It’s no secret Facebook has become more and more aggressive with respect to its marketing push encouraging small business participation. Last week in Manhattan, the company roped in a whopping 850 attendees when it held its first installment of Facebook Fit, a new program designed to teach users how to leverage the various advertising opportunities the social media giant offers.
You may have even received a phone call from a Facebook salesperson – Much to my surprise, I was actually contacted multiple times! I always assumed Facebook to be way too busy to reach out to little me with a sales call… Maybe Mr. Zuckerburg allocated a bigger marketing budget?
Rest assured, he would have good reason to do so. Currently, there are 30 million active small businesses on Facebook; one million are buying paid ads. Many SMBs are already relying heavily on Facebook to be their marketing hub – selling directly from their company page, running contests and promotions, and even utilizing the social platform as their primary web presence!
Though Facebook maintains user experience as their first priority, the company has been working hard to bump up that paid number by making it increasingly difficult to garner attention without paying. They’ve also been penalizing “spammy” marketing behavior, forcing marketers to provide original, engaging content or pay the price. Now it seems they are taking it to the next level by demonstrating how to achieve specific strategic goals with Facebook Fit, similar to what an outsourced marketing department would do for its clients.
We talk a lot about outsourced marketing, and defined it in a recent blog post. Yes, it may be common to think of an advertising agency when seeking out these types of services, rather than an “outsourced marketing department” (OMD). But we like to use the term OMD because that's how we position ourselves in the marketplace – as an extension of your business, working with you (not in a silo) and requiring input to do the job well. Just as departments within a company do, we collaborate with our clients and hold each other accountable.
This thought motivated me to examine a couple similarities between what an outsourced marketing department can do for a business and some of the marketing options presented by Facebook. Though Facebook is a great tool with growing capabilities, it's simply not a replacement or crutch for your complete marketing strategy. Here’s why:
Researching & Targeting Your Optimal Customer
Partnering up with an agency as your outsourced marketing department offers a fresh, non-biased perspective to finding and targeting your audience. You probably have a good sense of whom you’d like to do business with. But do you know where to look and how to attract them? An outsourced marketing company definitely should.
With over one billion users, Facebook has access to an unbelievable set of demographics that can easily be used for targeting your major buyer personas. Which, on the one hand, clearly makes the social platform a great place for many businesses to market themselves. However, there’s a lot that needs to go into successful Facebook marketing. For starters, compelling content is needed to attract all those wonderful users. A strategy beyond the “Like” is necessary to turn those fans into customers. Facebook is great for some businesses, but not for all. Relying too much on this particular channel can be limiting.
Educating & Nurturing Prospective Clients through the Sales Cycle
Educating prospects and nurturing leads is an important part of any marketing strategy – certainly one to which Facebook can contribute. As mentioned, Facebook has a vast audience which can be targeted with status updates, images, educational content, etc. and driven to landing pages that lead them through your sales cycle. However, Facebook is not functionally interchangeable with all other social media channels, let alone email marketing or consistent blogging!
There’s also the major differences between B2C and B2B sales cycles to consider. And depending on your industry and your business model, your lead nurturing campaigns could be comprised of steps that require outreach efforts beyond the avenues currently available via Facebook. There’s much more to marketing than putting all your eggs into one social basket!
Facebook is an effective marketing platform, surely fascinating in its own right – and one that should be incorporated, when appropriate, into a comprehensive marketing blueprint. But it’s not quite safe to assume that Facebook is automatically right for everyone. A growth strategy, multi-channel plans and tactical execution are necessary to do great marketing. It’s important to let your metrics and stats tell a story to pinpoint exactly where to spend your precious time (or where an outsourced marketing department can do it for you!).
Our team always keeps close tabs on the evolution of social media – and we enjoy providing insights into the changes and what they mean for marketers. Feel free to check out our blog posts about the recent Twitter changes and the introduction of LinkedIn Showcase Pages. And of course, if any of our readers have attended a Facebook Fit meeting, we would LOVE to hear about it!