3 Keys to Connecting with Customers on Facebook

By: Kyle Lacy

From: IGC Retailer, January/February, 2013

 
3 Keys to Connecting with Customers on Facebook
It’s easier to connect with people who are the right fit for your garden center, like current and potential customers, by using Facebook ads. The ad platform within Facebook allows you to customize your ads to a specific group of people based on:

•  Demographic information

•  Relationship status

•  Geography (city search)

•  “Interests” and “likes”

When Facebook made changes, it not only implemented an overall page redesign, it also amped up its ad platform for business users. Now, there are three features that can enhance your ad campaigns: social context, custom audience ads and sponsored stories.

1. Social Context
Social context is a metric that helps you optimize your ad campaigns. Facebook often talks of “igniting the graph,” which means increasing the social context of your ads - or the percentage of your ad’s impressions where at least one friend “liked” the ad.

The social context metric tells you the percentage of your ad’s impressions where the views saw at least one friend who “liked” your page, event, application or ad. This means that your “likes” are able to influence their friends to “like” your page. Think of an overall endorsement of your page by your endorsers.

According to online magazine ClickZ, “Facebook insists endorsements have the potential to dramatically improve ad recall and engagement. In research conducted on Facebook’s behalf, Nielsen reported people who have seen an ad with social context are 68 percent more likely to remember it, and twice as likely to recall its content, compared with ads that have no ‘likes.’ Additionally, the researcher found purchase intent was four times higher when Facebook users were exposed to ads with social advocacy.”

Plain and simple, this allows the customers of your garden center who also “like” your Facebook page to support you to their friends. You buy the support and push it to the masses.

2. Custom Audience Ads
Custom audience ads allow marketers to use their e-mail subscriber list to target advertising on Facebook. This is important if you’re actively building an e-mail database through your garden center’s Facebook or social accounts. While most agree this could be a really big deal, some skeptics see this as an invasion of privacy or a misunderstanding of channel preferences. It’s up to you to decide, but like I always say, “It’s OK to be a little creepy.”

Custom audience ads let your garden center submit a text or CSV file of privacy-protected hashed e-mail addresses, phone numbers or Facebook user IDs and has Facebook target those people with a specific ad.

This is not an invasion of privacy. Facebook doesn’t gain access to all of the segmented data associated with the e-mail subscriber. The e-mail address, phone number or Facebook user ID is only used to make the connection between the advertiser and the Facebook user. The only new data Facebook will receive is the brand association, which is still an “interest.”

Will this help marketers in a big way? Depends on your message. Our research shows that 77 percent of consumers still prefer to receive special offers via e-mail, not Facebook. However, both Facebook advertising and e-mail can work nicely to integrate messaging across channels, as long as the voice is appropriate for the channel.

3. Sponsored Stories
Facebook refers to all content, whether created by a user or repurposed from a website, as a “story.” Even 140-character updates are considered “stories.” Sponsored stories let your target audience know when their friends engage with your business, app, place, page or game. Since people are interested in what their friends care about, sponsored stories help you build word of mouth naturally and reach far more people.

Sponsored stories are messages coming from friends about their engagement with a page, app or event that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight, so there’s a better chance people see them.

A sponsored story can be created when someone:

• “Likes” a page

• “Likes” or comments on a page’s post

• RSVPs to a page’s event

• Votes on a page’s question

• “Checks in” to a place

• Uses an app or plays a game

• “Likes” or “shares” a website

With Facebook ads, an advertiser creates a message to share and chooses who they want to reach. Ads are sometimes paired with news about actions your friends have taken, such as “liking” a page or RSVPing to an event.

Every new advance that Facebook makes is important to your garden center. Facebook is building an ad model that will be the future of advertising for both socially aware brands and local brands.

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