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Making Social Advertising Work for Lead Generation

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Blogger are the future of advertising because of their ability to take a three-dimensional shape in an influential and social world.

I travel a lot, every week, in fact. So it came as no surprise that a recent return flight to Atlanta was yet again delayed for reasons unknown. Standing in the gate lounge, I couldn’t help but notice a common theme: there, glued to the screens of their smartphones, were countless passengers reviewing email, evaluating flight plans and checking multiple social media sites. What were among the most popular that day? Facebook. The Wall Street Journal estimates that more than 47 percent of people who have an investment level of more than $1 million live and play on Facebook.

It is a domain that, since its inception, has helped people connect in a digital space, allowing them to share personal information, photographs and interests. For businesses, Facebook is a vast space where thousands of potential prospects are gathered, yet advertising on this site remains under-used and under-capitalized.

If engaged correctly, social advertising has significant potential to improve any business’ lead generation. Business executives specifically are seeking ways to attract viable prospects for greater growth. These viable subscribers have already been pooled into one domain, Facebook. Digital advertising should be in the forefront of all business developments, as digital advertising allows users to continue learning about brands in a seamless way that primitive print advertising cannot.

Business Leads are Needles in the Haystack

The beauty of Facebook is the social media platform’s ability to identify that needle almost seamlessly, despite the clutter and noise surrounding it. Facebook advertising essentially works by setting parameters to help businesses pinpoint their specific target audience with a user-friendly questionnaire that is simple, yet thorough.

For example, as a business owner, you want to go after a demographic of individuals who could potentially be successful business owners. You want these individuals to: have the liquid capital to open a business, be over the age of 28 and like luxury cars. With these specific guidelines, we have built a target audience. Facebook then delivers the demographics to your electronic doorstep; in this case the number was a total of 50,000 individuals. These 50,000 people you have targeted will see an ad on the right side of their respective Facebook pages spotlighting your brand. Demographics can be narrowed down even further by gender if necessary. The narrower the criteria, the higher the cost, but the ad will now target this particular audience, and this particular audience only. This is how leads are generated.

Establish Your Marketing Budget

A majority of franchisors will spend $8,000 to $12,000 in marketing for each deal they close. If brand “X” has a development goal of 50 units in 2013, they are going to need a budget of $500,000 to promote 50 deals. Social advertising is the supplemental “bullet” that assists these major expenses. It should only be a small percentage of a marketing budget, but an imperative one. Franchisors should advertise where they have the best opportunity to reach audiences and extend the life of the funds they delegate to placing their brand at the forefront of lead awareness.

Clearly Define Your Target

Strategically, business leaders want clearly targeted prospects to develop a voice to speak to them effectively on their fan page. Facebook‘s “likes” and “clicks” are only one piece of the puzzle. The other sizable determinant to successful social advertising is word-of-mouth influence. This vocal assertion among potential leads builds emotional wealth for a brand. By leveraging this strategy, advertisements don’t just have text, they have sturdier clout.

Define Your Voice

A brand’s fan page should have a clear voice and direction. It should be informative and interactive, allowing leads to navigate quickly and directly through information. In addition to seamless organization, a fan page should include a franchise development tab. This tab enables brands to capitalize on a call-to-action feature, a resource that print advertising simply doesn’t provide. This detail is vital for a company to create a solid social advertising campaign that is advantageous for lead formation.

Let social tools do the work for you

Small and large franchisors alike need to take advantage of advanced tools to harness what social advertising can do for their businesses. The reason social advertising works so well is because of its many moving parts. Instead of only generating impressions, which are only effective quantity-wise, social advertising creates a deeper marketing indent with an advertisement and a call to action all in one polished online package. Franchise brands need to start thinking “out of the box” and utilizing these tactics to connect the dots for potential leads. Facebook may not give a company immediate return on investment, but it will create enough disruption in a congested advertising domain to deliver an impact on potential leads.

The brilliance of Facebook is that it compiles all the information necessary for a brand to advertise in a digital domain, doing the grunt work for brands. New registrations on Facebook are essentially providing the site’s internal database with personal information which algorithms then track. After pinpointing an intentional audience, brands must now take the next step in engaging these potential leads. To execute this step correctly, brands must link their Facebook advertisement to their Facebook fan page, not their website’s homepage. This is the step at which most brands tend to fail most often. If a Facebook lead clicks on the ad and is then directed to a homepage, they are now swimming aimlessly in the World Wide Web at an IP address, foregoing all their personal information such as gender, age and their interests. While a homepage may be useful for brand information and opportunities, that would-be prospect is now essentially nonexclusive and generic.
Instead, to complete this successfully, a brand should guide leads to their Facebook fan page and then utilize it as a sales tool. This is where brands can provide interactive information, allow a potential lead to engage with the content, and create a dialogue. That lead now has the tools to educate himself about a potential investment or opportunity in the future.

Understand the I.L.W.E

When identifying the proper and most operative way to market to prospects, businesses must always remember to look at a potential lead’s investment, lifestyles, wealth and equity or I.L.W.E. These are the four categories that must be addressed and satisfied on a Facebook fan page. Potential leads that have the monetary funds to own a business love the personalized aspects of life; and brands need to cater to this specific demographic.

One of the biggest misses in today’s advertising age is companies peddling their brand by telling consumers to buy product A or buy product B and failing to consider the personal interests of their target audience. Franchisors need to take a genuine interest in their leads and in their communities; only then can they effectively strategize and target through Facebook.

Although Facebook is influencing the movement of social advertising in the right direction, a validated brand needs to have its campaign pushed from all five of the social media giants: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Blogger. These sites are the future of advertising because of their ability to take a three-dimensional shape in an influential and social world. Cooperatively, they direct leads to a brand’s favorable direction and provide a journey for a prospect, instead of just a feeble dent.

R. Scott Sutton, CFE, is vice president of franchise development for Safeguard Franchise Systems Inc. Safeguard’s 278 U.S and Canandian distributors and franchisees provide the products, services and expertise to help business owners run and grow their enterprises. He can be reached at 214-640-3928, or his Twitter handle @rscottsutton.


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