Is Facebook right for my Social Enterprise?
In our series “Is Social Media relevant to Social Enterprise?” we turn our attention to Facebook to discuss where it develops brand awareness and improves income streams.
What can Facebook do for me?
Facebook now claims 1.35 billion active monthly users, fractionally under the population of China (1.37 billion), and well ahead of Twitter with 284 million active consumers. (Source: Hubspot January 2015).
Awesome figures yet, Facebook isn’t right for everyone. However, where there is a community audience it can deliver transformational returns, forms habits, and builds a loyalty like no other.
The role of Facebook in lead generation
Many use Facebook as a continuation of the overall service, but today we ask you to consider its value in lead generation. A key challenge is persuading social enterprises to see Facebook as a tool that adds to the bottom line, a goal well beyond measuring Social Media by the number of “Likes”.
Facebook is rarely a solitary driver, and largely supportive – its business value originates from the website or through the email list it helps develop. Ultimately we have to stop thinking in silos and view Social Media as only one part of an extensive toolkit.
In marketing speak there are two types of leads:
- A soft lead referring to someone who’s provided their email address
- A hard lead who is already a customer or a qualified prospect
Will Facebook provide my Social Enterprise with leads?
As a rule of thumb we should generate soft leads through Social Media and then use email marketing to convert them into “hard” prospects. Let Facebook (and Twitter) work its magic by encouraging customer engagement, and deliver users as sign-ups for newsletters. In turn, you will only win newsletter subscribers when your website is relevant to their lives and is designed to keep customers up-to-date on their interests first, and your product or service second.
Offer the prospect a consistency of high value content beyond the company “buy me” and you can build a database of willing customers eager to hear your message and impatient to approach your business when they decide they are ready. This “in-bound strategy” is in stark contrast to you burning time and energy by canvassing them when they’re not ready to buy. Get it right and your reward can be volume business beating at your door.
But remember – people really don’t want a newsletter. They want something of value.
So how should I use Facebook?
Focus on an active Social Media strategy; provide a website giving people something of significance in return for their email address, and view Facebook as a distributor of your message, a channel for promotions, and a place for customers to engage with other users of your brand.
Change your opinion: view Social media only as a one line item on a budget of many marketing channels. Does Facebook work? Yes, but not in a silo, and only when judged against set objectives, planned, measured, and asked to deliver on that which it was designed to achieve!
Can my social enterprise use Facebook to grow my business?
You have to start with a big vision and take very small steps to get there. With the rise of the internet the world we live in has changed and so too has the complexity in the ways we access our market. The past is not coming back.
In our next instalment we look at growing your database through Facebook, how to run competitions, and use the medium for improving your SROI.
What do I do now?
Do you need a marketing plan? Require a website assessment, web content plan or Social Media strategy? Or would you like to learn more through a free one-off course on “demystifying the web”?
If you feel your Social Enterprise could benefit from more customers but lack the expertise to make it happen visit the Scottish Government’s Just Enterprise business support programme, where a team of experts are available free to qualifying social enterprises.
To make an application apply online or chat to Sally Gallery on 0141 425 2900 to discuss the options available and we’ll do our best to help grow your business.
To read parts 1 & 2 of this series, click here