How Facebook Can Drive Customers To Your Store

EwaldK_headshot by Kristin Ewald on September 3, 2014
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Ever wondered what Facebook can do for you? A new survey has found that potential customers are more likely to go to your Facebook business page than other social media channels to learn more about your products and services.

Some 62 percent of those queried selected Facebook as the “most useful” social site to search for customer reviews, special deals, and to learn more before they buy. Far fewer consult Pinterest (12 percent), Twitter (11 percent), Instagram (9 percent), and other sites (6 percent). And 84 percent noted that local deals and offers on Facebook influence their decision to make an in-store purchase. Is it time to develop your online advertising strategy?

G/O Digital, the new digital division of the Gannett Company conducted the survey between June 30 and July 2, 2014. The just-released report [pdf] provides more insight into the pre-purchasing habits of 1,000 web-savvy shoppers between the ages of 18 and 29 and how local businesses can benefit.

“Facebook can be a goldmine for small businesses,” says Jeff Fagel, G/O Digital’s CMO, “but for that to happen, small businesses must let go of their do-it-yourself mentality and invest at least a portion of their digital marketing dollars into the right technology, tools, and partners to create precisely targeted, relevant, and personalized experiences that turn digital ‘hunters’ into loyal, repeat in-store buyers.”

Here’s a general summary of findings from the G/O Digital report:

What’s of most interest to shoppers viewing a local store’s Facebook page?

Customer reviews and ratings (41 percent) with 15 percent looking for “likes.” The majority of respondents (80 percent) said that positive comments influence their buying decision. While no business wants a cranky review, it is important to respond to complaints promptly in a way that shows your professionalism and goodwill.

What types of Facebook offers send shoppers to a local business’s website?

Offers that can be redeemed at a store scored highest (40 percent) with 35 percent agreeing that a deal would drive them to a business’s mobile site or app. Nothing else is close, including promoted posts (12 percent) and loyalty app promotions (9 percent).

Do local deals on Facebook really drive shoppers into stores to buy?

Of those asked, only 16 percent said they would not be influenced at all, while 25 percent declared that they would visit the store to buy within a week, and 34 percent felt the offers were important but that they would continue to comparison shop online until they found the best deal.

What type of small business Facebook ads work best?

Thirty-six percent of people polled preferred ads based on their personal interests, while 27 percent click on ads based on their current location (never mind privacy issues), and 20 percent interact with an ad that is targeted to their age or gender. Only 17 percent were attracted to ads that were simply colorful or interactive.

What types of businesses draw the most advertising interest? 

Restaurants (38 percent) take the lead with the highest level of Facebook engagement. Beauty/spa services and education/training come in second place with 14 percent each, followed by financial services (9 percent), home services (8 percent), medical/dental (7 percent), car dealerships (5 percent), and realtors (5 percent).

If your business does not fit neatly into one of those categories, it doesn’t mean you should shy away from showcasing your company on social channels. Remember that more than 800 million people find themselves on Facebook each month. Why not make it easy for a few of them find and at the least “like” your business page?

EwaldK_headshot

A former journalist (Time Inc.) and executive web producer (MSN Sidewalk), Kristin is now a small business owner whose company specializes in website makeovers and produces content that is designed to engage customers, build brands, and generate sales for B2B and B2C clients.

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