As I scroll through my Facebook news feed, I often come across businesses doing competitions for liking, commenting or sharing their status or business page. Mostly annoyed by the constant begging, I did a little digging to see just what this practice does for your business and if it’s really worth anyone’s time. I was actually pleasantly surprised by what I found, so much so that I thought I’d give it a try in the future on my own Facebook page. And while I was able to see the benefits, I ran across one major drawback: Facebook helps you market to your current customers but often leaves out the search for new customers in your target market.
I thought this information was intriguing enough to pass on so here’s what I learned:
- By “begging” for likes, you are tricking Facebook’s filtering program, Edgerank into showing your statuses to more people. Basically, an individual’s news feed is made up of a variety of statuses from his or her friends, groups and business pages. If that person were to have a news feed of literally everything each one of those entities wrote, they would never get caught up. Facebook attempted to fix this by using Edgerank, which takes into consideration how much interaction the individual has with each of those entities, showing the most important and most popular and hiding the rest. If a business posts a status, only about 16% of its readers will see that. By liking a status, that triggers a change in Edgerank because you are indicating that the status is somehow important to you. The actual results vary greatly but this could mean that each person who likes the status would see 4 out of 10 posts you make instead of less than 2 of every 10. If you get 100 likes, that’s at least 200 more statuses that reach out to your customers that weren’t doing so before.
The downside to this practice is that it’s only a temporary fix. If your business holds these promotions often, there is a better chance that it will prove beneficial. BUT if your business does this, there is also a better chance that people will leave because you are being obnoxious.
- Like mom always taught us, sharing is a good thing. There are two reasons people share a business pages status: either it was important/funny/appalling/etc. or they think they are going to win something. I could go on for days about writing more meaningful content on Facebook, but that’s not why you are here. So, assuming you are attempting to reach out to your target market by launching a Facebook sharing campaign, you could be on to something. If each of your readers share a particular status or comments or likes the status (especially if it’s a public page) the reach is compounded. Anyone then following that reader will also see it, have the opportunity to make his own comment, like or share and so on. This is an easy way to get your name out there as a wide variety of people will see your business name and possibly find it trustworthy if they value the opinion of their “friend.”
This is where the target marketing thing gets confusing. As you are going down your marketing checklist, you are doing well so far. Reach out with social media. Find new customers. Check. Check. BUT those new customers you found? They could be any one. They could have simply liked the page because they think they will get something free out of the deal. They may never actually be your customer. So by using Facebook in this way, you are definitely marketing well but you are missing a step by not being able to direct your marketing towards people who need your business.
So the question still remains about how well Facebook fits in to your target marketing plan overall. At this point in the game, I would definitely still be using social media tools to market my business. I would just define my content themes for my target markets instead of just focusing on annoying Facebook competitions. Social media has a good outreach and overall impact on bringing in customers. Just keep in mind that your target is still out there and might not be easily found on Facebook.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.