Although often embellished, the decline of a business's organic reach on Facebook isn't a secret. In recent algorithm changes, Facebook has made efforts to cut down on advertisements that mimic regular posts. Although Facebook wants to monetize its platform, it also wants to optimize user engagement, whether that pertains to businesses or not. Facebook isn't bringing down organic reach; it's causing companies to re-approach the methods they use to engage the public on the social media platform.
According to Facebook, the social media behemoth had 829 million daily active users and 1.32 billion overall users in June of 2014. These are astronomical figures. Considering the numbers, not using or under-utilizing Facebook to market your business is inexcusable. However, creating conversations that don't translate to conversions is a waste of time and resources. To form a valuable presence on social media, you must first know why creating quality conversations increases conversions. These eight reasons offer perspective on why conversations are valuable and how engagement on social media relates to increased conversions.
It's a Promotional Vehicle
Facebook's new algorithms may filter out "hard selling" on its platform, but that doesn't mean you can't promote your company on social network. One of the main reasons a customer may have "Liked" your page is to receive updates on new products, promotional offers, coupons, and freebies. Once your page is "Liked," it's your responsibility to promote your company and its products.
Fundamentally, this is the base of your social media presence and a primary goal of social media marketing. One of the easiest ways to begin a conversation that leads to conversion is to always present value. Users are happy to share coupons or an inside scoop on a bargain.
It's a Branding Platform
Even if your customer initially "Liked" your page to receive discounts, the online relationship provides an excellent opportunity to also brand your business. Whether it's an image, a quote, or anything else, posting something on Facebook is a direct reflection of your brand identity. This allows you to separate your brand from competitors while triggering an emotional response from your customers. Many times, posting for the sake of branding is effective in creating the most engagement from social media users.
Creates User-Generated Content
User-generated content, resulting from your own content, is an excellent vehicle for engagement and has a notably strong effect on conversions. User-generated content performs two functions. For one, user-generated content is also shared on the user's page and whoever may respond to his or her content. This furthers your organic reach.
Secondly, marketer-generated content that elicits customer reactions can also cause a dialogue within a customer base. For example, customers may post/discuss a particular product and, in essence, promote and review your product or company. Creating ongoing contests, asking questions, or coming up with something that implicitly requires responses are excellent ways to promote user-generated content. Remember, the goal is to promote interaction.
Drives Traffic to Your Website
Your Facebook posts are excellent opportunities to drive traffic to your website, whether it's a product landing page or specific blog post on the website. Bite-sized Facebook posts are shared more often, so entire blog posts shouldn't be shared via Facebook. However, embedded teaser posts, when shared, can yield higher referral traffic to your website. By embedding your posts, they're also more interactive with Facebook users. Your goal is to use Facebook as a tool to expand and engage your audience, not to rely on Facebook and its algorithms as a primary marketing platform. The goal is to converse to convert.
Provides Greater Reach
With the sheer amount of users, Facebook is an excellent tool to expand your reach to increase conversions. By providing a content vehicle to evoke a reaction from your audience, as well as between users, you exponentially broaden your audience. This is one of the most valuable characteristics of Facebook for marketers. Every time your content receives a comment, is "Liked," or is shared, your content posts on other users' pages. In the end, the goal is to create shareable, interesting content users are happy to share with friends and family.
Informs Your Customer Base
Somewhere between promotions and branding is space reserved for infotainment -- or branded information. Facebook provides an excellent platform for fun "how-to" guides, promoting any kind of charitable work, posting short videos, or publishing just about anything else that may engage your audience. There's no reason to post a dry technical white paper; information that's highly digestible and shareable is an excellent way to start conversations.
It's the Ideal Place for Reviews
Although placing customer reviews on your website is a good idea, customer reviews on Facebook reach a lot more people. If someone is already visiting your website, then they're already interested in your product or service. Positive reviews, even if it causes a less-than-ideal reaction among other users, produce a shareable dialogue.
According to a survey by Dimensional Research, 90 percent of respondents reported being influenced by positive reviews online when making purchasing decisions. With such an overwhelming number, along with Facebook's vast viewership, including reviews on Facebook posts is a conversation that's directly related to conversions.
Creates Brand Trust
When a social media marketing campaign is executed well, it should produce trust in your company. By blending promotions with infotainment and branding with customer reviews, your audience won't only stay engaged but they'll also view your company as a trustworthy brand. Customer interaction, dialogue, and conversations work wonders in gaining customer trust. Even if a user isn't ready to buy, your social media presence and the trust it creates positions your company for conversion when customers are ready. Your campaign and its posts should leave a positive, memorable impression.
In the age of social media, the "hard sell" is a thing of the past. When the operative word in a marketing campaign is "social," approaching conversions like a pushy car salesmen will reap very little benefit. In social media, creating quality, shareable content is much more important, and these eight reasons are why conversations lead to conversions.