Last Updated on October 9, 2015
Once a month Local U invites our faculty and other experts to an in-depth discussion of a topic of interest to local businesses. This month, Matt Siltala of Avalaunch Media joins David Mihm, Will Scott, Mary Bowling and Mike Blumenthal as they discuss how to best leverage Facebook both pre- and post-sale in the small business environment.
Mike: All right, we’re live with LocalU, and the topic of today’s hangout is Facebook marketing for local business. Why don’t you each introduce yourselves real quickly while we’re waiting for Will to join us.
Mary: Mary Bowling, LocalU Ignitor Digital.
Matt: Matt Siltala with Avalaunch Media.
David: And I’m David Mihm, the Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz and also with LocalU.
Mike: And for those of you that don’t recognize me, I’m Mike Blumenthal with LocalU & GetFiveStars. So today’s topic is using Facebook as a marketing tool for local business. Clearly, there’s a lot of disruptions in the SERPs, a lot of attention is always paid to Google, but it does seem like Facebook is making a much bigger play for direct to local business. And so, hopefully, today we can help small businesses figure out how they best fit into it.
I’m just curious, to open, if you guys would respond to this question which is: Do you see Facebook better as a presale, prospecting new client tool? Or better as a post-sale, customer relations, customer retention tool? How do you see it fitting into the funnels in and out of a business?
Matt: Well, I’ll start with this one just because a couple of thoughts first came to me when we talked about that. And I don’t want to start this off by saying, “It’s both.” But it depends, and I don’t like using that word it depends either, but if you’re working with…
Mike: Particularly when you’re 65 and you’re thinking about buying some of them, it’s a particularly unpleasant word.
Matt: Oh, man, we went down in a hurry, didn’t we? But it really comes to, from what I see, to the budget of the particular client. A lot of times the smaller, local business doesn’t have all kinds of money to be throwing at Google AdWords, for example. And so, a lot of the suggestions would be a much more affordable choice, which is Facebook and sponsored-type posts, and what not. So I think with a lot of those smaller budget ones, it’s a great source for getting in front of the new businesses, but it’s also that great source for retaining them, as well.
Because once they make someone happy on Facebook, and you might have been put in front of them because of a sponsored post or whatnot, but let’s say they went and serviced them. An A/C person for example, went and took care of someone because they found a sponsored post, and they found out they were really trustworthy, and what not. And then the next time someone in that group, or part of that other person’s circle asks, “Where is a good, reliable source [for air conditioning]?”
I talk about air conditioning, because definitely here in Arizona, it’s something that’s always on our mind. But when they ask about who they can trust, or who’s honest, boom, they automatically have that source to fall back on. So for me, I would say, it’s definitely both, but especially the smaller client that doesn’t have any budget using it for getting in front of people, whereas something that’s much more affordable than Google AdWords. And that’s just what I think.
Mike: Welcome, Will. Sorry you were a little late. Maybe you could introduce yourself real quickly. And answer the question, how you see Facebook fitting into the pre or post-sales funnel most appropriately for most local businesses? Assuming you have audio.
Will: Yes. Can you guys hear me now?
Will: Okay, so that was my challenge. I was actually doing a little pretest with one of my team.
Matt: Look at that nice view Will has.
Will: Hey, can you guys see the Super Dome back there? It’s washed out because of the high light, but in this spot right here is the Louisiana Super Dome home of the New Orleans Saints.
Matt: I didn’t want to talk about the Saints right now. Okay, sorry. Moving on.
Will: Listen, it is…
Mike: Is it a football team?
Will: Some have suggested they might be one day. But that said, so I’m Will Scott. I head Search Influence. We are, as you can see out my window, clearly headquartered in New Orleans. And we work primarily through channel partners, bringing search and social to local businesses.
So to answer the question of where Facebook sits in that marketing mix, I often credit Facebook with bringing me away from search and toward traditional online advertising. Right? So I started out in the olden days, in 1994 I was building websites. And so obviously the next thing for me to think about was how do I get these websites to show up in Google?
At the time, the search engines of the time, we were actually using GoTo for pay-for-click. So this is super-old school stuff. And so I came at very much with a grounding in search. And it was only when we started working on Facebook, that I came to really understand the benefits of demographic targeting. So here I am, if you think about the traditional marketing funnel there’s awareness, consideration, intent, purchase, and then retention. Right? And so I was very much about intent, purchase, and sometimes retention, and not so much about awareness and consideration. And so, to me, that top of the funnel exercise is really what’s best served by traditional display, online display, and very much so by Facebook. I’m sorry this is really long winded which is one of my signature features. In my…thanks you guys. In my initial approach to Facebook, it was very much about this top of funnel exercise. But as we started playing more and more with things like retargeting, and the local business ads, we start to see that it can be much more at the bottom of the funnel in that intent and purchase, as well.
Mike: So I have another question. You guys probably get tired of hearing about Barbara Oliver. I don’t work on her Facebook. She does it herself with her husband. She’s a one-and-a-half-person business, plus her husband helps her on Facebook. And she’s done a very good job of free, initially engaging, get a lot of likes. She gets two to three to five, eight comments per posts. She gets 50 reviews out there. She initially wasn’t boosting. And she managed to build up a reasonable following, and now she has started organically boosting some of her posts.
But I guess the question is, what can somebody do there for free at this point, if anything? And is it limited to an industry like jewelry where people want to talk about the baubles they bought, or are there free opportunities? And what are the free opportunities? Could it be used just for listening? Could it be used for customer service? Are there free opportunities that are available? And if so, how would somebody approach that?
Will: I think my favorite existing free opportunity is brand jacking. Because, here’s the thing, commerce is no longer getting the kind of attention that it used to from Facebook. So our Facebook rep even told us, there’s really no point in buying fan building ads, you should really just be promoting posts. Otherwise the fans that you do have aren’t going to see your stuff. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still jump on other people’s brand messaging, right?
So let’s say you live in Phoenix, and the Cardinals are having a good year. And so they’re getting a lot of engagement on their Facebook posts. If you’re in a business that would make sense to get in front of those same eyeballs, being present and commenting on those things is a good way to jump on active brands who aren’t necessarily as susceptible to that commerce filter as the traditional local business.
Mike: So what kind of…again, let’s go back to Barbara. What does a local business need in terms of likes or participation to get some free exposure on their page? Or is it just no longer that easy or possible?
Will: I’m interested in other people’s opinions on this. But I actually think that it is still possible, you just have to work harder at it. So the extent to which you engage with your audience, is a much bigger driver maybe than it used to be of whether or not you’re going to get seen. So I think it forces you as the business communicator to be more engaging. What do you guys think? Mary? Mike? Matt?
David: I’ve been advising people for at least the last nine months to a year since the organic exposure has gone off a cliff, I don’t think it’s about what you post, I think it’s about what your customers post. And if I look at the kinds of things that show up in my own personal Facebook feed, it’s check-ins, it’s photos taken at places, it’s comments, it’s reviews, from my friends commenting or checking in or taking photos at businesses. And so I think we need to move, small businesses generally need to move the messaging beyond, “Hey like on Facebook to, no, share us on Facebook. Check-in on Facebook.”
Because the personal posts are not getting, in my experience anyway, the personal posts do not seem to be getting filtered that talk about a business. And so if you’re goal is this awareness layer that Will was talking about, have your customers provide that awareness to their friends and followers because anything that you post on your page is going nowhere unless you pay for it. That’s how I’ve looked at what the organic Facebook marketing opportunity is right now.
Mike: Do you have some specific techniques to do that, and this is just anybody, that you could recommend to a small business that would encourage their visitors to…and the question is, do people see reviews? Do you see reviews in your stream of other businesses?
David: Occasionally, not as often as check-ins, but…
Mike: Check-ins and other types of shares.
Matt: I see check-ins. And that’s just exactly what I was going to say, not to piggyback off of David. But one of the things I’ve noticed with, for example, a brand that’s really crushing it, no pun intended, they’re called, Waffle Crush. And they’re a waffle truck business, and they do just that with what Dave was saying. You could hardly see any of their posts draw, like you said, they’re nonexistent. But what you see going through to your feed is how well of the job they’ve done getting other people to post their brand and their messaging and their specials and their everything, whatever they’re doing during the day because they encourage it so much. They had this one promotion that was going on forever that was one person a week was going to win a year’s supply of free waffles from them.
And it was almost like I had this constant Waffle Crush feed going through Facebook because everybody was sharing. But they did it. They figured out that thing that people wanted that they were going to show their check-ins, they were going to talk about it, they were going to post it, they encouraged people to show their special of the day. Or whatever it was, but it’s just like Dave said, to get their messaging across, they figured out that it was the customers in their personal feed that needed to post versus them trying to post. We already established, you’re not going to see anymore of the algorithm.
Will: I think…
Mike: No, go ahead.
Will: I was going to say I think that Matt points to something particularly important here, is that you can positively reinforce the behavior that is going to be helpful to you. So when you see customers checking in or customers posting about your business, you engaging with them really engages the vanity factor, which is so big on Facebook. There’s been all these studies that show that people post things that are not necessarily most interesting to them, but that they think they’re going to look best among their audience. Right? Whatever that is.
Matt: You mean we don’t show people the real us on social media?
Will: If I showed people the real me on social media I’d have no friends at all. I’m just kidding.
Mary: We’d still be your friends, Will.
Mike: I hope that’s four. Maybe it’s three. Oh, it’s four.
Will: But I think that the point being if you as the business look for those opportunities to engage with people who are already mentioning your brand, A, you reinforce their behavior positively, and B, you send a signal to others who might be in their circles or in your extended circles that if they engage with you, you’re going to engage back. And that’s gratifying a little bit, feeding that narcissistic behavior.
Mike: So clearly that would be best in businesses like jewelry, like auto dealers, like any luxury consumption, food, those things. How does that play out in more mundane businesses, plumbing, heating?
Will: I think it’s important to remember that the plumber and the homeowner are both people. Right? And they’re people on Facebook. So we often talk about this challenge of B-to-B marketing in social, and one has to ultimately remember that within that business, the person with whom you’re interacting is a person. So there’s not, in my mind, a huge disconnect. I tell this story pretty often…I’m sorry, Matt.
I tell the story pretty often of how I found this tree service. I make fun of them in some of my presentations. I found them on Facebook because I posted to Facebook and I said, “Hey, who’s got a good tree service recommendation?” Half of my friends on Facebook are smarty pants, search marketers, and the other half New Orleans Cub Scouts dads. And so I got a fair amount of actual real recommendations. And this was not a sexy service. Coming and getting this tree limb off of my roof, is not something that’s going to have high brand affinity for me, but if they were smart they would have jumped on that behavior and carried it into their own social presence.
Mike: So another free thing is obviously just listening. So do the Facebook tools on the Facebook page where they show you mentions, is that adequate to track mentions of your business or do you need to use a third-party tool?
Will: I’d love other people’s thoughts on this. But I think it’s not. It depends on the scale of your business. Right? If you’re a locally focused small merchant, then it’s probably enough because it’s not an overwhelming amount of data. But as you get to be multi-location, larger business, I think that there is value in using tools to try to keep an eye on that stuff.
Mary: Are there any specific tools you would recommend?
Will: We do. The stuff that we…
Mike: Actually, let’s let Matt answer that question, just for a little bit of variety.
Will: Good, please.
Matt: No specific tools. I actually don’t have any off the top of my head, believe it or not.
Mike: And how do you perceive the value of Facebook as a listening tool? As just trying to find issues around your brand? And that relates into this question of the new badge that they’re giving to businesses that respond to messenger messages quickly. Facebook is making a play in CRM. Is that going to stay free? I saw they just made the messenger feature an ad unit. But it seems like an interesting use case…everybody’s on Facebook. It seems great to be able to actually have a one-to-ones via their messaging tool.
Will: I also just came to the realization that they just bought CallRail.
Mike: Oh did they really?
Will: Yeah, yeah. So I was looking at something just in the last day, or so, and it referenced CallRail as having been recently acquired by Facebook. So when you want to talk about getting down to the local level, we’ve been ranting about the value of call tracking for years, and here is Facebook extending into that level of CRM.
Mike: So let’s move onto the paid area. Right? Free, there’s some listening, there’s some possibly third-party tools. Did you have a third-party tool you recommend, Will? Matt didn’t have one. David?
Will: I said CallRail, I lied. It’s actually LiveRail, video ads. Forget that.
Mike: Oh, video. Oh.
Mike: Do you have a listening tool that you’d recommend?
Will: We use a few. It depends on the use case. For some high level stuff, we use Hootsuite, Social Mention, which doesn’t too deep. And some of our customers that are on the bigger brand side, use tools like Radian6, where you get way too much information for me. But again, that’s super big brand stuff.
Matt: Now something else that I would want to mention before we move on, even though I don’t know exactly where we’re gonna go. But one of the things…
Mike: Neither do I, Matt. So welcome to the show.
Matt: Something that came to mind when we were talking about all this, and this is according to Nielsen, 90% of people trust recommendations on Facebook, something like that. So what I was thinking and what I’ve seen and this is just from some of the, I think you mentioned plumbers, but plumbers, electricians, HVAC people, AC people, where a lot of those people have been doing well within Facebook is…and I don’t want to talk about specific private groups here. But we have several here that are from the community. We now have one guy that’s a councilman and runs one of these type of sites.
And he always, every time when someone’s asked me for, “Hey, I’m looking for a landscaper that you guys recommend. I’m looking for a plumber.” Whatever. What he’ll do, I mean obviously that group will do what it does. But what he’ll do is he’ll do a post to give businesses an opportunity: “Hey, we want to give local businesses here, anybody had experience with them or if you’re a business owner, feel free to drop a link.” My point is, if you’re a business and you’re not paying attention to those kinds of groups or if you’re not putting yourself out there in those specific areas, then you’re missing an opportunity, as well.
Mike: So just general networking as you would at a chamber meeting by sharing online in the groups, and other stuff?
Matt: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Mike: And do any of you have customers aggressively using the new messaging capability, and this little badge that they give you if you answer your messages quickly? Anybody have any experience with that? Do you see that as something that people should be paying close attention to?
Mary: I don’t have any experience with it, but it just seems brilliant to me because there’s nothing like leaving a phone message and having no idea when you’re going to get called back. Or texting someone and having no idea when they might respond to you. So I think the idea of saying this particular business is very responsive is going to get them a lot of interaction.
Matt: That was my thought, too. I think it’s definitely something that is a good thing. But like Mary, I don’t have much experience with it yet. But I’d like to.
Will: I think it’ll take a while for there to be enough differentiation among those who do respond and those who don’t, before we can see whether or not it has an impact. But I would agree that, as frustrating as it is to try to touch to a business…in my own experience, there’s nothing more annoying then if I want to set an appointment for some sort of service…like for instance, I was trying to set an appointment with a podiatrist. And so I filled out the form on their website, and that was six months ago and I have yet to see a podiatrist. So talk about opportunity lost.
Mary: And as a consumer, I’m much more likely to wait for a response from somebody if I know that it’s not going to be too long. Whereas if I don’t have any kind of signal that I’m going to get some quick response, I’m probably going to go to the next guy on my list and…
Matt: Yeah, and I got a good case study for you. Because just yesterday, we were working on some outside plumbing stuff, and my wife was trying to replace this faucet. And in the process realized the whole thing was rusted out and busted the whole pipe. So we had to turn off the whole water to the whole house. It was the main line going into the pool. And we put out probably six or seven calls to plumbers locally, and only one of them got back to us.
Mike: Right, yeah, I’m so fascinated that plumbers so stress about Google rank, when they don’t stress about whether they return the calls, get there promptly, charge a reasonable rate, and clean up after themselves. If they did that, they wouldn’t need Google at all.
Matt: That’s the thing, I don’t know if it’s us that need to do a better job, but we at least need to educate them that if you’re going do this whole online thing or Facebook thing, you have to be prompt. You have to get back…I mean, they just need to be educated that people in this day and age, maybe they could wait when it was the phone book days, but that’s not how it is anymore. People don’t…if they’re having to wait more than 30 minutes, they’re moving on.
Will: Well it’s Mike who always said, Mike Blumenthal, that the best way to get good reviews is to not suck. Right? And so I think we’re starting down the path of awareness in that people are starting to be concerned about what their online reputation looks like. And hopefully we’ll see a crossover in the near future where they realize that it’s intrinsically tied to their offline reputation.
Mike: Yeah, in this recent survey I did, how consumers found lawyers, 36, 35% of them said that word of mouth, referral from a friend, referral from a family member, now clearly with law there’s more issues of privacy, but 35%, only 15% said they used internet search or Google.
Mike: So it’s going to continue to be a huge value, and Google’s goal, I’m sure Facebook’s is too, is to help those that do a good job to rise to the top. Which is why this issue with badging on messenger. So again, you have to be responsive. You have to be there and be willing to answer. Half the game, in plumbing, I would think is just that. As Matt pointed out, if they’d called you back they would have had the job.
Will: Yeah, you seldom have an important but not urgent plumbing issue, right?
Mary: Right, it’s urgent.
Will: You’re usually [???] one if you’re calling a plumber. It’s not because you’re thinking, “Oh, one of these days I should really get that pipe looked at.”
Mike: Well, I called the plumber on one of those kinds of issues and literally I had to run him down on my bicycle to finally get him to come. On those critical issues, it’s like, “Oh, it’s not critical. Mike wasn’t crying on the phone, he left a message.” Okay, I never saw the guy. It was months later I saw him, I was riding my bike down the street, I screeched to a halt and I said, “Geez, would you get up there and look at damn thing?”
Mike: That’s a small town for you. So let’s move onto paid. What are the best and most cost-effective opportunities if you’re willing to pay, in Facebook? David? Matt? Let’s start with you guys. No offense, Will.
David: Sure, I’ll go ahead. Sorry. I would certainly defer to Will and Matt on the more tactical level on best practices for this. I would say at the general level, just get as absolutely specific as you can. Ignore the little speedometer over the right hand side of Facebook that tells you how many people this thing is going to reach. And instead focus on figuring out what is the narrowest possible demographic interest intersection that I can possible target? And that’s where you’re going to stretch your dollars and have the most success, I think, in actually attracting new customers from Facebook.
I know Will’s done a lot of this and maybe Matt has as well, but I would also spend money targeting your existing customers. So uploading custom audiences of your own customers because what do all the stats say? It’s eight times harder to acquire a new customer than it is to get your existing ones to spend. So those are the two things that I think, if you’re strapped for money, and you’re spending $100 or $200 a month on online advertising, don’t waste it trying to hit everybody in your small town with your Facebook ads. Hit the ones that you know are going to purchase or are most likely to purchase and get as narrow as possible with your targeting.
Mary: I’d also like to add to that to target the ones that are most likely to share. And a lot of times, presenting them with some kind of offer that they can give to their friends is a good way to get them to share things on Facebook.
Matt: I would echo a lot of what Dave said, too. Instead of trying to do an all-encompassing, focus on those and just like what Mary said, those that will be more engaged.
Mike: Is that with an ad unit, or a boosted post, or both, or…
Matt: It could be a post, but mostly boosted post [inaudible 00:28:18].
Will: Yeah, you’re so constrained in what you can do with images that you would use in an ad unit, that it’s a lot easier to build a message around a post that you’re then going to boost. So if there’s a call to action, particularly if it’s at all complex, having the body of the post to use really helps. Jumping on what David said, I think a lot of people don’t realize exactly how much data is actually available in Facebook. Because Facebook takes a bunch of third-party data feeds, like coming out of Acxiom, the big data provider, so you can see things in Facebook like what kind of car somebody drives, how many open lines of credit they have, whether or not they’re a homeowner, and you can even start to narrow in on income and that sort of stuff.
For instance, if you’re working in a credit-focused environment like … let’s say solar leasing, because a lot of people aren’t buying the solar panels. They’re putting them on their house. The provider is actually buying them and leasing them to them so that the provider can take advantage of the tax credits. So who are the kind of people that are going to want to have leased solar panels on their house? They’re going to be homeowners obviously, because they think they’re going to be there long enough to pay back the lease. They’re likely going to be credit prone. Which means that they’re going to have multiple open lines of credit and they’re not going to be super-high income.
Because if you’re making 300 grand a year, you’re just going to pay the 25 that it’s going to take to put the panels on your house, and move on. And this David’s point at much more granular use case, when you get way down deep into who is the customer, what are their behaviors and how can you take advantage of those to make sure that you’ve got the right persona developed, then I think that you can really have some easy wins in Facebook advertising.
Mike: Are there any other main tools that help you find these personas, or target these persona?
Mike: Pretty much develop them business by business, location by location?
Will: There may be, I don’t want to say there aren’t, but we have not. The tools that Facebook provides are so easy to use that we tend to develop them ourselves.
David: I would agree with that just based on dabbling in this. Mike, to use your example of Barbara. She could be targeting men, 25 to 35, who are making $80,000 a year or more, and have the relationship of engaged or been in a relationship as their status. There’s any number of things that you can do just within Facebook in two minutes of setting up the ad. So I don’t really see, in terms of this use case, a need for a third-party tool. I think the third-party tools come into play with the…whatever CRM system you’re using. And CRM and cookie-ing and retargeting pixels that you’re using on your websites, I think those are the tools that are really useful. Because once you have that information, it’s too easy just to just use Facebook.
Will: Yeah, and I think, David, you stepped your way into another really important concept. And again, I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of this in the past. But when you come at online marketing from a giving perspective, like I came at it from search and therefore the filter at which I looked at every technology was search. When we think more like holistic marketers and we realize if I’m paying Google to deliver visitors to my website, and I can them cookie them and show them ads everywhere they are, whether it’s through Google’s retargeting network or even if we’re retargeting on Facebook, why not?
Because if it takes seven touches to make a sale, one customer acquired by Google becomes seven impressions across other networks who ultimately picks up the phone and wants to buy something from me.
Mary: What do you guys think about what’s going on with reviews on Facebook? I’m wondering in relationship to boosted post, if anybody has tried boosting reviews on Facebook? And if that’s had any effect?
Matt: I would be also curious to see, and I think we’ve touched on it here a little bit, but I don’t know that everyone answered. Are you guys seeing any more reviews coming through your feed even in a boosted format?
Will: I haven’t seen Facebook reviews boosted, but a technique we use really often is to republish testimonials form other places, and then boost those.
Matt: Other people’s content then?
Will: Right, right, totally. So we’ll take testimonials that are either on the website or on third-party sites and if they’ve got…I mean, one of my favorite things, and I know this is super old school and I hope it doesn’t date me too much, but one of the things I love to do is get physical media like greeting cards, and scan them so you have an image of it for social proof and then transcribe it. And so we use them on websites but then you publish it to Facebook, it’s an image in addition to the text. And so you’re taking advantage of Facebook’s inherent bias toward media, plus you’re getting the social proof of, “Here’s Janeen F., and she actually wrote this in her own hand.” And to me, that’s a really valuable way to give social proof around the reinforced valued proposition.
Mike: Yeah, so let me just give you my summary of what I understand about reviews specifically. People love to leave them. I think, Barbara, she maybe has 90 reviews on Google where she’s been actively engaged since 2009. She has maybe 50 or 60 reviews at Facebook where she’s only actively asking there for the last year, or two. So people love leaving reviews on Facebook. The best I can tell, they don’t show in a stream. I’ve never heard of…David’s the first report of them showing in a stream.
David: It may have been something where I clicked the check-in and saw the person had left a review. I can’t say that with confidence.
Mike: Right, in terms of Google, Facebook was showing rich snippet stars on the reviews. Now they no longer are. So that’s been shifting back and forth. But it’s a popular place for reviews. I think if you’re going to ask people to review you there, it’s good because it’s easy, it’s simple. The question then is how do you repurpose a review in some way that benefits you even more. Will’s idea is maybe to even take some of the reviews at…take Will’s idea possibly reposting some of those reviews as a post and boosting it. Perhaps. I don’t know.
Matt: Well come to think about it, I have seen people do…I mean it’s been a combination of all this and what we’ve been talking about, but I have seen for example, some people have automatic posts. Let’s say they leave a review on Trip Advisor. Okay? And then, it’ll automatically go into their personal feed. And I have seen owners of that business that was reviewed especially when its [???] that have them. I have seen that as a good practice. So that is a review that’s coming through the feed but it’s not on Facebook which is what you were asking about. And that is something that I think is definitely beneficial because again you are taking that content that other people have created and boosting and it’s coming from them and people are going to see it. To me that’s super beneficial.
Mike: So I know Matt has to leave here in about five minutes, so maybe we could just wrap this up with each of you suggesting one free, one paid, one idea that might allow a local business to engage a little better with their Facebook audience out of what we talked about. Matt, why don’t you start so that way if you need to exit, you can.
Matt: All right, yeah, with me the biggest takeaway that I want for the people, because again, the kind of local businesses that I work with here they are kind of a smaller scale. We’re not a Los Angeles or even an outlying area. It’s very limited. Even if they’re owning first place on apps, organic and stuff like that, you still have these business owners that want these phone calls which I’m curious about like you, Mike. Maybe you know. But what we have found that works really well that helps these guys make use of a limited budget, is, again, what we’ve been talking about, getting them involved and doing all of these things and being more involved in the groups.
These groups have been an amazing tool for a lot of my smaller customers. Again, these are people that probably don’t have more than a few hundred bucks a month to spend in marketing. It’s a one or two person shop and they’re doing well for that but they are increasing their sales, they’re increasing their reach, and they’re increasing their brand visibility. Everything they are doing by paying attention to the groups when people are asking, “Hey does anyone know of a HVAC person? Does anyone know of a plumber?” They’re going in there and they’re being one of the ones that’s saying “Hey there’s a lot of other great businesses out there but here is what other customers are saying about us.” And leaving links or leaving their phone number.
Again, to be through one of those more formal type groups or even a private community. I know that you guys are probably seeing this but even in my neighborhood, we have a private group that’s specific for just all the houses in just this community, they do a real good job of just keeping it to those specific people. And you know this is great place for truly local business owners to monitor this kind of stuff.
Good grief, I mean I see this a lot and I do know that there is a small, limited number of houses but the amount of people that are always asking for help with this, that or whatever in regards to these to these specific services there is always been these forums. And again those people have got other groups in that back up. Again, I’m getting long winded. I guess my biggest takeaway would be paying attention to those kinds of groups, Mike. And also just making sure that you’re…I love Will and what we talked about jumping on other people’s content and this and that and versus boosting your own post and saying “Hey we’re great. We’re awesome. Come check us out.” And you boost that post, it’s not going to be anything compared someone else’s testimonial or a write up on you, or social proof on you.
And so that would be mine.
Mike: David, how about you, David?
David: Well we didn’t really talk about this topic too much in this hangout but I’ll bring it up here. I think there’s some amazing customer intelligence data that is widely available using Facebook search. This is what I talked about in my Moz Con presentation this summer. If you really start diving into the various facets of Facebook search, you can do things like, “Customers who like my business.” Fill in your business name as the graph node. “Customers who like my business and use Dell [SP].” Right? You can find some amazing nuggets of your untapped set of influencers through searches like that. Or for example, “Journalists who work at Oregon Live who are friends of my friends.” Those kinds of searches. If you’re looking for additional visibility with influencers who aren’t in your set of customers yet.
So I would encourage you, whether you’re a business or marketer who’s helping a business, start playing around with some of those, it’s no longer called graph search, but the most effective results that you’re going to get from it are based on Facebook’s open graph, or whatever. So that’s probably my biggest tip. And if you’re having trouble generating these queries and getting the structured people focused results, there’s a tool out there from Intelligence Software, which is I think Intel-SW.com/blog. And they have a little widget that you can plug-in the specific facets that you need to find. Hit the button and they will actually take you to the URL that shows these very people graph focused results.
So I think there’s incredible potential for customer intelligence, for influencer intelligence, that is right below the surface using Facebook search. And I don’t know how much longer that’s going to be public, so I would get on it for as long as Facebook continues to provide it.
Mike: Mary, you want to chime in here?
Mary: I think of Facebook because I’m not a huge fan and user of Facebook. But I think of it on more of a basic level. And I am amazed at how often I find incorrect business information on business’ Facebook pages. Especially from multi-location businesses. So that’s one thing that I encourage everybody to check and make sure that it’s accurate and it matches up with your website. And it matches up with your Google Plus information.
The other thing that is very rudimentary that we figured out very long ago with Facebook is if you wanted somebody to like something, you would say, “Like this.” And now I think that you just need to say, “Share this.”
Mary: And that if you could provide them with something that is very shareable, especially as it relates to getting a new prospect to contact your business. “Share this discount coupon.” Or, “Share this special, share this sale.” That that can go a really long way without doing much effort at all.
Mike: Well, I’ll let you close. So we have a couple minutes.
David: That’s a very dangerous proposition, Mike.
Mike: I know, I know, but I wanted to see if Will could handle the responsibility.
David: All right.
Will: You know I can’t be trusted with a responsibility. I think the main thing on the free side is figure out how you can associate your brand with causes, or movements, or locally relevant stuff, where it make it sense for you to be present. I mean because that’s always going to be free, and it’s really the same kind of community building that you would doing, Mike, as you say at the Chamber of Commerce meeting. Right? And then once you’ve figured out what it is that you want to identify yourself with, find a way to promote that cause.
We do this thing every October with clients of ours who want to do it, and we actually sent it to our whole email list this time, and we figure that there’s competitors on our email list that’s going to steal the idea and do it. And that’s great. But the idea is likes for lives. Because October is breast cancer awareness month, and so what we say is, “Like and Share this and we’ll add a dollar to a fund that we’re ultimately going to give to a local breast cancer research foundation.”
And we then put some money behind that in the form of that. Now of course we’re not targeting people who are potentially going to be afflicted with whatever it is, or who are going to benefit from whatever it is that we’re working toward, but we’ll do is we’ll target our proper demographic profile. So if I want to be talking to men between the ages of 25 and 35, who are in a relationship for greater than two years, but not yet engaged, then I’m going to target those guys but it’s still going to be a message around the cause that I’m hoping to promote.
So for a very low dollar value, I can get viral activity around something that’s inherently beneficial both to the community, the people that I’m targeting, etc. So by thinking about how you can attach yourself to these causes or sports teams or whatever, and then use that for promotion to an affinity group that’s likely to buy your stuff, I think that’s when you get the perfect storm of organic paid and viral altogether.
Mike: Great summary. I think with that, I want to thank you all for spending 45 minutes with us. And we’ll call that a show. Thank you very much.
Will: Thanks, you guys.
David: Bye, thanks, that was fun.
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