After publishing two monthly reviews: US airlines industry report and tips&tricks of top 5 female social media influencers, lots of blog subscribers and digital marketers replied to my posts: sales are the primary metric we should focus on, not Facebook engagement.
I get you people. After working as a strategic marketer for a non-sexy niche: security apps for MacOS, Windows, and Android, debating with the managers why you should invest in Facebook when you don't get immediate feedback (meaning sales) is a tough task.
But don’t give up. Why?
Because the buyer journey has changed in the last years. Before finalizing the buying process, people are looking for a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter, they are asking their friends or family and they are reading the Facebook page's reviews.
No more phone calls to support or emails, people are looking for social support: Facebook, Twitter, even on Instagram. Sprout Social, in Q1 2016, noted that people’s top choices for customer care are:
- Social - 34,5%
- Website/live chat - 24.7%
- Email - 19.4%
- 1-800 number - 16.1%
- Store - 5.3%
They are looking for person to person communication, “social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service" according to Sprout’s consumer survey.
So, invite your managers to the Facebook page to see how many people requested an issue and how much time does it take to help your fans with their problems.
Facebook Engagement - the new metric for social selling
Add these metrics when discussing with your managers for a budget for new analytics tools or hiring new people. Point out these ideas when asking a budget increase:
#1. Facebook Engagement - is the new way of changing customers' emotions while they experience your product or service.
Tracking things like the number of comments on a post or the conversation rate are good places to start, but they fail to capture the heart of what engagement sets out to do: forge meaningful relationships with your audience. - Hootsuite.
Create meaningful relationship moments with your fans base. Changing their emotions when they first comment or write to your page influences their buying decision shortly, plus for sure will recommend your product to their friends.
Your sales team will be enchanted by this approach.
#2. Facebook Engagement - it's not about the numbers, it's about the connection between you and your customer.
Establish an one-to-one communication with your fans, react to their concerns, always answer to their questions even when they are asking what's your favorite pizza.
Create sensorial experiences with your content, pictures or video on your Facebook page. Invite your fans to join you on your brand mission.
Let's take the example of J.Crew - a clothing brand. On average they post on Facebook two posts per day, most of them with pictures and videos. Their content reflects their brand values. Dreamy images with summer vibes while women and children are wearing their clothes.
#3. Through Facebook Engagement you create trust.
In online shopping, “trust is important because it helps customers overcome perceptions of uncertainty and risk".
A higher Engagement Rate/Page increases the number of positive reviews on your Facebook page and the overall experience with your products and services.
Most of the time it happens this scenario:
- people are engaged with your content because their friends shared it on Facebook
- they scroll down your Facebook page and find out empowering content
- they like, comment or share your content
- they like your Facebook page
- when they're looking for related products with your brand, they search on Google for a recommendation
- they choose your brand based on their first experience (remember the content?)
- they recommend your products or services to their friends.
You know Patagonia - a brand clothing. They are doing a great job on social networks because they're keeping the brand promise with their content: "the stories we wear".
#4. A higher Engagement Rate increases the customer loyalty.
Which of course leads to more sales. Engaging with your fans on your Facebook page, share useful content for them, appreciate their comments, ask questions regarding their concerns. Your support consolidates the brand image.
A group of US researchers studied the influence of social media interactions on consumer–brand relationships. They concluded that:
The win–win of consumer–brand relationships is that consumers derive satisfaction through greater attachment to brands and that firms that better understand and respond to customer needs generate more brand loyalty and profitability. To achieve these goals requires more connections and interactions between consumers and brands to foster meaningful relationships between them.
If your sales teams are targeting the small to medium enterprises, show them this report. Maybe they will help you with some budget.
#5. Facebook prioritizes engagement.
Engaged content is prioritized with the help of Facebook algorithms.
Build your brand through engagement.
Did your fans experience a positive feeling while interacting with your brand on social networks?
- they become loyal to your brand
- they recommend the brands to others
And for sure you’ll be their top of mind choice when googling related products or services with your business.
Note these ideas and discuss them with your managers. Social media shouldn't be a selling channel, is the new way of consolidating businesses and brands.
Support your sales teams with empowering content, nurture your fans and invite them to be the brand ambassadors of your brand.
Always have this attitude while working in marketing: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook which means: Give, Give, Give, ... Ask - a book written by the social media expert - Gary Vaynerchuk.
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followers’ evolution, average engagement rate per post, reach, impressions and history data. Research your competitors on Facebook and optimize your page’s growth.