What Would a Real Business Do: Facebook

In terms of number of website visitors on a daily basis, it’s clear that Facebook far out distances other social networks. Consumers have made the site part of their everyday lives as they use it to keep tabs on friends, families and associates. In recent years, the company has become more aware of the need to bring in ad revenue. As a result of this, Facebook has been giving companies an increasing amount of access to users in terms of marketing opportunities.

Small businesses have options when it comes to promoting their business on the social network. Those choices seem to fall into two basic categories.

There is earned media where companies seek to build relationships with those that are socializing on the network. 2.) And then there is paid media where companies strategically place their content in areas where individuals will see it.
Earned media has distinct advantages. First, it is no to low-cost. Second, it depends on human interaction. That means that companies can get first-hand information on what customers want and may be willing to buy.
They can also use the social network to build brand loyalty, as consumers have the opportunity to interact socially on fan pages. This continual interaction works in the same way as repetitive messages delivered through media commercials. At least that’s the hope of companies relying primarily on earned media.

If there is any disadvantage to earned media, it is that its results aren’t immediately measurable. In addition to this, a considerable level of time and resources are necessary to build and maintain traction. Companies engaging in earned media on the social network, typically need to employ someone whose job is solely that kind of activity.
Because of the indirect nature of Facebook communication, sales efforts can be untargeted. Therefore, promotional campaigns focus their attention on getting Facebook likes, comments and shares. However, it’s unclear as to whether or not this kind of activity leads to more purchases of individual products and services.

Paid media allows companies to find the audience they want to communicate with and structure the promotion based on its peculiarities. In some cases, that advertisement can look like a social posting that any individual would compose to post in their news feed. In other cases, companies structure their advertisements so that they appear on the right side panel along with other promotions.

Paid media provides companies an advantage because of the targeting feature. Companies are able to decide on who their message will reach and subsequently lower the effective cost of their promotions. In addition to this, promotional campaigns on Facebook are both testable and tractable. This allows companies to work on their advertisements until they resonates with the right audiences.

If there is a downside to using paid media on Facebook, it is 1) the learning curve necessary to find the right audience and 2) the tailoring process of the advertisement to the buyers. However, this can be overcome, if the money spent on less than high-performing ads is considered to be market research. A certain level of research is always necessary before knowing if an advertisement will actually work with a particular audience. This is especially true of Facebook paid media.

Companies should use a mixture of both paid and earned media. Depending on the goal of a company’s particular promotion, they should work to determine the combination based on the velocity of results needed. In other words, when sales are desired quickly, then companies should lean more towards using paid media. When sales are secondary to relationship building then the company should lean more toward using earned media as a way of building a platform to sell.

How to Generate Leads Using Your Website

Most businesses have a standard website that displays their hours of operation and directions on where prospects can go to make purchases. While these websites are effective in getting people the information they need quickly, it’s also prudent to use some of the space to generate leads.
When a potential customers come to your website, you can get statistics on what they did when they visited. You can also find out what pages they were most interested in clicking on.

Identifying Your Visitor

However, you will probably not be able to identify them by name. The fact of the matter is that your website visitor has to give their permission in order for you to contact them. Every website visitor has a right to their privacy.
As a result, you can have a positive effect on your business of getting people to visit your website, while simultaneously having the negative effect of being unable to benefit.
This would be comparable to someone coming to your store location or office, and leaving again without giving you their name and/or telephone number for you to contact them again. You would never find out what they were truly interested in and or what may have caused them to go away without making a purchase.

The Contact Database

However, you can build your business and counter act this occurrence by collecting the names and e-mail addresses of your website visitors. Depending on what the jargon is in your particular industry, this collection process is called your contact database.
In other words, when a person comes to your website, you are giving them the opportunity to access to something that you’re offering in exchange for their contact information. As soon as they give you their name and e-mail address it’s subsequently stored in a contact database online.
This way of collecting contact information, is one of the improvements that business has seen since commerce began to be transacted online. In times past, business owners would have to extract information from the sales process to ask the buyer for their contact information.
Prior to the 1990’s, there were only one or two ways for a business to contact their customer to promote more products and services to them. Business had to mail something to the prospect or they had to make telephone calls to them.

Fast forward to the 2010’s. If you were to look at recent statistics, neither have been traditionally very successful in being able to reach buyers to convince them that a purchase favorable to them. However, most business communication today takes place using e-mail.
E-mail allows a customer or prospect to be contacted, while giving them the ultimate level of freedom. A consumer doesn’t have to open an e-mail, unless they so desire. To use email along with their website, businesses work with local marketing consultants in order to set up visible contact forms where prospects can type their name and e-mail address in order to receive more information.