Jennifer Sheahan: Cracking the Facebook Code
In every generation, there are game-changing advancements that redefine business. From the automobile and television, to the VCR and Internet, the evolution of technology drives our consumptive habits. Today, there are arguably fewer more engrossing, time-consuming habits than that of the world’s current phenomenon, Facebook.
While more than 900 million people worldwide have active accounts, few businesses take full advantage of this enormous marketplace. For most, this is not due to a lack of desire—it stems from a lack of knowledge. When industry stalwarts such as Anthony Robbins and Frank Kern sought to leverage Facebook’s tremendous reach and recognized their limited ability for effectively making this happen, they turned to Jennifer Sheahan. Jennifer has cracked the Facebook code and created powerful strategies that are neither complex nor expensive. To affect a veritable Facebook frenzy and drive this powerful, captive audience towards your products and services, of her many strategies, Jennifer recommends beginning with these two.
1) Create both a personal and business page.
Do not make the mistake of having one Facebook presence that combines personal and business items. Taking this approach will result only in confusion. Business customers may be temporarily amused with funny pictures of your nephew, but in the long run they’ll view you and your company as being out of touch with their needs and wants. And while those close to you may find your new white paper intriguing, they’re not likely to be your ideal customer and may be annoyed by your business-related postings.
A personal page should be exactly that—personal—and reserved for friends and family. In other words, avoid letting everyone into your home. Doing so is not only potentially dangerous, but could also have harmful repercussions. A business page should be reserved for business—nothing more, nothing less. It should serve to enhance your brand, generate sales, and disseminate corporate information.
2) Determine if you have a ‘Direct’ or ‘Indirect’ sales/brand-building strategy.
Indirect sellers seek to expand their online presence but do not sell products online. These include companies such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks. Yes, they may offer t-shirts, mugs, coupons and special offers that can be redeemed locally, but you can’t put a cup to the monitor and grab yourself a Venti Vanilla Latte. Therefore these businesses are considered indirect sellers.
Successful Facebook indirect marketers understand that building and maintaining a successful company hinges on its ability to engage. Coca-Cola, for example, runs contests, encourages interaction, and offers customers the opportunity to send a “virtual pick-me-up” to friends and family. They currently have 36 million fans. Pepsi, on the other hand, introduces multiple products but fosters little interaction among customers. They currently have slightly more than 6 million fans. Considering Coca-Cola sells around twice as much product as Pepsi, that it garners six times as many fans is remarkable.
Coca-Cola clearly understands that, above all else, its Facebook presence is about the creation of an entertainment-driven experience, not the provision of a direct call-to-action. Loyalty is created when strong intangibles are delivered. In other words, what’s not said ultimately creates permanence and establishes position in the customer’s subconscious. When customers head to the marketplace, purchase decisions are directly tied to their brand connection. Indirect sellers view Facebook as an opportunity to strengthen such customer relationships.
Direct sellers seek to sell products and services directly to end-users online. These include companies such as TechSmith, Zynga, and University of Phoenix.
Effective direct sellers focus on benefits and encourage sampling. The harsh reality is no one cares about fancy logos or gimmicks. In the social media world, people have little patience and want to get right to the meat of the product.
Answering the customer’s question of, “Why do I care?” as quickly as possible is key. Today’s marketers leverage the power of video and show the product in action. This is often complimented with video testimonials. Once hooked, discounts and incentives to purchase should be provided immediately. The online customer loathes waiting for the “ask.” Once they’re ready, show them where to enter their credit card information.
Drama doesn’t cut it. Neither does fancy. Customers today are much too wise and have moved far beyond old methodologies. If they feel too much money was spent on building a site, they automatically equate this to increased costs. Attempts to over-impress lead to the worst sound in the world—wallets snapping shut.
There’s little doubt that Facebook offers immediate and powerful opportunities. That said, so did CompuServe and MySpace. The Internet is a vast, often volatile, landscape reminiscent of the Wild West, and can be just as unpredictable. Business longevity is the direct result of being proactive, maintaining awareness of the market’s evolution, getting while the getting’s good, and being adequately prepared for what’s next.
Facebook should absolutely be a component of your overall promotional strategy, but you shouldn’t depend on any one resource for your marketing. As with investing, always diversify, because there’s no telling what the future will bring.