Why you may be learning the wrong lessons from Facebook marketing gurus

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“Social media is a conversation”

How many times have you heard this phrase? If you’ve dabbled with social media long enough and been hearing from a lot of social media marketing gurus, a phrase something like the above would not be unfamiliar to you.

In fact, a lot of gurus would preach that social media is a platform to connect with your audiences and build relationships with them. “Be accessilble,” they would say. “Solicit feedback from your fans through polls and open ended questions. Check your social media sites often, including outside of normal work hours if possible. Make sure that your fans know how to reach you.”

These same gurus may also be preaching that in order to be successful on Facebook, you would need to have wacky and creative ideas. As such, a lot of brands and organizatons have been be ridiculously misled to run campaigns on social media that lack clear objectives, let alone driving new businesses.

One example would be the “Whopper Sacrifice” campaign by Burger King which was essentially a Facebook application developed to demonstrate brand loyalty. Visitors to the application, were encouraged to sign up and then choose ten of their Facebook friends to delete (“sacrifice”) in exchange for a free Burger King Whopper.

While the campaign was awarded the Gold for Web Applications at the Art Directors Annual Awards, but within a week, Facebook blocked the entire campaign due to a breach of privacy. Not only did the campaign lack effectiveness in driving sales, but it was also met with some backlash from the public.

Here’s the untold truth of social media – you can use it to generate sales, lightning fast. And the good news is that it doesn’t matter even if you’re selling seemingly “boring” products.

A recent social media campaign from 3M Singapore has proven that a Return of Investment (ROI) of over 1,200 percent can be generated on Facebook.

Here’s the scope – The brand wanted to bring awareness and generate sales for their Littmann® Stethoscopes on their relatively new e-store. It was a difficulty drumming up interest for a niche B2B product that is not generally perceived as sexy and cool, on Facebook; social media platform that is not often used professionally. The e-store, being new, was not always-known in the market yet, so it did not enjoy high, or consistent traffic.


But since it was nearly August, the campaign was arranged to start on August 1 — in conjunction with the International Nurses’ Day. That served as an excellent talking point to reach out to the target audience of nurses, doctors, and buyers of medical supplies as it was relatable to them professionally.

Using Facebook Graph Search, they’ve managed to run ads towards a nano-targeted group of audience who would be interested in purchasing the stethoscopes from the e-store.

Most marketers are already running ads through the Facebook advertising platform, leveraging on tools such as the Facebook Interest Graph. But little do most marketers really know the power of Graph Search, an often overlooked tool to help you outperform your ad targeting on Facebook. With Graph Search, 3M searched on “Favourite Interests of nurses” and discovered the other relevant precise interests which the brand could be targeting on the Facebook Ad Platform.

After running the ads for about two weeks with just a minimal budget, the campaign generated a total ROI of over 1,200%.

As had been noticed, even little engagement, social media can be used to directly generate sales. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that building relationships with your audience isn’t the way to go on social media; it still is. Jon Loomer once did a post where he got 45X ROI from his existing fans after engaging them with relevant content.

For the most part, it would be critical to have the right techniques and to leverage on the right tools on Facebook to generate the highest ROI.

Marcus Ho is the co-founder behind the award-winning measurable social media agency, SocialMetric. If you’re interested in learning more measurable and advanced social media strategies to boost sales, consider signing up to the SocialMetric Newsletter.

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.