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Facebook Lessons Learned...

As I mentioned last week, this week we'll be taking a look at a few of the things we've learned about marketing on Facebook. This guide is by no means exhaustive, but it will help you avoid a few of the most common pitfalls you'll face when planning a Facebook event or campaign. Social media is great, because if you can imagine it, there's usually a way to do it. We've found the hardest part is focusing all of that possibility into something we can use effectively. Hopefully, this simple guide will help you to enjoy it! We do! Now on to what we've learned.............
  • Set Goals
"Those who aim at nothing in particular, generally hit their target". This is the same on Facebook as it is anywhere else! Be specific about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to increase foot-traffic at a particular time of day? Are you looking for referrals? Do you want to raise brand awareness? Are you trying to draw your audience to a particular event? Just like any other marketing that you do, its effectiveness will increase dramatically if you set your goals ahead of time. It will also help you with the rest of your planning process as well.
  • Know Your Audience
Take a few moments to consider the people you are trying to reach. If your business caters primarily to students, doing a social campaign during the school year on week-days between 9 am and 5 pm will not work for you. Likewise, if your audience is a professional group, you will need to account for the fact that some of your players will only be on at certain hours. The best thing you can do is watch your page for a few weeks and take note of the days that you get more traffic. We noticed that we get the bulk of our weekly traffic on Wednesdays, so Wednesday is now our official event day.
  • Plan Ahead
This is time consuming, and not much fun, but planning ahead will allow you to enjoy the promotion and engage your audience while it's happening. Try to lay out any necessary posts ahead of time and make sure that each post provides clear direction. Decide on times, and be aware that new posts will hide the visibility of your older ones. Be as specific as possible in your posts so that your audience knows what the buzz is all about! If you plan ahead of time it will allow you to respond to people as they post or comment on your page which is a great way to let people know that you really are involved. Also, keep in mind that you cannot collect data directly from Facebook, so if you are trying to get referrals or contact info you will need to plan on a way to get that info. (P.S.- We can help you with that!)
  • Get Them to the Party!
Build supporting pieces! Postcards, statement stuffers, e-mail blasts, and all of those other marketing tools at your disposal will help you to increase the level of involvement. If you throw a party and nobody comes, it's usually because no one knew there was a party! The bigger the event, the more you will need to get the word out ahead of time. Trust me, this is a lesson I have learned first-hand. (We can help you with this too!)
  • Keep Them There
In order to comply with Facebook regulations, you will most likely need to have another means to collect data from those playing. This goes back to planning as well. It's ok to have them go somewhere else to enter to win, but make sure you ask them to come back to the page and let you know they have done it. If there isn't any activity on your page, it will look like no one is playing. Encourage people to comment or post (but make sure you read the guidelines that Facebook has for this first!)
  • Follow Up
Now that you have all of that info, make sure you thank everyone for playing! If part of entering your contest was providing you with an e-mail address you should send them a note and thank them for playing. It's also a great time to offer them a promotion! Increased user engagement will always lead to increased participation, so give them an offer they can't refuse!  (And yes, we can help you with that as well) Above all, be aware of the rules. Facebook has very specific rules on how you are supposed to engage your audience. Failing to obey them may result in your Facebook account being suspended or deleted. Taking the time to read and understand the necessary steps can save you from the unpleasantness of a deleted Facebook page! Good luck and enjoy yourself!  

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