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How to Use Influence to Supercharge Your Facebook Presence

January 24th, 2011 by Mariah

How to Use Influence to Supercharge Your Facebook Presence

Did you know that on Facebook you can show ads only to people who are friends of your existing fans? This technique will yield double or triple the click through rate (CTR). But more importantly, it stimulates greater engagement and more conversions.

Influence the Influencers

In the high school cafeteria, we take note and mimic what the popular kids are doing. If you influence the influencers, the imitation flows down to the followers. Nike, the athletic apparel company, in its infancy would give out free sneakers to gang leaders, knowing that fellow gang members would have to buy a pair to be able to fit in. Your brand can do the same.

If you are just starting your Facebook page, it’s critical to attract influential folks first. After all, it’s the reputation of these people that will draw in your subsequent fans. If you’re selling golf shirts, you’re best off getting fans who are professional golfers, who then attract the weekend warriors. But if your Facebook page starts out with weekend warriors, then it’s not likely to attract pro golfers. Water flows only downhill, so the saying goes.

Spread Your Influence

And it’s once you have that base that the real fun of Facebook PPC begins. The friend-of-fan connection targeting is the most effective thing we’ve seen in Facebook, available nowhere else. That fan base you’ve built up is now influence you can spread up, down, and sideways. If Mary O’Brien is a goddess in the world of PPC and becomes a fan of your page, then you can use her endorsement among anyone who knows her. You can have the ad copy say “XYZ software is simply amazing” and it will say “Mary O’Brien likes this” below the ad. Certainly, you should stay within the limits of what is still advertising, but not crossing into the realm of misleading.

Better Ads = Lower Costs

But did you know that all it took to get this endorsement was a user to click the like button? And because the CTR is so much higher, your cost per click is proportionately that much lower. Facebook operates on an effective CPM bid algorithm, just like Google AdWords. The system actually rewards you for creating ads that users engage with.

Use the Multiplier Effect

And the bigger your fan base, the stronger the “peer pressure” effect. With Rosetta Stone, a client of ours, we have only 132,000 fans. But via friend-of-fan (FOF) targeting, we can reach 34 million people with ads that have endorsements below. 34 million out of 140 million Facebook folks in the US is 24 percent. Imagine that you could hit nearly a quarter of the population with an ad that has one of their friends endorsing your product or service? What if that ad had 4 or 5 people shown endorsing it– how might that affect your CTR, not counting the fact that it’s taking up that much more real estate (perhaps another 2-3 lines)?

Consider how the world of advertising (yes, PPC advertising included) is becoming more crowded and expensive. The result is brands that yell louder and louder above the escalating din. People filter out ads. They use the recommendations of their friends to make purchase decisions. Social recommendations are increasingly the filter people use as a substitute for taking the time to research.

Dennis Yu is Vice President of Social Marketing Strategy at Webtrends. You can reach him at dennis.yu@webtrends.com or in the nearest airport. He promises to answer all your questions, but it may take a few days for you to get an answer!