Business advertising used to be very expensive during the times when popular media platforms were newspaper, radio and television. It was quite impossible for small businesses to publish a business-related advertisement because the rates were not affordable.
But with the advent of the internet and social media, businesses (small or big) are given the chance to promote their products.
One of the most popular and viable platform for business advertising is the social media giant, Facebook. With billions of users around the globe, your audience reach can be limitless (theoretically).
If you’ll take time to observe your Facebook account, you can see your business minded friends are already taking advantage of the platform. For instance, one of your friends might have posted some of her pre-loved clothes for sale or you might be seeing posts of another friend promoting her baked products.
In cases where you’re looking at short term business, Facebook can be very helpful. You sell products and promote it without spending a dime. But if you are looking at a long-term and a more sustainable business, that’s not necessarily the case.
If you want to maximize the potential of Facebook as a marketing tool, then it is a misconception to think that you don’t have to spend money for it.
Let’s take the case of Julia who decided to stop working full time to focus on selling her baked goodies online. She posted pictures of her items in a Facebook Page she newly created for her business. She even set the privacy setting of her posts to public, so it can be easily shared and will be easily viewed.
She didn’t want to spend money, so she invited her immediate family and friends to her business account.
But it is important to ponder on the following questions: Was she able to reach her target audience? Was she able to maximize the potential of Facebook as a marketing platform for her business? How can she set herself apart from other online clothing stores? How can she draw more followers or more clients to her Facebook page?
As stated earlier, if you want to harness the maximum potential of Facebook as a marketing tool, then you have to allocate a budget for it.
This budget can be used to boost your post, fund your promotional activities and create meaningful content. By allocating an amount for marketing activities, you will be able to create a strong online presence.
Do not forget that you’re not the only one who’s taking advantage of this marketing platform. Therefore, allocating a budget to create a strong online presence will give you an advantage over your competitors.
How are you going to it? Here are five tips.
Narrow down your audience
Do not assume that just because your post is public, it’s already enough to sell your product. It would be wrong to have that kind of mindset. Yes, your information is out there but did it reach the right audience?
That’s the importance of targeting a specific audience. Direct your efforts to where it is needed. Why waste time promoting your baked goodies to people who are miles away? Your products will be spoiled by the time it reaches them. Same goes with business. Direct your efforts to audiences who you think has more potential to buy your product.
Now, think about Julia and her competitor. Julia decided to narrow down her audience based on her target and decided to promote her products to those audiences. Compare it to her competitor who just posted her products online without any specific people in mind. Who do you think has greater chances to sell her product? Of course, its Julia.
When you narrow down your audience you can specify the age range, characteristic and the area of your target audience. Also, take time to know who your target clients are.
Expand your network
During this stage of your business, it is important to build a strong online presence. So, part of your marketing budget must go to activities that can help you promote your products.
One of the things that you can do is to conduct a simple activity in your Facebook page. First, you must set an objective. What do you want to achieve in this activity? Once you have answered the question, decide on what activity you can do to achieve that goal.
In Julia’s case, she wanted to reach 500 followers for her first week in business. What she can do create an activity that would encourage her immediate friends to invite more people to like her Facebook Page. She can offer a sample of her baked goodies to people who can invite a certain number of friends to like your page.
This way, Julia was able to gain more followers plus she was able to give her potential clients the chance to try her product.
If they are impressed, then it would be another marketing opportunity for her. It would be an advantage that she has good testimonials about her product. And another bonus is a good review through word of mouth – another powerful marketing strategy. Win-win situation, right?
Create your own branding
In a world full of similar products, you can set yourself apart by defining who you are. Therefore, you must know how to brand yourself.
By creating your own brand, we don’t mean getting a patent. With a business like that of Julia, she must establish a brand image that will make people remember her and her products.
She can do it by creating content that will contribute to the overall vision of how she wants to portray her products.
It must be well thought of and not just posted out there for the sake of having something to post.
You can start by mapping out a marketing plan. Set what brand image you would like for your business and use it as a guide in creating your content.
For example, the brand image that you want for your baked products is the “classy one” since your target audience are high end clients. If that’s the case, you have to invest in a good photographer who can take professional pictures. It wouldn’t be consistent to your projected brand image to post amateur pictures of your products.
Another tip to project your brand image would be creating videos. Again, the content and the quality must be consistent with your target brand image.
Following the thought of Julia’s high-end target client, your videos must be professionally edited, and the content of the video must have class. Remember that these videos serve as a representative of your brand, therefore, do not create a mediocre content.
Try to be available as much as you can to answer inquiries
For you to create a strong online presence, you must be responsive to any inquiries from your clients.
Your Facebook page’s purpose will diminish if you won’t be there to answer inquiries. Being responsive plays a big role in the purchase decision of a client.
Imagine yourself as Julia’s client. You heard about her products from your friend who happened to be Julia’s friend too. That friend highly recommended Julia’s product because she was impressed by the samples she got from Julia’s “invite-a-friend” activity.
Your daughter’s 18th birthday is coming up. You decided to commission Julia to make your daughter’s birthday cake. Since it’s your daughter’s debut, you wanted the cake to be special.
You messaged her a month before your daughter’s birthday so both of you will have ample time for the preparation. Two weeks have passed but you didn’t hear anything from her. How would you feel as her client? Other than being disappointed, you’d also feel that Julia is unprofessional and not trustworthy.
But if Julia gave a fast response, you could have started with the negotiation, talked about the specifics and sealed the deal.
In this situation, we can see how the fast turnover of communication is crucial to make a sale. Other than losing a client, another thing you will worry about is the bad reputation you might have because of a bad review from that client.
Being responsive can make or break your online presence.
Now that reviews are more accessible, clients look at it before deciding to continue with the purchase.
Since you are still trying to establish your brand, it would be best to solicit reviews from your clients. Encourage them to rate your product truthfully as this will serve as a testament on how they feel towards your product.
Focus on the quality of your product and try your best to impress your clients so that you’ll get good reviews.
Establishing your online presence and brand in Facebook takes time. It is not an overnight process. You must take time to build up your Facebook page as this will serve as your online profile. This profile is what potential clients will refer to before making that purchase decision.
So, if you’re looking at starting your online business, we hope that the tips above will be helpful.