How to Convince Your Skeptical Boss That Facebook Marketing Works

social media how toIs your business on Facebook?

Do you need to convince your boss—or a client—that Facebook is a worthy marketing investment?

In this article I’ll show you 7 things you can do to convince decision-makers of the value Facebook.

#1: Assess Your Goals

Before you can convince anyone that they need to be on Facebook, you’ll need to understand what they want to accomplish.

Remember that not every business needs to be on Facebook.

If you are in a B2B that sells concrete to two or three huge companies, LinkedIn might be a better fit.

goal

Not all businesses need to be on Facebook. Assess your business goals first. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Ask the following questions before you start planning a campaign to help you assess expectations and set goals.

  • What are your expectations? If you’re starting a Page from scratch, make it clear that’s it’s unrealistic to think a Page will grow from 0 to 100,000 likes overnight.
  • What kind of exposure do you want? Does your boss want to use Facebook for public relations or customer service? Or do you have a client that wants to use Facebook to promote limited-time offers or new products? How about increasing interaction (i.e., engagement) with existing customers? All of these are possible on Facebook.
  • What kind of feedback would be most helpful for you? Do you hope to learn more about what existing customers think of your products? Or does your boss want to learn more demographic information?
  • What demographic are you not currently reaching but is valuable to you? For example, do you hope to reach users in new regions, or older/younger or male/female users?
  • What are your competitors doing that you like/dislike? If you love what someone else in your business sector is doing, explain how you can take a similar approach and what you will do to set your company apart.
  • What kind of ROI do you expect? ROI is always a hot topic. Everyone wants to know how much more cash will be in the drawer if they invest in Facebook.

For starters, explain that ROI for social media can be measured by getting better customer feedback, increasing word-of-mouth marketing and gaining a better understanding of customers’ wants and needs.

roi

You need to understand social media ROI and know your company’s expectations. Image source: iStockPhoto.

#2: Do Your Homework

Since you’re asking your boss or your client to commit to Facebook, bring information that backs up your position. When doing research that will help support your pitch, focus on three areas.

Case StudiesFind examples of businesses that are similar and have vibrant Facebook presences. Explain what these brands are doing right and what you think they could be doing better. Be sure to include a couple of your client’s competitors in the roundup.

If you’re a sushi restaurant, show some examples of what other sushi restaurants are doing on Facebook.

reef sushi

In this example, Reef Sushi reaches out to their community with a nice Mother’s Day gift!

Market ResearchLook up user statistics on CheckFacebook.com to estimate the number of people within your client’s target audience who are on Facebook.

check facebook

CheckFacebook.com is a free social media monitoring platform that tracks data reported from Facebook’s advertising tool.

Facebook’s Future Projections—Find articles that predict Facebook user growth; focus on your client’s target market. eMarketer is a great resource for tracking industry trends and projections.

#3: Focus on the Opportunities

Based on goals, you’ll want to demonstrate how Facebook could help. Here are some different business opportunities.

For a young business. Present the branding opportunities Facebook has to offer. For example, focus on the opportunities for building awareness for a business in untapped regions, using Facebook ads and various targeting features.

Using Facebook advertising, you can target ads to people in specific cities (down to the zip code) and countries, or who have indicated specific interests on their profiles (sports, cooking, technology, travel, etc.).

For a client concerned with sales. Introduce several of Facebook’s many business-only features such as Offers. Find out whether there are conversions happening elsewhere and whether you need to connect with fans who are already on Facebook.

For example, Macy’s recently posted a code that fans could use for a discount both online and in stores.

macys facebook offer

Businesses big and small are taking advantage of the Facebook Offer features, which allow a business to offer something exclusive to their Facebook fans.

For an established business. Facebook offers businesses unique opportunities to show off their culture and brand. Customers love to see the people they do business with letting their hair down every once in a while. It makes them feel like they “know” the faces behind the brand and helps build loyalty.

Outdoor brand Patagonia frequently gives fans a look inside factory headquarters to show fans what the company is working on by featuring photos and posts about employees.

inside patagonia

A great way to show customers the faces behind the brand.

Remember to point out that customers are having conversations about them anyway, so they should jump in and take some control of what people are saying. Facebook can also provide another channel for customer service, crowdsourcing and feedback.

Major brands such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Lays and Budweiser have used crowdsourcing on Facebook to let their customers choose new flavors. In particular, Lays used Facebook to support their “Do Us a Flavor” competition where they asked their fans to pick the next Lays chip flavor.

lays

Lays gets their fans involved by asking them to vote for the next potato chip flavor.

#4: Be Honest About the Potential Risks

Being a target of public criticism is an issue that makes many CEOs and business owners nervous about having a Facebook presence. Part of your job is to address these fears, and tell them what you plan to do to minimize the risks.

For starters, you should create a crisis-management plan. Use the opportunity to demonstrate how you plan to deal with potentially negative comments and other feedback.

And explain why transparency is meaningful to customers. Use the opportunity to talk about the reasons customers like the transparency that social media allows—and how it can inspire loyalty. People don’t expect every business to do everything right 100% of the time, but they get really annoyed and loud if they are ignored.

facebook transparency

Facebook fans appreciate timely responses from a real person. Facebook is the perfect place to have open lines of communication with your fans.

#5: Estimate the Costs of Creating and Maintaining a Page

Create a simple spreadsheet or document that include estimates of what’s required to create and maintain a Facebook Page.

Here are some things to include when estimating the cost of your Facebook Page:

  • Estimate the hours a week needed to maintain a Facebook Page. The number of times per day and per week a brand posts depends on the type of business, but a small business should be able to manage a Facebook Page in 30 minutes a day or less (checking three times a day and dealing with comments, etc., in three 10-minute chunks). A larger business might need a dedicated staff member who monitors Facebook around the clock.
  • Estimate the cost of creating a professional-looking Facebook Page. Consider costs such as a graphic designer to create a series of cover photos and app thumbnails. And consider costs to redesign these in the event Facebook changes their specifications.
  • Include a budget for Facebook ads. If you decide that Facebook advertising is something that should be part of your overall Facebook plan, bring examples of the different types of Facebook ads and how much they might cost per month.
budget

Knowing your monthly budget can keep your business on track for reaching its goals on social media. Image source: iStockPhoto.

#6: Suggest a 60-Day Trial

If your company still isn’t convinced of the value of a Facebook presence, suggest a trial period that lasts at least 60 days. If you start off with a good strategy and keep expectations realistic, you’ll be well on your way. My motto is always under-promise and over-deliver!

At the start of the trial period, you will provide them with:

  • An outline that will include several realistic goals. Goals could include a 20% increase in the number of fans who engage with the Page by commenting and sharing (remember that fans who engage are more valuable than those who merely like a page), or a certain number of sales that result from a promoted deal.
  • A commitment to post a specific number of times per day or week.
  • A style guide for the Facebook Page, that should include suggested cover and profile photos, copy and voice. For example, do you want to be casual, informative or formal? Funny, conversational or journalistic? These details should be spelled out in a style guide.
facebook branding

Your Facebook Page should be branded like a website. Your cover photo, profile and apps should all represent your brand.

You’ll also want to point out that social media is ever-changing. And you’ll monitor and adjust your campaign according to what you discover about your fans and followers during the trial period.

#7: Round Up the Results

At the end of the trial period, discuss the results of the test. In your presentation, you could:

  • Include a wrap-up with details about accomplishments and lessons learned.
  • Make suggestions for tactics you will use going forward based on what you discovered during your trial.
  • Have a discussion about additional options for establishing an engaging Facebook presence, including using Facebook apps and Facebook advertising.

Use Facebook for Your Business

When you follow these steps, you’ll be able to show the value Facebook can bring to your client or business. Your company will then be able to figure out how to use Facebook and get the most out of it.

What do you think? Have you followed similar steps to get buy-in in your company? How successful were you? Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Jim Belosic

Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service software that allows businesses to create engaging campaigns for social, web and mobile. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.bizsuccessguide.com/ Efoghor Joseph Ezie

    It is possible to grow your business fanpage from 0 to a considerable number within a short period, by using the Facebook ads. This depends on your budget and the demographics you want to cover. It is easier to achieve this if you are working on a wider demographic than when you set out to reach a much targeted traffic.

    As for convincing your boss, you can give him examples of his competitors who have achieved more positive results being on Facebook. This would play a role at helping him make up his mind to take leverage of the numerous advantages presented by Facebook.

    Negative criticisms should not deter him from using a working system, because criticisms abound everywhere. He should be aware that the best way to take care of negative criticisms is to provide good customer service.

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    Great point about bringing information that backs up your position. Often when trying to sell an idea, service or product it’s the lack of information that makes them feel uncomfortable, but as Zig Ziglar said, “with new information comes a new decision.” Keep it handy.

  • Margarita Benyammine

    Great article! I think it’s a wonderful educational piece that’ll get individuals understanding the concept of marketing on Facebook and it’s worth. :) Always great to have evidence to support the cause!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Thanks for this, Jim! I really like #6: Suggest a 60-Day Trial. While the strategy would have to be really tight (as you’ve noted), I think it’s a great idea for companies who just “aren’t sure”. I even like this idea as a potential challenge for your own business: if you’re already on Facebook, give yourself 60 days to meet a particular goal. It would make for a great testing period!

  • Sarah Bauer

    The title of this piece caught my attention right away because convincing customers of the power of Facebook marketing is sometimes a challenge, especially when the customer is unclear of where to start for realistic expectations and anticipated ROI.

    That’s the thing: understanding the specifics of what a Facebook page can accomplish for a small business is really the first step in getting these individuals on board. “More sales” doesn’t cut it – it’s our job to show customers/bosses the breadth of Facebook marketing potential.

  • http://marketwithmario.com/ marketwithmario

    These are some valid points here. One stat that I love is that Facebook is the number 2 visited website behind Google. With that kind of traffic, it’s a good game plan to have a presence on Facebook.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    I agree! When you get to the point and show them not only the good but the bad as well, your pitch suddenly becomes more trustworthy. More information is key, and more HONEST information makes the decision easy for them.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Thank you!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Agreed. Even if you have to shift strategies a few times during the test, at least see it through to the end. The time period is important because it takes time to “curate” a social media audience. I’m a big fan of rapidly changing once we see that something isn’t working, but I almost never stop the entire test. Make some changes, but don’t quit.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    We have our work cut out for us :) I think that traditional-media salespeople have given us an uphill battle. If you’ve ever been cornered by a radio station salesman, their whole pitch is about making the cash register ring. With social media, the cash register will still ring, but there are many other benefits too. I believe that as a whole, consumers are not as enamored with advertising as they used to be. They are relying on referrals, word of mouth, and their personal “feelings” about the brand more than ever. Social Media is a great way to address all of the above!

  • Angela Wright

    Interesting angles in this post, thanks Jim. Particularly important to factor in the costs of maintaining along with reporting on the ROI of course.

  • Andrew Voirol

    When pricing the cost of managing a small business facebook page. What is a reasonable monthly rate for a full featured service. Including Photography, Design , Custom FB Apps (via ShortStack) ,Reporting, Staff Training, On-Site attention, etc…

  • Guus Rameckers

    Thanks for this article. It has great educational potential !

  • Heaven Jelo

    You really nailed this Jim.. It is really a good read.. Thanks for sharing…

  • AndrewTembo

    The growing popularity of Face book is increasing the potential for marketers and businesses. as businesses we have to go where our target clients are and not where we want to be

  • Michael Wilson

    Facebook is the most popular social media site in the world, there shouldn’t even be any reasons why you wouldn’t want to use it as a marketing platform! This is a really good posting because it highlights what potential businesses can do if they don’t know how to utilize Facebook to their fullest abilities. They should be able to come up with some creative ideas and strategies instead of the boring “buy our stuff” posts and nothing else. Give your followers engaging content that will want them coming back for more.

  • KirstenNelson

    Smart tips, Jim. When pitching a sale of any kind, must have a solid plan in place. Thanks for the insights!

  • Dara Khajavi

    This advice is also useful for skeptical bosses. I occasionally have difficulty measuring the success of Facebook marketing. These points will help me analyze the results of my employees.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    I couldn’t agree more. People get caught up in thinking they have to be on Facebook, but the truth is not every business is made for every social network. You have to go where your fans already are and grow from there. Thanks for your comment.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    It’s hard to give a firm price but you should expect to pay about $25/hour and it depends on the frequency of work you’re looking for. With ShortStack you can manage a small business Page for $30/month but once you get into freelancing out photography, design, reporting, staff training etc it can become expensive. My recommendation would be to hire one person who has all of these skills or if you’re not quite there yet get some interns from a local University and utilize their skills.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Thanks Dara, glad you found the article useful.

  • Anna Pham

    Cost and risk, for me are those important factors that are most likely to make your project fail the most, Therefore,special attentions should be given to them.

  • Andrew Voirol

    Awesome thanks for taking the time to reply JIm. I should have stated it differently, I own a company that offers those services (www.TheSocialDiner.com ) and I’m just reaching out in an attempt to determine how we can more competitively price our own service. And we use Shortstack exclusively, and love it!

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