Similar to their global counterparts, Hong Kong's small- and medium-sized enterprises, abbreviated as SMEs, often struggle with the dilemma between having limited resources, both financial and human, and looking to achieve high returns. Different from larger businesses, SMEs need to develop the right strategy and use the right tools that are cost-effective in order to develop their business, expand their brand, and ultimately increase their revenues.
One such strategy is Facebook marketing, which if used wisely, allows SMEs to work within tight budgets, yet deliver potentially remarkable returns.
Yet, Facebook marketing is not about focusing on how to increase the number of page likes and disseminate messages about a brand's products or services, as many may perceive.
Fan base and content do count, but it is the five P's of Facebook marketing that matter more in terms of promoting a company's brand awareness.
The first P represents product. Before developing a specific Facebook marketing plan, an SME needs to identify its USP (unique selling point). This USP should be prevalent on a company's Facebook site, so as to set itself apart from their competitors as well as to attract and draw the interest of their potential target audience.
Take Lab Made as an example. Lab Made, Hong Kong's first liquid nitrogen ice cream laboratory established in 2012, has used a cost-effective Facebook marketing strategy to develop its distinctive and appealing brand identity.
The ice cream store changes its menu on a bi-weekly basis, and its Facebook fan page is made even more appealing with tempting photos of different ice creams, interactive conversations, and eye-catching hand-drawn cartoons notifying readers of the latest ice cream flavors.
By doing all these, Lab Made's fan page continuously inspires engagement with over 10,000 fans having been attracted to the brand within only a couple of months of the site's launch. The trend for this ice cream is not only offline, but now also online.
Another notable example of how SMEs can benefit from the right "product" tactics is Lemongrass House HK (Lemongrass). Instead of focusing on page likes, this organic spa brand from Thailand attaches greater importance on targeting and positioning. It also uses its feature products to place page post ads. As a result, Lemongrass's Facebook fan page has successfully attracted a large number of followers, especially organic product advocators, as well as creating a lot of online buzz.
Lemongrass's Facebook page
The second P refers to place. SMEs are advised to include the "check-in" service in their Facebook marketing practices.
A good example of this is BB1 Vietnamese Bistro. Ever since the Vietnamese restaurant made the "check-in" service available to its customers, the restaurant has recorded a noticeable increase in the number of "check-ins." Furthermore, it has taken the service to another level by linking "check-in" to discount offers, which ultimately has boosted sales and brand loyalty.
People, referring to the target audience, is the third P factor that SMEs need to consider and examine carefully for a smart Facebook marketing plan.
Precise targeting to specific audience groups is undoubtedly more effective than targeting to the general masses, and therefore this is more important to SMEs striving for cost-effectiveness as compared with big businesses. Precise targeting enables SMEs to more likely reach the most relevant audience for their brand, a so-called inner circle. It would be good enough if a Hong Kong SME targets at 1 percent to 2 percent of the total online population, i.e., 50,000 to 100,000 out of the approximate 4 million local online population.
A successful SME Facebook marketing practice can never neglect price, the fourth consideration. This does not necessarily mean that an SME shares price details of its products on Facebook, but the company should try to arouse customers' and fans' interest in the price or other details of the product.
Once interest is shown, it is vitally important that an SME has the mechanism in place to address customer enquiries in a timely manner. If not, all the hard work and effort could be wasted due to poor levels of customer service and engagement. SMEs enjoy a great deal of flexibility in terms of maximizing the unique characteristics of its products and prompt replies on the social networking platform. A case in point is the Homecare Medical Ltd.
Last but not least, promotion. Promotion helps drive brand awareness. To do promotions on Facebook, I suggest that SMEs use Facebook default promotion tools.
Some examples include: · Offers that encourage the friends of current fans claiming an offer to do the same. · Check-in
To conclude, for SMEs to successfully initiate their Facebook marketing strategies, they need to take account of the five P's and make sure these factors are properly implemented.
It is also recommended that an objective for people talking about this (PTAT) be set - 5 percent to 10 percent of the total number of fans.
This is a guest column by Willy Lai, co-founder and business director at Fimmick, a leading Hong Kong-based digital marketing agency and the first local agency recognized by Facebook's Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) program as a PMD (Apps). Engaging, knowledgeable, and committed, Willy is passionate about all things digital with an unlimited thirst for revolutionary and innovative ideas. Technology savvy and meticulous in his approach, Willy helps a wide range of clients through the whole process making sure Fimmick delivers, if not surpasses on their clients' expectations. He regularly presents at various events and contributes articles to publications to share his experiences and insights on digital marketing.
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March 19, 2014