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The Impact Of Using Facebook For Lead Generation

The mobile and digital revolution has paved the way for social commerce. If you are a business or brand, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest will undeniably fuel your marketing drive.

These social channels help you build brand identity on a global level. There are numerous aspects which come into play  the moment  you set foot in the social media jungle. Read ahead to see what a positive impact Facebook marketing in particular can have on your brand identity.

Facebook-Centric SEO Strategy

“Social signals” coming from Facebook affect your online business ranking, therefore, as a Toronto SEO company we’ve seen it’s important to take this into account when devising your SEO and online marketing strategy. For instance:

Combine social signals with your content strategy and marketing strategy

Passive traffic generation tactics such as guest posts positively influence SEO; they create awareness and authority

In the long run, your goal is not to game the search engine crawlers, but rather build a demonstrable following while keeping up engagement rates;

As further refinements are implemented to Google algorithms, you can expect to see the impact of social signals becoming clearer

 Seeing Your Facebook Followers Grow

Population_pyramid_of_Facebook_users_by_age

The number of followers and connections  Facebook will have a significant influence on your search engine rankings. A large corporation with thousands of “Likes” and Followers will definitely be ranked higher than a relatively small business with just a handful of Likes. And there is no way to ‘game’ the system. The number of likes is not the only factor; Google detects the quality, and therefore, the legitimacy of your followers.

So buying 100K likes through unethical means will not work on a permanent basis. Organic methods work best – it can be slow but certainly more effective in the long run.  Here’s what you need to do:

  • Present your brand in a unique and consistent way
  • Post useful information and tips
  • Ask questions and seek the opinion of your followers
  • Remain active and regularly update the page
  • Use a consistent tone when interacting with users
  • Participate in general discussions with users

This boosts engagement and communication with your customers.. Eventually, you will gain a major following. As you continue to build authority and post useful information, new likes and followers are just around the corner.

Increasing External Inbound Links

Social media is extremely useful when it comes to building external links. As your posts grow, more diverse sources will link up to your website. This drives up your authority ranking in Google algorithms. However, the main catch is you need to have informative and authoritative content to make it happen.

Assuming that your content is creative, trustworthy and authoritative, social media can serve as a potent broadcasting channel. In addition to having good content, make use of hashtags and mention your content in on-going Facebook discussions to drive up traffic.

Optimizing Your Posts for Facebook Search

You can tailor individual posts for higher rankings in search engines. Google usually displays items such as news articles and popular posts in the first few SERPs. Optimize your Facebook posts by:

  • Having a strong anchor for you post; this can be an image, infographic, video or an off-site link to the full article
  • Use a clear and descriptive title
  • Throw in some keywords to maximize the chances of being found

When adding the description, try to frame it in the context of a specific search; for example, if your video is about a chocolate-chip cupcake recipe, write “Have you ever wondered what happens when you combine the best cookie in the world with the next best thing? And by ‘the next best thing’, we obviously mean cupcakes!”

Increasing Brand Awareness with Facebook

Doing Facebook marketing properly kills two birds with one stone so to speak – not only does your SEO improve, but you also start building a unique brand identity. As you build your online reputation by increasing engagement, you build a strong sense of brand awareness in your audience.

A more visible brand presence on social networks generally means more brand-centric searches on Google and other search engines by those looking to do business with you. Most businesses advocate a ‘tactic-heavy’ approach to SEO and Facebook, but experts will tell you that offering better user experience is the key to better rankings as well as brand building.

Enhancing Social Sharing

Social shares increase your brand’s authority just as external links do. Google keeps track of how many verifiable external sources are validating your brand. Drive this number up through more Facebook likes, favorites, replies, shares, and other user interaction methods.

You can do this by offering people rewards for sharing your posts or posting comments. Encourage this behaviour by having competitions, giveaways, discount codes, surveys, and opinion polls.

This cycle of sharing is self-perpetuating – once it gets started, the floodgates open as more people are exposed to your content and willing to share it.

Don’t Overlook Local Optimization

If you are a small business, local optimization works better than a generic optimization strategy. Engage with the local community by sending out specific messages. Get involved in local events and interact with other local brands on social media.

Showcase your brand at local festivals and tradeshows. Post related pictures and invite locals to comment and like your posts. Your community participation will gain the attention of locals.

Interacting with already established local brands will help you get more exposure and professional connections.

Why You Need a Facebook Customer Communication Strategy

Facebook can be an invaluable customer service and communication tool. Most consumers tend to interact with businesses via the official social media pages. Since Facebook is the number one social media platform, it is highly likely that prospective customers will use it as the first point of contact. This motivation to communicate can range from seeking information to complaints about products. It is therefore, advisable to plan how to handle different types of messages.

Planning your responses in advance allows you to respond quickly, rationally and politely. However, this is not to say you reply with scripted and impersonal messages. This can prove  disastrous as it will give the impression that an automated service is replying instead of an actual, identifiable businessperson.

Facebook as a Customer Service Portal

When any follower on Facebook reaches out, try to respond the way you would to any customer who visits your actual place of business. Here are some tips to transform your Facebook page into an exceptional customer service portal.

1. Answer any inquiries or complaints ASAP

Almost all functional companies have some kind of customer service team in place. Unfortunately, responsibilities of these teams are often confined to traditional communication channels. This is a narrow and out-dated approach to good customer service. Even if you have put excellent processes in place, this limited view will hurt your brand’s image. A well-rounded customer service approach demands the inclusion of online and social media channels.

Traditional channels such as phone or email have a fairly broad response window; 24-48 hours are perfectly acceptable response times. On social media, however, this response time effectively narrows down to minutes instead of days. Do not wait for this window to close before responding. When it comes to social media, even 2 days can seem like 2 weeks.

If you don’t have a dedicated team for this purpose, set reminders to check your Facebook page at least 3 times (morning, noon and evening) a day, and remember to respond to queries in a polite and friendly manner.

Facebook pages now get a special badge which indicates your response rate. The badge is displayed below your Page’s cover image. A higher response rate indicates that you have been replying to your followers regularly. For example:

A “very responsive to message” badge means 90% or greater response rate + response given in 15 minutes or less.

If you have set the Page’s status to away, the response rates are adjusted according to when the page becomes available again. If you want more details on how these numbers are calculated, check out the official Facebook help section.

2. Use the Right Technical Tools

Many consumers use Facebook as a platform for requests, complaints and enquiries. If you have a social media manager keeping an eye on your pages, you will be able to resolve any issues the minute anyone complains.

A convenient way to keep these channels updated is to use automation and tracking tools. Software solutions are available which synch with Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. They also let you manage your private messages, posts, questions and more. If you preferhaving an expert set up these tools, consult a reputable digital marketing professional.

3. Address Product and Service Issues Quickly

If you are facing issues with specific products or services, be the first to acknowledge and communicate that to your followers. Be gracious and transparent – keep your customers informed on the latest developments and remedies.

Issues such as service downtime, manufacturer defects in products, etc. are fairly common and will happen to the best of companies. Learn how to handle them. A good rule of thumb:  product or service-related issues are  best heard and acknowledged from the source, before anything else

Rumors and word-of-mouth can unnecessarily cloud up facts and marr your brand image,  Own up to it and make it known how/when the issue will be resolved.

You will have a handful of people complaining every time they hear negative news surrounding the business. These same people will be irked even more if they discover the issue on their own before you do; a disgruntled customer can harm your reputation. Being proactive is the only way to handle these situations; your customers will appreciate this even if they are annoyed.

Never delete posts to cover up your tracks when things go awry.. This puts a really negative impression on your customer. Plus, it’s highly likely that someone will have taken a screenshot as evidence to share with others, which will eventually surface. Accept your mistakes, be humble and constantly on your toes. Find a good solution within a reasonable time frame.

4. Post Updates About Your Business

Today’s consumer is well-informed and invests a significant amount of time into researching products before making purchases. At the very least, consumers will check out online reviews or your official Facebook page. If your business is on Facebook, search engines tend to display the link in probably the third or fourth ranking, the first one is usually your official website.

Current customers are also expecting regular updates from your page, since they have taken the time to Like or Follow it. It is a good strategy to share comprehensive information with your followers. Try to keep them in the know. This is especially important in cases where issues surface.

5. Reward Your Followers and Fans

Be generous and reward your Facebook followers. You can offer exclusive promotions, discount codes, product giveaways, and more.

Another great way to show that you appreciate your customers is to let them know their loyalty is highly appreciated. That you have taken into account their requests and are working on resolving any complaints. They must know that you value their opinions.

Customer service is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to building brand loyalty. Nowadays, social media is the first point of contact between you and your customers. Monitor these channels throughout the day, even 24/7 if you happen to have a global following.

Facebook marketing, when executed properly,  acts as a powerful promotional channel for your brand. It deserves special attention because it is currently, the biggest online social network. Give careful thought to perfecting these tricks of the trade and learn the nuances of Facebook so you can pave the way to a bigger and better brand presence.