Consumer Pulse: Can Facebook really help businesses better understand and reach their customers?

Author: Ramanth Vadlamudi,

The online business galore offers huge opportunities for innovative marketing techniques. To assess the efficacy of these techniques, the most basic tool is the sales component. Higher the sales, more efficient is the marketing campaign/tool. This conventional sales oriented assessment model however is not highly effective in a market where 1% conversion is considered to be good.

A website or an online shop doing business well can have anywhere between a few hundred to thousands of visitors on a daily basis depending on the nature of the business. Assessment of performance using conventional methodologies is not very much effective hence. So how should one assess whether the performance is scaling up or tumbling down; and more importantly how to notice the profitability or lack of it before actual sales figures?

There are many tools online which can help businesses keep a track on their performances. These tools have been used substantially to market the products and hence can also be used to assess the inclination of the consumers – Omniture by Adobe is a good example of such a software. However, most of them are highly expensive and are used by business giants only. But one of the most effective tools-Facebook- is FREE.

Think of a post made regarding a product or a service. The number of likes and responses to the post are a major indicator of the consumer behavior online. This is one way to receive a feedback without asking for one and can highlight how receptive the end users will be. Even though Facebook does not offer a lot of features for marketing purposes, but it can be used as a powerful tool for promotion because it provides the option of “word of mouth” advertising equivalent to consumers. To understand this better, consider the following point:

  • You always opt for a product or a service that has been highly recommended by a friend or an acquaintance. This is what happens with advertising on Facebook where you consider opting for the product/service by a user recommending it and not the seller himself. The lack of excessive marketing features on this social networking medium makes the “friendly” recommendations more believable and hence marketing more formidable. To put it simply, if your friend likes something on Facebook, you will believe that it is good.

Another feature of Facebook that helps businesses understand the brand performance better is by the use of the page insights. There are four metrics for the insight feature which include:

  1. Total likes
  2. People talking about this
  3. Friends or Fans
  4. Weekly Total Reach

Here is a sample page for Facebook Marketing Solutions insights:


Using all these parameters, you can easily see the following:

  1.  How well you have connected with the consumers.
  2.  Tracking how user share the posts, business can analyze the reach of the post and hence get valuable insight in creating posts which are more engaging.
  3. Smart business can chose photos, videos or texts that’s has been highly liked on Facebook for using on other marketing channels like newspaper, magazines, Youtube, etc. (testing their marketing material pushing it through other media)..

The remarkable success of these features on Facebook has also prompted Google + to create business models which will help companies to create pages and use circles for connectivity and business analytics. That will of course be an additional resource, but till then using Facebook will help grasp the pulse of the consumers easily.

So if you are a business or planning to start one (even artists, entertainers, etc) can create Business Account on Facebook. Creating a Facebook Business page takes just 5, here is an article from Hubspot that shows you how.  Also, see this video from Hubspot explaining how a business can easily create a business page:

From the above video its clear that Facebook Business page can be very helpful for business (both big and small) to get their word out, track customers, increasing engagement, spread the word, test different products and overall connect and understand the ‘Pulse’ of their customer. However, what are some of the steps that a business needs to take to be successful in its campaign?

Besides making their business page and adding some bio and pictures, here are some things that a business can plan on doing:

  • Customize your Profile Page:

Besides, adding info about your business page, pictures and contact information. Your page can be highly customized to look fabulous. However, if you plan to do it yourself, you need to learn Facebook Markup Language (FBML). Here is an interesting article by Technipedia that talks about: How to build a perfect Facebook page. If you are willing to learn the language, it is very similar to HTML, and would help you create content that would improve customer/fan experience.

If you are not comfortable with programming, you can look at some of these sites that help you build a Facebook page for your business. Most of them is free:

Here are some customized pages:

  • Offer Deals:

Customers love deals and special offer. This is by far the easiest way to get attention and Facebook likes. However, you need to be careful as to how you use it to your advantage.

  1. Don’t do it too often – it would make you come across as cheap and customers would always expect it.
  2. Make it special – don’t cross promote on multiple channel. This would help you guage the return on investment
  3. Be creative – offer deals which directs traffic to your website, your product and also gets you publicity. Deals which make news and gets covered by media helps reach a lot more people. Think of it as guerrilla marketing!
  • Encourage Engagement:

Facebook followers like to engage and interact when there is something scially relevant, its an issue that is important to them or society, the topic is fun and exciting. Yes, it is tough to continously do this, but, that is why it is so important to have an some resources put aside for managing Facebook page. It takes time, effort and intuition to engage your fans and to find new ones.

The simplest way to engage the fans is to have an active Facebook wall, post updates on new products, ask your fans questions or even share interesting company insights with them. You can even allow them to comment and post on the company Facebook wall. However, some companies that are control freak might stay away from allowing their fans to post on the wall to ensure quality. (This is totally up to you and how you want to showcase yourself).

Other ways to engage the customer would be to share photos that are relevant, post interesting articles (yes, it shows that the company is aware of what’s happening around them), run polls, etc. You just need to come across as an active and engaging company!

To conclude, Facebook is an excellent platform to connect and track your customers. If you would like to learn more about using Facebook as a platform for marketing purposes, here are some useful videos from Facebook: Facebook Marketing Videos.

Please share any benefits or drawbacks that you might have noticed with using Facebook campaign. Also, if you have any questions regarding using Facebook as a tool, feel free to contact us at: admin@consumerinstinct.com.

 

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Teddy

Content Writer

With a background in consumer research and psychology, Atul has a passion for anything dealing with human behavior. Evolutionary theorist at heart, he likes to examine consumers from a survival point of view.

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About Teddy
With a background in consumer research and psychology, Atul has a passion for anything dealing with human behavior. Evolutionary theorist at heart, he likes to examine consumers from a survival point of view.
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