Facebook has become a significant platform for Internet Marketing, causing major companies, such as Vitamin Water and Oreo, to jump on the bandwagon (and pretty successfully at that). But why? Well for one, Facebook has over 500 million users—a vast audience to say the least. And two: it’s FREE!
So how does the average small business owner get their message out to their target market and how do they build that coveted fan-base? To begin, consistency and commitment are a MUST. Like with any other marketing tactic, the business owner must stay consistent and committed—tools such as a posting schedule may be helpful.
At Encharter Insurance, we post 2-3 times per day, like clockwork. Of course, keeping our audience in mind, we know that hard sales pitches are not typically effective on Facebook. However, its Facebook’s social, laid back which allows us to reveal the personality of the agency through our posts. With that being said, we still intentionally allow for leads to be generated through the Encharter Insurance Fan Page. It’s a very delicate balance—the content we post on Facebook must attract our target public, while also retaining the relationship and inevitably growing our book of business.
Encharter has found success through trial and error—which ultimately led us to discover that middle ground. For example, we might start the day with a post asking, “What is your favorite flavor of Cheerios?” – it’s this comment that tends to spark more interaction from Facebook Fans, allowing us to build a dialogue and leads to fruitful relationships with those prospects. We then can enhance that earlier post with by asking, “When was the last time you talked to us about your MA Car Insurance?” – this second comment then acts as a reminder to those prospects that when they are searching for dependable auto coverage, Encharter Insurance is ready and willing to fulfill that need. To further cultivate a “fan-base” business owners must return to their roots and take advantage of good, old-fashion, traditional marketing.
Don’t forget about the power of word-of-mouth! Companies have to spread the word—and actually, tell people they’ve got a Facebook Fan Page. Put signs in your agency windows; integrate the Facebook logo on receipts, invoices and business cards. Often businesses will place a link to their Facebook Fan Page within email signatures and on the company website. The public knows how to respond when they see a Facebook logo.
Lastly, contests and promotions are an effective way to garner “fans”. You need a call to action. People love pictures and videos, so photo and video contests can definitely catch a person’s eye and initiate interest. Contests in which people vote, are typically successful—if the winner is chosen by voting, then each voter must be a “fan” of your business’ Facebook page in order to vote; i.e. each contestant’s friends and family come to know about the business through the promotion of the contestant, at NO COST to the business owner!
At Enchanter, we held a “Coolest Pet Contest”, where people could post a picture of their pet on our Fan Page and the winner was chosen by whichever picture had the greatest number of votes. It worked out well for us because people like pictures as it is, but pictures of cute puppies are always a win-win! Facebook is a terrific Internet Marketing tool that, when used appropriately, can really give your business the competitive edge it needs.
Remember to be consistent with your posts and your message – being genuine is crucial – don’t forget about the power of traditional word-of-mouth, and lastly, don’t forget to have fun when brainstorming new ways to attract your target audience.
About the Author: Kenneth F. Petersen, CPCU, is CEO of Encharter Insurance and a 20 year veteran of the industry. Encharter offers insurance services to both MA and CT with seven offices total across both states. Kenneth has worked both as an insurance producer and as an insurance company underwriter for many years prior to starting Encharter.