With all of the noise that clogs up social channels, it can be difficult, almost impossible, to make your startup stand out. Luckily, Tom Comerota, the founder and CEO of DentalStores (and Graduate of the New York Founder Institute), has outlined his strategy to dramatically increase your audience and boost engagement on Faceboook in this guest post.
Experiments in Social
We had been wanting to test the waters in social for a while now - the potential reach and opportunity to grow sales is incredible. So we decided in October to try it out.
Our primary goal was to gain a following on Facebook and understand how we could use this to increase awareness and/or drive sales. We would use our page to connect with consumers or professionals, promoting our products and services directly to those interested. While we would establish fronts on other networks to see how they worked, this initiative would focus mostly on Facebook.
1. Accumulate visit data from users outside of Facebook, across our web properties, using the Facebook Pixel (Marketing API). This data could be leveraged to build a small pool of users, or a more generalized audience profile, that could eventually be shown relevant promotional material or communication within Facebook. This would be especially helpful for connecting with consumers.
2. Create a separate Facebook Page for a new blog that could be used as our vehicle for connecting with users. Using a separate page and blog would allow us to experiment with content, among other things.
We started by integrating Facebook Pixel across our stores. Since each of the stores are separate sites (i.e. unique subdomains) and are specific to each dental office, this could help us improve individual store performance in the future, while contributing to a more refined overall audience profile. We could then connect with similar Facebook users who had strong interest in oral care.
Then we worked on our Facebook Page. During the first 3 months we put together a small blog, attempting to gain likes by inviting friends and experimenting with giveaways, funny memes and simple blog posts. Towards the end of the year, we realized this wasn't connecting us to a wide enough audience, so we tweaked content and invested in some ads.
The ads worked. It also turned out that approaching the consumer side of the equation was more difficult than the professionals, so we would have to rely on our pixel initiative to connect with them. Ultimately, paying Facebook to boost posts for exposure to dental professionals, then inviting those who interacted with ads to like our page, was all we needed to do. We doubled down on anything that worked and discarded the non-performing posts.
Rinse and repeat.
We went from less than 900 likes in December to nearly 9000 likes by the beginning of March. But that's just a proxy for our reach.
Once we hit a certain threshold of likes, our organic reach (free/unpaid) went up exponentially, meaning we could spend less and still reach our audience. Reach is important, because not everyone will like/follow our page, but our content can still display to them - and getting in front of people is what can really drive other metrics.
Now that we're in front of people, we have to engage them and convert them into happy customers for this all to make sense. Our engagement rate is consistently between 5-10%, which is a great start. From here we can work on conversion.
Results for Organic (unpaid) Reach (i.e. number of people who saw our posts):
- October 2016: 200 per post (maximum)
- February 2017: 400,000 per post (maximum)
- February 2017: 1.13 million total reach
- October 17 2016: 1 (me)
- February 28 2017: 8600
All told, we got a decent following and connected with an audience for a few hundred dollars per month. Additionally, Facebook used the pixel data set to help us create an audience profile that we could now leverage in future marketing efforts to many millions of their users.
DentalStores is a comprehensive E-Commerce service that enables dental practices of all sizes to build and operate an online store for their patients. Just register your dental store and you can start offering products and services to your patients right now!
(Message SOCIAL MEDIA on ascending arrow above bar graph of Wooden small cubes isolated on black background. Chalk drawing on blackboard. Business Concept image by Shutterstoc)