Marketers and entrepreneurs often underestimate Facebook. On the surface, Facebook might seem less powerful than AdWords, SEO or other more “traditional” web traffic tools. In reality, Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing tools around today. Marketers tend to underestimate Facebook simply because it’s quite different than everything else.
Here are five cutting edge ways to use Facebook to build your audience and boost your profits.
#1: Like Walling for Social Proof & Influence
The New York Times uses a business model called “pay walling.” You can see a small portion of their content, but to access their best articles, you have to pay. When you try to access a page that’s behind the “wall,” a screen comes up informing you that you need to be a paid member.
Likewise, you can put some of your best content behind “like walls.” People have to “like” to get access to them. This is a fantastic way to quickly grow your follower base. Having a large follower base not only boosts your influence, but gives you massive social proof. It can significantly boost conversions.
#2: Master EdgeRank and to Build a Second List
Having a strong Facebook follower base is almost like having a second email list. You have a strong base of followers who you can follow up with regularly. The key to having a good Facebook “list” is EdgeRank. EdgeRank is Facebook’s internal system for determining whether or not your posts show up in people’s feeds.
If you have strong engagement, meaning people regularly like, comment or share your content, then your EdgeRank will go up. High EdgeRank means your content will be regularly displayed. Always, always make sure you publish content that others want to engage with.
#3: Facebook Ads – Like AdWords, But Different
Proponents of AdWords often point out that AdWords visitors are ready to buy. If someone types in “fishing rod,” you know they’re looking to go fishing. It’s true – Facebook browsers usually aren’t in a buying mentality. That’s its one major downside.
That said, Facebook ads have a few significant advantages over AdWords. For one, CPCs are usually much lower. Recommended bids usually start between $0.60 to $0.90 cents in the USA, but can quickly drop to $0.30 cents on an ad that’s getting a good CTR.
Furthermore, Facebook brings a scale that AdWords just can’t compete with. Let’s say you’re trying to reach stay-at-home moms. The number of stay-at-home moms who’d type a keyword like “stay at home moms” into Google is miniscule compared to the number of stay-at-home moms in the country. With Facebook, you can reach almost all of them. It’s not unusual to see Facebook campaigns outpull AdWords by a factor of 5 or 10, simply because they have far better scale.
#4: Using Facebook to “Pre-Sell” Your Main List
If you have a non-Facebook audience, you can use Facebook Ads to pre-sell any product launch or major event. Facebook allows you to upload your email list directly into their ad targeting system. Upload your list and serve CPM ads to your followers and let them know about your upcoming launch.
Split tests demonstrate just how much of a conversion boost you can expect from this. Several list owners have done experiments, where they showed CPM ads pre-selling events or product launches to half the list. When they actually mailed the main launch emails to their list, the ones who saw the CPM ads converted between 50% to 200% higher than people on the list who didn’t.
#5: Deliberately “Go Viral” With Metric-Based Contests
People often associate randomness with the term “viral.” Yet a well run contest can more or less take away all the randomness by turning viral growth into a metrics-based business strategy. The core metric is called the “viral coefficient.” It’s the number of people the average person passes your content on to. If your viral coefficient is 2, that means on average someone in your audience will pass your contest on to two people. The higher the better.
Systematic testing, improvement and contest design can raise this number and increase your viralness. Your contest can take on a whole life of its own, taking off and building your audience faster than you could ever imagine. You can deliberately improve your viral coefficient, just as you’d work to improve any other metric in your business.
These are 5 cutting edge Facebook tips that very few people talk about. Using Facebook might not be as straightforward as throwing up an AdWords campaign. Yet if you can learn to harness it properly, it can be far more powerful.