*** A social media platform to the core, Facebook has been keen on revamping its image in the on-line marketing world in the last several years. Through introduction of share and like capabilities, business pages and sophisticated advertisement management system, Facebook has indeed positioned itself as one of the leaders in Digital Marketing.
Often-times, however, Facebook is still viewed as a useless platform for business marketing by some, and our experience shows that this opinion mostly forms as a result of not understanding the Facebook sales funnel (which we portrayed in the image below as a lovely calla flower) and the general Facebook marketing principles.
Marketing a business on Facebook can be very effective given that it is approached with enough care so not to distort the regular flow of Facebook users which is socializing with one another, sharing interesting information, liking interesting posts and engaging in interesting conversations. Instead of employing aggressive sales tactics that would go against the natural flow, Facebook marketing strategy needs to respect it and become part of it. This means intertwining sales with social in the way that is not considered self-centric on the part of a business and is perceived as a natural part of Facebook experience.
And yes, Facebook sales cycle does have sales in it, and if done right, the word “sales” is no longer a dirty word but a well-crafted part of the Facebook interactive experience.
Facebook Sales Funnel
Given the inherent social nature of the platform, Facebook sales funnel is unique compared to sales funnels of other social platforms. It contains the following steps, which have to be carefully measured when developing a Facebook Marketing Strategy:
- Awareness. This stage is when fans are acquired through advertisement, sharing, invitations. Other strategies may also be used to drive this process such as having a Like button on order confirmation page, in an email blast, on blog articles and so on.
- Education. This stage is when the fans become educated, at the subconscious level, what the business can do for them. The most important thing here is not to come across as aggressive and self-centric. If any sales are done at this stage, they need to be indirect.
- Likeability & Engagement. This is the stage where a real on-line community is built and hopefully becomes self-sustaining. Fans start engaging, sharing, commenting or posting on the business page. Some strategies for this stage include contests, discussions, polls, and so on.
- Sales. This is the stage when sales can actually start in full swing, but in the ways that will not appear too destructive. The best way is to introduce sales cycle directly on Facebook where the whole sales process can be completed in as few steps as possible with a quick checkout. The goal is to not only complete the sale, but to also leave a good impression and reinforce sharing upon checkout where the happy buyer would spread the word.
- Repeat. This stage simply continues the whole cycle before the next sale will take place.
One word of caution is that with any other social media platform, including Facebook, the sales cycle normally takes longer than with traditional marketing. That should not, however, discourage businesses from using these tools because, given the geometric progression with which information on Facebook can be spread and the trust factor attached to the information shared by friends, the potential of sky-rocketing sales is huge in a longer run.
When done right, Facebook Marketing and Sales can drive a business to the new heights, and businesses should seriously consider including Facebook into their Digital Marketing Strategies.