Marketing on Facebook: Setting Realistic Goals & Expectations

Facebook is a relatively new marketing medium and companies are still attempting to gauge expectations, goals and return on investment. Facebook has the traffic everyone wants to reach, but often times knowing what to expect is one of the biggest challenges companies face.

Facebook goals

With that, let’s talk about what Facebook is and what it isn’t with relation to marketing.

Facebook is a place where people go to share, interact, stock friends and waste time. People spend more time on Facebook than any other site on the internet. What are they doing there? Looking at photos, clicking through profiles, watching videos and browsing items shared with them.

Facebook isn’t a place where people are actively searching for things they want to buy or new ways to do things. People on Facebook take the passive approach to learning about new things. Products and services are usually found via friends or a fan page that they’ve opted into receiving info from by clicking “Like”.

Why do people “like” Facebook fan pages and opt-in to receive information from companies?

Well, the number one reason is because their friends liked the page first and they followed suit. The second most popular reason is because they know and like a brand and want to get updates, deals and exclusive content from the page. And lastly, they came across an ad that attracted them to a facebook landing page with an offer in exchange for “liking” the page.

What are reasonable goals and expectations when marketing on Facebook?

Facebook’s revenue impact isn’t something that can be interpreted using traditional online analytic tools. This is due to the fact that conversions seldom happen due to Facebook alone. Instead of the typical sales process we are used to with other mediums such as pay-per-click, where people are in the active buying phase, traffic coming from Facebook may not even be ready to buy yet. This makes goal setting very difficult if you are expecting straight conversions via Facebook.

A typical Facebook conversion scenario might look something like this:

  1. Prospect or customer likes a business page
  2. They read helpful updates from blog posts, photos & deals – many of which point to the company’s website
  3. Prospect gets more familiar with company based on Facebook posts and company website
  4. Company website does the “heavy lifting” and converts traffic to lead or sale

The typical conversion on Facebook comes via top-of-mind awareness and relationship building. What we’ve seen in cases where our clients regularly update their Facebook page is that customers are more likely to trust them when its time to buy.

The key phrase being: “when it’s time to buy”.

If you are looking for quick conversions, try pay-per-click. If you want to build a following of loyal customers who learn to trust you over time, use Facebook. Marketing on Facebook is a long term relationship building process. No matter what type of business you’re in – B2C or B2B – It’s about becoming the company people think of first when they are ready to buy.

Setting goals for Facebook marketing that include relationship building and customer service will allow you to see gains long term. Knowing what to expect when marketing on Facebook will help you stay the course.

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  • Do you have any thoughts about what a reasonable goal for “People Talking About This” metric should be? Most of my clients range from 4-5% (that is, of every 100 people who “like” the page about 4 or 5 are “talking” about it) but for restaurants and places where people can “check in” the number goes as high as 18% during busy seasons. My client wants me to set a specific goal. Thoughts? 

    • Hello Laura, 

      We’ve seen how these statistics can vary widely across industries where people “naturally” add more chatter to the metric by checking-in etc. as well. Even so, I would say 5% isn’t a bad average. However, it may be too soon to set goals as Facebook will be showing these stats in real time soon (see: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/26/facebook-insights-real-time/ ) and you could easily set unrealistic goals for yourself. 

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