The goal of any e-marketing effort is threefold.
1. Increase the visibility of the organization and thus, increase sales.
2. Better serve the needs of our customers through quick response to specific inquiries and education on the product/service being offered.
3. “Humanize” the organization – allow people to see your organization not as a large bureaucracy, but as a collection of people who work their hardest.
With these goals in mind, allow me to tell you the good news
Building your organization’s online presence does not take a lot of money to be done effectively. The steps below are steps that you can take proactively to help build your organization’s online presence with success.
The bad news is that building an online presence does take time. Building an online brand takes a consistent sustained effort. It has never been enough to simply put up a website or social media profile and hope that people find it and use it. We must give our audience a reason to “like” your Facebook page, follow your Twitter feed or visit your website. For your organization, we will accomplish this in the following ways:
Know your audience
How best to communicate with your target audience is completely dependent on whom your audience is. While this may seem self-evident to many people – you would be surprised what even the most preliminary market research would tell you. If this is a step you are interested in, our staff would be happy to assist you in finding a solution that fits your needs.
This information will not only focus your efforts and save you money, it will help focus your approach to sales overall.
Offer useful tips or sales for the user
This goes beyond any sales/discounts you may be offering. Offer people a way to better use your product or service that they may not have thought of on their own. While this may seem counterintuitive – as you are giving things away for free – it will keep existing users interested in your page or Twitter feed and attract new followers to your page as people interact with your page.
This step will also allow you to become a “thought leader” in your particular field. As you offer more and more information to the user, your name and brand will become indelibly linked in the user’s mind to an authority on that subject. This is a reputation that cannot be bought.
Remember how people are finding your page and attract that audience
Again, the answer to this question will vary by industry. For example, if you run a restaurant or nightclub, people will be searching for somewhere to go out – make sure that the nightly specials are highlighted. If you are a local service provider – many people will do a proactive search for the organization only when there is a problem – interrupted service, problems with your product, etc. While this is regrettable, it is a fact of life that we should plan for now, rather than later.
Facebook pages are very highly rated within Google SEO rankings, and we can expect the Facebook page to be near the top of the page when people search for your organization or your industry. To head off people who find our page only when they are upset about some aspect of your business, we recommend constructing a custom-landing page. This page will contain some text outlining the organization’s mission and scope or any ongoing specials. It should also contain several different ways for the customer to contact us should they need anything. This will help you allow people different ways to call and vent their complaint directly to you before they write an angry post on our wall.
In reality, some customer will invariably write an angry wall post complaining about some problem they may have. These are always regrettable, but do not have the effect that you may think. Studies of corporate wall posts have found that customer complaints in and of themselves do not affect people’s views of the company, so long as they were quickly addressed by the company. They found that unanswered complaints were highly damaging. It wasn’t the fact that people were complaining, it was the fact that people were complaining and the company didn’t seem to care.
Looking to this lesson, the organization should do everything in it’s power to address any customer complaints as quickly as possible. This will have the combined effect of addressing the customer complaint, and showing everyone who sees it that you are committed to customer service.
With these goals in mind, the following steps should take place:
Immediate steps (Month 1)
Building a new Organizational Facebook page.
Building a new landing page for the Facebook page with logo, mission outline, contact methods, and any interactive RSS feeds that will keep the landing page content fresh.
Begin filling out relevant content to “fill-up” the page.
Ask internal staff to “like” the page, and recommend the page to their friends to help begin to build an audience.
Aim to provide 4 wall posts per week at a minimum.
Respond to every single wall post asking a question within 1 hour.
Encourage interaction with the audience by asking questions that are engaging to the reader. Every person who interacts with our page will greatly increase the visibility of the page.
Intermediate Steps (Month 2-6)
Continue to quickly and completely respond to any and all wall posts. This is crucial to the interactive nature of Facebook and social media.
Begin to highlight staff members to begin to humanize the organization. For this, we should begin with staff members who are most likely to deal with customers – on the phone or in person. This will help anyone who follows our page feel as if they know the people they are dealing with.
Begin a limited Facebook advertising effort to help increase the visibility of the page. This campaign will be very targeted and I would not recommend spending more than $1,000 overall.