular basis and help them to get to know the story of your brand.

Start with Content

Like every other marketing campaign, your Facebook campaign can only be as good as the content you’re providing people. Whether that’s a quip on your Facebook page, an image, or a video, or the landing page you will eventually send your visitors to, it all has to be high quality, and it all has to be geared towards reaching your customer in the right way.

Aligning your social efforts with your content strategy is really the second phase of the game; you won’t be able to foster a community without giving them something to talk about.

Promoted Posts

Getting more people to see your content is a constant struggle. Using Promoted Posts is a great way to recruit new Likes, for the simple reason that they’ll see that this content is aligned with someone whose opinion they trust when promoting to Friends of Friends. They know their friend is interested, and if you can provide something interesting to them in the post, you have a good chance of getting a click. If your content is solid, you’ve got yourself a somewhat pre-qualified customer in the sense that they’re expressing interest as well as having a psychological recommendation from a friend.

Landing Pages + Retargeting

Once you’ve got yourself a strong community, you can start delivering more off-Facebook content and send people right to your site, where you’ll have carefully crafted landing pages suited to those individuals who Like your Page. Now, with Facebook Exchange, if those people you send to your page don’t immediately convert, you can cookie those individuals and retarget them on Facebook. The goal is to add an extra incentive, or provide them with further information that will convince them to convert.

In addition, those pages that people find through other resources can also be cookied, and you can begin to court them on Facebook through retargeting. A great plan here is to direct them towards the community that you have built and show them how others are interacting with your brand so they can see the positives for themselves.

The Facebook advertising landscape is opening up into a more holistic strategy with each passing month. They’ve been adding some great new features that allow you to target customers at different stages of the game, raising awareness and interest along the way, and creating a safe place from which they can be converted to a sale.

– Agustin Vazquez-Levi

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Augustin Vazquez
Augustin began experimenting with online sales in 2001. In 2005 he was leading the SEO and Analytics initiatives for a subsidiary of Reader’s Digest. From 2007-2009 he headed the Web Analytics department at one of the fasting growing agencies in Canada. In 2009, Augustin founded AOD Marketing, a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine visibility and Web Analytics. AOD has helped brands such as OSP Group, Cirque du Soleil, Fjallraven, LaPresse.ca & other well recognized international clients.