The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Are you using Facebook as a sales tool?

Like many companies, you’ve probably created a Facebook page for your business. But are you using this platform as a sales tool? Frederic Gonzalo, a speaker, trainer and consultant for Gonzo Marketing, gives you his best tips to optimize your page and get it working for you.

Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)Why should business owners use Facebook as a sales tool?

Frederic Gonzalo (F.G.) – For a few reasons: Every month, 1.8 billion active users go on Facebook for an average of twenty minutes per session. People spend a lot of time consuming information filtered by Facebook, which they aren't spending on newspapers or traditional media. Given this, and the fact that users provide a lot of information about their lives to Facebook, behavioural targeting for promotions is much more accurate than it is on Twitter or LinkedIn. When the platform is used properly, brands have an opportunity to reach their customers directly by becoming a seamless part of their news feed.

However, you should use this platform as part of a well-thought-out marketing strategy. Because you should always ask a key question before creating a Facebook page: “Why is my business on Facebook?” Is your goal to boost sales or enhance your brand’s reputation? Too often, companies only think about this once they’ve put up their page.

Read now: Principles for effective Facebook marketing

CCMMWhat is the first rule for using Facebook as a sales tool?

F.G. – I can instead tell you the first mistake to avoid: Don't be in constant self-promotion mode. Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the content you share needs to be informative. For example, you can share relevant studies, educate with infographics, discuss a new trend, and involve the audience with a call-to-action such as “What do you think about this?” Only 20% of your content should be self-promotional. Unfortunately, companies tend to do the opposite and only talk about themselves in 90% of their posts.

People will find your page more relevant when you post content that interests them and teaches them something. After sharing useful information five or six times, you can then post, for example, that your company is open for new contracts or that customers can register for an activity, etc.

Don’t confuse the news feed (which needs to give the user content) with the Facebook advertising tool, which lets companies boost their posts.

“A fatal Facebook mistake to avoid: constant self-promotion”

CCMMWhat advice would you give to companies that want to promote products or services?

F.G. – Take the time to test your posts, because there is a lot of trial and error with Facebook. Your company has to understand what users want because the platform “pushes” the content that gets the most reactions.

You also need to get visual: try testing video, live video, and slideshows with music. These formats are all opportunities to highlight what you sell. For example, you could give an overview of your current promotions live from your brick-and-mortar store (Instagram also has this functionality). You could create a product catalogue through the post slideshow feature too. You can promote all of this content to reach more people, particularly in a specific geographic region, thanks to the location targeting function.

Another good practice is to use an image carousel and provide a link to your website to invite customers to learn more about the images. I want to stress that you should always link to your website. This is the very purpose of a Facebook page, since the platform serves as a content amplifier.

CCMM What are some useful Facebook functionalities that companies can use for business development?

F.G. – Having a Facebook community is a resource in itself for business development. Direct contact lets you take the pulse of your fan base about a product or service you want to develop. You can also improve your customer experience, for example, by responding to comments or reviewing the opinions that people post.

You can even create offers or sell tickets for your page events. Facebook really has no shortage of tools to help you develop your sales!

CCMMCan you talk about investing in Facebook promotions versus Google AdWords?

F.G. – I get this question a lot. These are two completely different types of campaigns. People who use Google are in “search mode.” They’re typing a combination of keywords. To show up and be well positioned on the search results page, companies need to create content that gives people what they’re searching for. Companies can do this by buying keywords or optimizing their websites for SEO. Consumer behaviour on search engines isn’t the same at all. Each company has to decide which channel is best for them.

My last piece of advice is more general, and it’s that building a community takes time. While it’s easy to get short-term results through sponsored posts that are effective, building community loyalty is a medium- to long-term effort.

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