Have Fun with Facebook Marketing Campaigns

We show you how to customize big-brand Facebook marketing campaigns to fit a small business ecommerce budget.

A unique and fun social media campaign -- when done correctly -- can help boost your brand's visibility in the social Web. Most campaigns on Facebook are pretty basic: Like the page and be rewarded.

The most notable Facebook marketing campaigns are run by large brands, but creative small businesses can customize popular Facebook campaigns to fit their business.  

Here are a couple different ways you can capture a Like and a Share on a fan's Wall, and ideas on how to make Facebook marketing campaigns work for ecommerce shops working with a small business budget.

Dempster's Makes Free Bagels a Social Experience

Dempster's Bakery, a national brand of Maple Leaf Foods, recently ran a free product coupon giveaway to its Facebook fans, but announced a period of time over several hours when the coupon would be posted. Having watched this campaign myself (yes, I like free bagels), I learned quite a bit.

More than a thousand active Facebook users spent hours chatting with other bagel lovers and representatives from Dempster's while waiting for a chance to obtain one of the free product coupons. Consumers wall-posted everything: from professing their love of bagels to what types of coffee they drank to what they did for a living and where they lived.

During the Facebook Wall chat session, Dempster's posted a Facebook poll -- and why not? With so many fans being active while waiting for the coupon, it was a perfect opportunity to gain marketing insight on a product.  This kind of marketing campaign is a good example of how to use "Facebook freebies" as a marketing tool.

For small ecommerce businesses, this campaign will work best if you already have a decent-sized Facebook fan list on your Facebook Business Page. Here are some ideas to help you run a similar Facebook marketing campaign:

  • Get the Like: Create a special Facebook Wall tab and ensure people have to click the Like button to access the promotion details tab.
  • Be very detailed in instruction: Include the date and time range in a specific time zone (e.g. February 22, 2012 -- between 1 pm and 3 pm EST) and also provide the details on how to "win." For example, will you post  a link on your Wall that takes a visitor to your site to enter, will people need to pre-register on your website, etc.
  • Advertise everywhere: Post the Facebook event details, well in advance of the promotion date, on your Facebook Business page, your website, on the shopping cart checkout page and in all email marketing messages including opt-in, thank-you and order confirmations .  
  • Make it worth a customer's time.  The give-away should be a deep discount -- free if possible -- or people won't hang around for hours waiting for the event to start. Remember, Dempster's success came from giving away a set amount of coupons for a product that retails for less than $4.00. Less expensive items given away in a higher quantity is better than fewer, more expensive products. Make sure Facebook fans know how many free items or product coupon codes will be given away.
  • Be a good host: This is a "live" event so be prepared to be an active host. Have staff available to chat with people posting on your Wall and answer all comments -- good and bad. Make sure your server can handle the extra traffic if your promotion takes people away from Facebook to your own site to claim the prize.
  • Gain customer insight: Use the event as a way to ask specific questions about your company and products. While people are waiting for the "coupon to be announced," you can also post polls to find out what consumers think of your business, policies, shipping, products and more.

Build Your Fan Numbers with More Likes, Bigger Prizes

If you want to run coupon-giveaway type of campaign but don't have a large Facebook following, you can run smaller, reward-based incentives in the months leading up to the bigger campaign to encourage people to Like and Share your page.

Start with a low goal number (like 50 or 100), and offer a small reward or prize give-away when your fan number reaches the goal (e.g. "we're giving away one free item valued at $19.99 from our online store when we reach 100 Likes").

Then you want to up the prize value on obtaining 500 and 1,000 fans. Remind fans that by sharing your Page with friends, you'll do a draw as soon as you reach the goal number -- offer an extra chance to win to those who share your post on their Wall -- and be sure to promote your  social incentive everywhere you do business: your website, blog and emails. If you run local radio ads you can also mention it there (e.g. "Like us on Facebook to learn more").

The important thing to remember when running any Facebook marketing campaign is that you have to plan it, and you must be social and be consistent. You and your small business staff have to be prepared to engage in the conversation taking place on your Wall.

Social media does take a lot of time, and you can’t hurry the process or be slack in participating in the conversation.  When you're a good social business that's active and fun, it will turn Likes into actual friends and loyal customers of your company.

More Facebook Small Business Ecommerce Tips

Are you looking to get a better handle on integrating Facebook into your ecommerce marketing plan? Try these Facebook tips and guides for small business ecommerce sites:

Vangie Beal is a seasoned online marketplace seller, frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com and avid online bargain hunter. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other e-commerce topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com E-Commerce Forum. Join the discussion today!

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