2015 New Year’s Resolution: Take online marketing by the horns and ride it to success. Sure, things are going well, but you can always use more customers, right? What is the most effective way to grow your reach?

Increasingly, social media, and Facebook in particular, is becoming the answer to this question. The number of businesses that say Facebook is critical or important to their success has increased by 75%.
The fact is that your prospects are already on Facebook – can they find you?

Why Facebook?

One of the keys to successful social media marketing—or any type of marketing, really—involves finding your target market and going to them. To that point, Facebook saw an 80% increase in users over the age of 55 from 2011-2014. Boom- convinced.

Want more? Here are more 5 facts that will convince you of the business value of Facebook.

1.    With over 1.35 billion active members (that’s billion- with a b), Facebook is the biggest party on the block.
2.    Internet marketing research firm EMarketer estimates that approximately 51% of all internet users visit Facebook at least once a month.
3.    47% of Americans active on social networks say that Facebook has the greatest impact on their buying behavior. That number was 24% in 2012.
4.    23% of Facebook users check their accounts 5 or more times daily. Let’s do that math. That is 310,500,000 people accessing their account multiple times per day. Every. Single. Day.
5.    In 2012, 77% of B2C companies acquired a customer through Facebook.

Now, the only question is, “How do I start?”

Step 1: Create your business page.

Make a Facebook business page. A Facebook business page has a number of advantages.
•    Professional Look: A Facebook business page just looks more professional. Your credibility will suffer when posts about your practice and insurance prowess are sandwiched between a picture of your dog and, well, a sandwich.
•    SEO Friendly: Search engines index content on Facebook, helping search engine optimization.
•    Likes: People can “Like” your business page, giving you street cred in the social media world.
•    Analytics: Facebook business pages let you access Facebook Insights- a free analytical tool from Facebook. Use this tool to track key performance indicators.

If you haven’t already created a Facebook business page, you can do it here.

Step 2: Get to know your audience.

Now it’s time to think like your customer or prospect. You need to pinpoint your target audience. Ask yourself questions like these:

•    Who is most likely to want what you provide?
•    How old are they?
•    What life stage are they in?
•    Are they married?
•    How much money do they have?
•    What issues are they experiencing?
•    What questions do they have?
•    Where are they located?
•    What do they like?
•    When are they active on Facebook?

Based on your knowledge and previous conversations with clients and prospects, you will probably have an idea about the answer to at least some of these questions. If not, it’s time for some science. Experiment with your audience to see what resonates most strongly. Be sure to measure the results so you can track your progress and develop your goals (remember- Facebook Insights).

Step 3: Develop your goals.

Nice segue, huh? You’ll never be successful without first defining success. What is your overall goal here? Define it and then attack it.

If you’re trying to increase traffic to your blog or website, think mid-day, mid-week. Link-shortening service Bit.ly saw substantially higher click-through rates for links posted between 1 and 4 pm EST, with the highest rates coming on Wednesdays at 3 pm EST. If you want to grow your page through social sharing, consider posting on Saturdays. Marketing blog Kissmetrics found that Facebook shares increase on Saturdays at noon ET and 7 pm ET.

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines- the reality is that your goals will have to be developed around your specific audience. With your team, define these goals and then experiment to find the best way to meet them.

Step 4: Develop (and implement) a plan.

After defining your goals, it’s time to create a plan to help you meet that goal. Determine the type of content you will post and when you will post it. Find a voice for your business and stick to it. Map your plan and decide who will implement which parts (don’t forget to keep compliance monitoring in mind). Then put your plan into action. Monitor the results of your efforts in real time and make changes when necessary.

Step 5: Look good while doing it.

Show a little skin. Wave your little hat around. Sing a little song. Dance a little… well you get it. Show some personality. Granted, you have to keep compliance guidelines in mind, but this is a chance to show the human beings behind your logo. Try to be helpful and entertaining. Provide base level helpful information to establish your credibility in the field. Ask questions and encourage conversation. Reply to comments to show you’re paying attention. While you still need to be professional, this is a network and an audience that won’t mind if you loosen that tie and let your guard down just a little bit.

Do you have questions about social media or other online marketing options? Tarkenton Financial agents have access to our team of online marketing specialists to help. Call us today if you need help getting started with Facebook for your practice!

View More