Rich Brooks: Today we are here with Amy Porterfield. She is a social media strategist and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. Amy, thank you very much for being part of the interview today.
Amy Porterfield: Thanks for having me.
Rich Brooks: My pleasure. Now, I know you’re a Facebook expert and I know you love small businesses so let’s talk about small businesses on Facebook. In your experience, what are some of the top challenges that small businesses face on Facebook?
Amy Porterfield: When it comes to Facebook I continually hear two challenges from small businesses. The first one is, “I need to grow my fan base but I don’t know how to attract quality fans.” The second one is, “I can’t get my fans to engage with me on my Page. I’m posting questions, interesting quotes and valuable information, but my fans are not responding to my posts.” So it usually comes down to wanting to grow a quality fan base and the struggle to get the conversation started on Facebook.
Rich Brooks: I guess my first question is; does the number of fans really make a difference to how successful a small business can be on Facebook?
Amy Porterfield: Yes, fan count really does matter. For starters, your fan count acts as social proof and can attract new fans. If you have a solid fan base, when friends of your fans see your posts and visit your Page, they are more likely to become a fan of your Page too when they see that their friends are fans and that you have a large following already.
In addition to social proof, a solid fan base can actually increase your traffic. The popular inbound marketing website, HubSpot, recently did a study of 4,000 small businesses. They found that small businesses that had over 500 fans saw 3.5 times more traffic than those Pages with less than 500 fans. But what’s really interesting is they found that Fan Pages with over 1,000 Fans had 22 times more traffic than those with less than 1,000 Fans. As a small business, it’s worth your time and energy to focus on growing a quality fan base.
Rich Brooks: Having a lot of fans is better because it increases my reach, it increases my page views, so how do I grow my fan base quickly but still stay focused on attracting quality fans?
Amy Porterfield: In my experience, Facebook engagement ads are a surefire way of growing a quality fan base quickly. When I talk about Facebook ads, I tend to lose a portion of my audience instantly because they get overwhelmed by the thought of creating a Facebook ads campaign. And although Facebook Ads are not necessarily easy, I will say that once you spend a little time doing your research and understanding the ads dashboard, you can easily set up your Facebook ads campaign.
Facebook engagement ads are ads that promote and increase the exposure of your Facebook Page. So you are not running ads that are linking to external pages, say a sales page outside of Facebook, but instead you are keeping your target audience inside Facebook and driving them to your Fan Page.
When you set up an engagement ad, the key is to create an ad that grabs your audience’s attention with a thought provoking call-to-action. For example, if I were a personal trainer, I might create an ad that says, “Click Like if you struggle to find time to work out regularly.”
And when someone clicks the Like button in the ad, they automatically become a fan of my Facebook Page. They could click on the ad and they would land on my Facebook Page, but if they just click Like next t the ad, they stay on the page they are currently on, and become an instant fan of my Page. That’s why they are called engagement ads – people engage with your ad by clicking Like.
Also, when you set up your ad, you can get laser focused on your ideal client. For example, let’s say I was a real estate agent. I would be able to choose the demographics of my ideal client (age, location by city, male/female, education level) as well as target the precise interests of my audience. So what I mean by that is you can go into the Facebook ads dashboard and target people who are already fans of specific Facebook Pages, target people who read specific magazines or reach people who indicate specific activities in their profiles. What’s great is you can actually target all the fans of a competitor by targeting everyone who is already a fan of their Page. The reach and segmentation of Facebook ads are impressive to say the least!
When someone clicks Like in your ad and becomes an instant fan, your status updates will start showing up in their news feed. This allows you to continually get in front of a very laser focused audience who has a real interest in your products, programs and services.
Rich Brooks: If someone does not click Like in your ad, but instead clicks the ad itself, I know you are sending them to your Facebook Page, but where specifically? Are they landing on your wall? A custom landing page? How does that work?
Amy Porterfield: Great question. I suggest you never run a Facebook ad where you send people to your wall. Since conversations are happening on your wall at any given time, it’s confusing for someone who lands there for the first time before being introduced to your business. I suggest you send people from your ad to a custom welcome tab, which is a tab that you create to tell people who you are and what you’re about. Think of it as your first introduction to a potential client. Most importantly, this custom tab allows you to give a call-to-action and encourage the potential fan to “click the like button.”
Studies have shown that about 99% of people, once they visit to your Facebook Page for the first time, will never actually type in your Facebook Page URL to check out your Page again. Instead if they click your Like button and become a fan of your Page, they will then start to see your updates in their news feed. You’re actually missing out on a huge opportunity if you get potential fans to your Page, but they leave without becoming a part of your community. Chances are, you won’t see them again.
Rich Brooks: And do you recommend just putting the one call to action on the custom landing tab. Make the whole focus of that landing page all about getting the Like?
Amy Porterfield: I do. When it comes to Facebook, the captive audience is pretty much non-existent. There’s just so much going on at any given time, it’s difficult to get people to focus on your Page alone. When you attract potential fans to your custom welcome tab, keep things simple and focus only on encouraging them to click the like button. You can actually create something called a “reveal tab” where once they click the Like button, the custom tab actually changes and reveals new information.
So once a non-fan clicks the Like button and becomes a fan of your Page, the custom tab changes instantly and the fan might see an opt-in giveaway you’ve set up, say a free report or maybe a free video series, in exchange for their name and email. Facebook is a terrific lead source if you use it strategically and always focus on delivering value.
Rich Brooks: Excellent, so now I’ve built up my fan base. But it’s still not working for me because no one’s talking, or even worse, I’m talking to myself. How do I get people to actually engage with me on my Facebook Page?
Amy Porterfield: As I mentioned earlier, most small businesses struggle with getting the conversation started on their Page. If you want to see real success from your Facebook efforts, it’s not enough to just grow a large fan base. Facebook uses an algorithm to score engagement activities and without getting too deep into it, they are monitoring if people are engaging with your posts. That means if you rarely get your fans to engage with your posts – leave a comment, click Like next to the post, share it with their friends- Facebook takes note and may decide that your posts are not important enough to send out into the news feeds of all your fans. So if you have 1,000 fans, it’s likely that not all of them are seeing your posts. And that’s why engagement is so crucial to your overall Facebook success.
Let me give you a few tips to get people talking on your Facebook Page. You’ve probably heard that you can get fans talking on your Facebook Page if you ask them questions. Well that’s not always true. Yes, questions are a great way to get fans talking, however there is a right way and a wrong way to ask questions on Facebook.
Since our attention span is extremely short on Facebook, it’s important to think of the response to your question before you post it. When you ask a question, make sure that it won’t take a lot of effort to answer it. If it takes a lot of time and thought to answer your questions, your fans are less likely to engage.
Let me give you an example; I did some work for a nonprofit that raised funds for women and children in third-world countries. On Mother’s Day they posted a question on their Facebook Page. The question read, “What’s your favorite story about your mom?” – and two people posted a comment to share their story. If they had posted a question that was easier to answer, say, “What’s one word that best describes your mom?” their fans would have been more likely to come forward and post a comment. The easier you make your questions, the better your fan engagement.
And two more quick tips for engagement. First, make sure to mix things up. Of course you should talk about your industry and your business, but it’s also important to throw some fun in there too. Most people on Facebook are not necessarily there to talk business, so make sure to not only focus on the business. Also, you can increase your engagement if you use first names. Using your fans names can go a long way in growing real relationships. This small gesture makes people feel heard and adds a personal touch. I know it seems so simple, but it’s often overlooked. If you mix things up and make it a point to entertain as well as offer value on your Page, and make it a habit to use first names, your engagement levels can skyrocket.
Rich Brooks: Excellent. Alright, so can you give us some proven tips that you’ve used that can help a small business that is looking to tweak or improve their strategy on Facebook to increase their online presence, to get more leads, and ultimately build their business and build sales.
Amy Porterfield: The key to Facebook success is to make sure your fans know you’re paying attention, that you genuinely care and you’re listening to them. Imagine this, let’s say you call up a friend and when she answers the phone, you say, ‘Hey! How are you doing?’ And right when she begins to answer, you hang up on her. That would be weird, right?
With Facebook, hang-ups like that happen all the time – just on a different platform. After you post, it’s important that you stick around for a few minutes, or at least monitor your post, to respond to fan comments in real-time as much as possible. The magic of Facebook happens in the back and fourth conversations. When you add value beyond your posts, meaning adding richness in the conversations your posts elicit, you are well on your way of turning your fans into loyal customers.
Rich Brooks: Now once you start building a loyal fan base, how do we turn those fans into actual buyers?
When it comes to Facebook marketing, you don’t ever want to lose sight that the ultimate goal is to turn your existing fans into Super Fan. Super Fans are fans that have become your customers, meaning they have purchased from you. They’ve also given you access to their contact information, have spread the word about you and have encouraged others to buy from you as well. We all could use a few more Super Fans, right?
So how do you create Super Fans? It all starts with growing your fan base and creating engagement. So definitely start there testing out some the tips I covered earlier. But beyond that, it’s important that you create a sales funnel for your fans. On your Facebook Page, if you promote a webinar or give away a free report in exchange for contact info, what happens next? Make sure you’ve set up a clear path to lead your fans step by step along the way – starting with engagement, and then promotion, and finally the sell. You have to have a strategy in place if you want to move your fans up the ranks to Super Fan status. And it’s never too late – no matter if you’ve been on Facebook for just a few months or a few years, you can always regroup and get a clear plan in place. I encourage everyone to step back and take the time to do this crucial step.
Rich Brooks: Excellent. Amy, that was some great advice. I’ve now got to go back and start changing everything I’ve ever done on Facebook up till right now. But before I go, I just want to know, where can we find you online?
Amy Porterfield: Thanks so much, Rich! You can find me at amyporterfield.com where I blog and offer free social media content. So come on over and say hello.
Rich Brooks: Awesome. Alright Amy, thank you very much. It’s been great.
Amy Porterfield: Thanks again. Take care.