Does Facebook really help drive sales in my business?
I hear that some businesses get sales and traffic from Facebook and swear by it, but some people say it's a horrible place to do business because people just want freebies. What is your experience?
I might be a tad biased but I wouldn't be a social media marketer if it didn't work. You just need to know how to go about it. Many business owners seem to have this idea that if they build a Facebook page they will all of a sudden have instant customers.
The truth is that it takes about 6-12 months to build a good community on Facebook and during this time you need to put in the effort required to keep it going. And by that I mean posting regularly, getting to know your fans, and keeping them entertained and educated.
So, yes, it can work, but you need to work at it.
I personally have a hard time with Facebook and Twitter. No matter what I do, I can't drive engagement. I'm not selling anything, as our products and services are not really marketable through social media, but I do want to build a community. I understand Social Media as a forum for value add so I've posted interesting articles, links, thought provoking questions, and even pictures and the response rate is extremely low if not non-existent. When I look at similar business or other businesses which don't necessarily sell 'cute' or 'visual' products they do seem to have engaged followers and I must say it makes me a bit jealous. So to answer your question, I've tried everything and have not noticed a result. This is the Shelcom FB Page , maybe someone will have some tips or insight...
Facebook is a great place to provide helpful marketing (hence the freebies). It's a social platform, so hard sell advertising and post don't work nearly as well as helpful content.
The key is to provide content that your ideal customer WANTS to read, to interact strategically with other business, and to advertise effectively.
Facebook can also be a great convincer. If someone is looking for services and they see your website, say, and then look at your social media then that feed can be the thing that convinces them to buy from you.
I have a number of businesses that I help with social and some of them don't advertise at all, but they still get growth AND they know that Facebook brings in business regularly. If you're a local business you may have to ask people what made them call your, or how they found you, but I know it drives sales in the businesses I help.
So, yes it really does drive sales in your business - if you do it right. ;-)
You can absolutely get traffic from Facebook.
However, as you build your Facebook audience you want to be clear about a few things:
1. who is your target market. Only attract those Likers, and don't get the bargain hunters
2. remember to create sales, you will need to drive them over to become email subscribers.
If you consider that the engagement on Facebook is a 'wooing' time, where they are checking you out and vice versa, then when they feel confident, they are likely to be confident about joining your email list. From here you move into a different form of marketing which has direct revenue results.
Facebook is an excellent platform for daily converations x 2. A place to guage what your customers are thinking, and also to push out information to test it out. Maybe a new product release? A possible product? A new market area? So you can use Facebook to gain a lot of insight, while at the same time the customer can be deciding whether you are trustworthy.
I think it hugely depends on your business and authenticity of your fan base.
For example, I see brand pages with millions of likes and minimal engagement on their posts. I also see brand pages with limited fan base and really good engagement on their Facebook pages. So, as I said depends on business and organic likes.
I totally agree with Russell, that it takes time to build your audience, but you can always test things on your page. And I recommend constantly testing. Post pictures and ask people if they want to buy, ask them to just comment "Buy" on the product image and you can personally send them invoices, this is all Lean Methodology and this process will be your MVP (minimal viable product). At least you will know if your fans are interested in your products or not.
Try this with different products, at different times, also try "Facebook Promote" post function, I have never been disappointed with this feature.
You can also try a free Facebook store and see if it drives sales at all.
Disclaimer: I work for a company which builds Facebook stores.