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27 February 2013

Social Media

Using Facebook For B2C Businesses

With 1.06 billion monthly users – 618 million of these logging in on a daily basis – Facebook is the leading social networking site across the globe. With this in mind, Facebook can play a vital role in promoting a business. This leaves the obvious questions; how?  When should a business post? What should a business post? How often should a business post?

Time your posts around your customers

With B2C businesses wanting their ‘likers’ to interact with them, it is important that any statuses, photos or updates are posted at a time when potential customers will see them.

With many people at work during the day, it should come as no surprise that any posts made between the hours of 8pm and 7am receive 20% more interaction than those posted between the hours of 8am and 7pm. However, these times will not necessarily be the optimal periods to post for YOUR market sector…research and implement.

Target specific days

As the mid-week blues kick in, more and more people are flicking over to Facebook. With an 8% increase in average user engagement on Wednesdays and a 2% increase on Sundays, businesses should take advantage of this and make sure they are posting statuses, pictures and updates on these days.

Don’t overdo your daily posts

Obviously, if you’re using Facebook, you want potential customers to get in touch with you.  You want your ‘likers’ to see what it is your posting, otherwise, what’s the point?
With this in mind, you need to make sure that you’re posting often enough so that people see the posts, but not so much that you begin to annoy your potential customers. Studies have shown that businesses posting 1-2 times a day receive 40% more customer interaction than those posting 3 or more times a day.

Don’t go overboard with weekly updates

Applying the same logic as above, you don’t want to post too many times a week. With more than 5 posts a week, customers tend to switch off and overlook whatever it is you’re posting or, even worse, ‘unlike’ your page meaning that they will no longer see anything you post. On the other hand, by only posting 1-4 statuses, pictures or updates per week, potential customers are 71% more likely to take notice and interact with you.

Keep it short

Chances are, if people see a large block of text, they won’t read it. Similarly, when a block of text with more than 140 characters appears on their newsfeed, a potential customer may read it but not take the time to interact with you. On average, posts made up of 80 characters or less are shown to successfully draw in your target audience and consequently, receiving 66% more user engagement than lengthy posts.

Ask questions, get answers

Regardless of the question you’re asking, potential customers will see that you are trying to interact with them and will often react accordingly. Whilst they may read and ‘like’ a generic status update, actually asking your potential customers a question doubles the likelihood of them replying to the post in the form of a ‘comment’.

Let your customers do the talking

In a similar way to asking your potential customers a question, getting them to fill in the blanks or finish a sentence evokes 9 times more interaction than a ‘complete’ status. For instance, posting the status, “Today I …” or “If I was … I would …”, you are enticing your potential customers to actively think about something, therefore, making them more likely to take notice of your post and, in turn, they are more likely to reply to it.

Reward existing customers and prompt potential customers

Everyone loves a bargain! Your customers are no different. With this in mind, Facebook can be used to prompt sales and boost revenue. However, your choice of words or the type of offer should be carefully considered in order to optimise your results.

  • Contrary to popular belief, out of all promotional terms, the word ‘sale’ evokes the least customer engagement when used in a marketing campaign.
  • Offering a % discount off a customer’s total bill is next in the rankings – producing surprisingly little customer interaction.
  • Respectively followed by the use of the terms ‘deal’, ‘save’ and ‘bargain’, these terms evoke a slightly greater response from potential customers.
  • A larger percent of customers are shown to respond when the words ‘clearance’ or ‘offer’ are used in a sales campaign, however, they are still only coming up in 4th and 5th place overall.
  • In third position, the word ‘offer’ is shown to get people interested in what you are selling and encourage them to check it out.
  • Moving away from just the wording of a campaign, offering customers coupons has shown to evoke a considerable about of interest in the products or services on sale, therefore, making them much more likely to engage with your company and make a purchase.
  • In first position and incurring the highest level of customer engagement is offering your potential or existing customers a fixed monetary value off the total of their shopping cart.  

Keep it simple

Avoid making your posts over complicated. Whether it’s a status, photo, video or link, it is important to keep things simple and give your customers exactly what they want. If a potential customer is scrolling through their newsfeed and sees your post, they don’t want to click here, follow this, read this, decode jargon and then be sent to a different page. They want the information to be delivered in the simplest form possible. With this in mind, you should avoid the following when posting anything on Facebook:

  • Using unnecessary technical language
  • Waffling around the point you’re trying to make
  • Creating a photo album where a single photo would have been sufficient
  • Posting indirect links to an external page

Say it in pictures

It is said that ‘pictures speak a thousand words’. Not only can you get across a whole block of text in a single photo, but the message you are giving is instant - there’s no need to read a lengthy paragraph as the message is right there in front of you. This, in turn, makes customers more likely to interact with your post and therefore, your business.

Another way to evoke a response from your potential customers is to post a single photo, made up of a grid of images and ask your ‘likers’ for their opinion on the images, or to pick a favourite.

By Sarah-Jayne Culver

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