If you were to read the newspapers of from 1848 to 1850 you would believe that gold was just lying on the ground waiting to be picked up by anyone who happened by to find it. People read about it in the newspapers. They talked about it in saloons. They talked about it at church socials. There probably wasn’t anyplace they were not talking about how a person could get rich by going to California and picking up a few rocks off the ground. We know that word went out around the world. There were people from China, Russia, and Europe coming to find those gold nuggets on the ground.
The only thing that has changed since then is the medium used to talk about things that get people excited. In addition to the church social we now have a number of social platforms. The biggest one today is Facebook. If you can get a lot of people talking about you or your product on Facebook you are going to be almost guaranteed to achieve marketing success.
The challenge with using Facebook is that you are competing with a lot of other people for attention. And your top competitor is probably a cute baby or a cat meme.
Build A Community: Not A Flash Mob
The best way to use Facebook is the slow and steady approach. You want to build a community not a flash mob. You want your Facebook page to be somewhere people go when they want to discuss a particular issue or solve a problem. You want them to feel included, accepted, and part of the tribe you have created.
Your Facebook page/group is not a primary advertising platform. You ideally post relevant, useful, valuable, funny, and/or helpful content. Your advertising efforts should never be the main theme on Facebook. In fact, if you overly advertise on Facebook they may curtail how much of your content your audience sees.
Engage people in conversation. Respond to every reply. Do more than click on “LIKE” or “LOL”. Use videos and pictures to illustrate ideas and solutions.
You are doing the online version of the church social or hanging out at your local saloon. You want to know what people are talking about. You want to engage them on a variety of topics. And if you are doing it right they are engaging with you. Then they get excited and share with their friends and other connections on Facebook.
Unless you are as cute as a baby or as funny as a cat meme don’t expect your efforts to generate instant results. If you do put in a consistent effort, are genuine, engage your audience, and you are providing something of value your efforts will pay off.
There are a couple of ways to create your Facebook community. These are a Facebook group or a Facebook page. Both have unique advantages.
The Facebook Page is a great way to connect with people and build a brand. Facebook pages are viewable by everyone. Anyone can subscribe to your brand page. You can send out updates, talk about new features, discuss upcoming events for the brand, and keep your audience informed. While your audience can post to the page there is less conversation between members of the audience. And there is less two way communication between you and your audience. Recent changes by Facebook may limit how much exposure business pages get.
Facebook groups are best used to build a community around a shared interest. For example, if you had a passion for Pomski dogs you could create a Facebook group for Pomski lovers. Yes, they are as cute as babies and can be as funny as cat videos. Facebook groups can be moderated. They can be restricted to members only. Facebook groups are a great way to get your audience engaged with each other and generating viral content.
Facebook is a great way to engage with people and to find hungry audiences who want you to solve a problem for them. But, there is a major drawback to Facebook. It’s not your gold mine. At any time, Facebook can close your account for violations of their Terms of Service. All it takes is one serious complaint and your ability to engage with your audience is gone.
You must take some common-sense steps to stay in the good graces of Facebook. And you must make every effort to connect with your audience in multiple ways. You want them to sign up for your email newsletter, bookmark your blog, subscribe to your podcast, or connect with you in a meaningful way other than Facebook.
Be willing to give them something of value in exchange for something you value. The something of value can be a free report, a course on a subject they value, or it can be a book. E-books are a great way to share information, solve problems, teach, and establish yourself as an authority. Even if you haven’t written the book you can “borrow” the authority of the author by presenting the book to your audience.
Of course, the thing you value is their contact information. At the very least you want their first name and a good email address.
Going viral isn’t always easy. Facebook can help you get people engaged and excited. Engaged, excited people share their enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. Always be authentic and don’t take shortcuts when using Facebook. Your number one goal is to build a community on Facebook. Stay connected with your audience. Make sure you have multiple ways to connect. Email, RSS, Blog, Podcasts, and other social media should be part of your engagement efforts. At the very least always try to get their email address.
You may like this book: Facebook Marketing For Small Business