Is Facebook right for my social enterprise?
In our series “Is Social Media relevant to social enterprise?” we now consider Facebook and how it can help social enterprises develop brand awareness and increase income streams.
What can Facebook do for me?
Facebook is not right for every enterprise but for specific business types and for those where the community is the target audience it can heighten awareness, transform the level of customer conversations, and build a loyalty like no other.
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The role of Facebook
Many use Facebook as a continuation of the overall service, but today we discuss lead generation and how the channel can grow and protect your position in the marketplace.
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
A key challenge is persuading social enterprises to see Facebook as a tool that adds to the bottom line, a goal beyond measuring Social Media by the number of “Likes”. Facebook is largely supportive – business value in the long run originates from the website or through the email list. Ultimately we have to stop thinking in silo’s and view social media as only one part of the wider digital landscape.
Will Facebook work for my social enterprise?
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 their magic by encouraging customer engagement, delivering these as sign-ups for newsletters. This “pied-piper” approach provides a new audience now persuaded to receive something of value from your enterprise: awareness of an interesting blog you have written, news that is relevant now displaying on your website, a chance to keep up-to-date with your product or service. Provide a static website and the strategy begins to fail. Offer the prospect a consistency of high value beyond the “Buy my service” hard sell and your company can build a database of willing customers eager to hear your message.
Beware – today the word newsletter is almost the acceptable word for spam. 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 content-based website where you give people something they value in return for their email address, and view Facebook is a distributor of your message, a channel for promotions, and a place for customers to engage with your brand.
Conversions will come from a customer focused website delivering to their needs and not so obviously yours. Would a bus service stay in service if it didn’t cater for the customer? Fresh content keeps customers coming back for updates giving you a return on your soft selling Social Media efforts.
View Social Media as one line item on a budget of many marketing channels. Does Facebook work? Yes, but not in a silo, and only when judged against what it is supposed to achieve!
How can my social enterprise use Facebook to grow my business?
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In our next article in this series we look at growing your database through Facebook, how to run competitions, and use the medium for promotions.
What do I do now?
Do you need a marketing plan? Require a website review, content plan or Social Media strategy?
If you feel your social enterprise could benefit from greater awareness but lack the expertise to make it happen why not contact us online or chat to Emma Stratton on 0141 425 2900 to discuss the options available. See how else CEIS supports individuals, businesses and communities here.
Through the Scottish Government’s Just Enterprise business support programme, qualifying social enterprises may even be able to access workshops for free.
To read part 1 of this series, click here
To read part 3 of this series, click here