If you’ve been involved with any form Facebook marketing and engagement for your business over the past several years, you can’t have missed the name Amy Porterfield. Amy is a social media marketing expert who has become one of the most relied-on consultants and trainers in the online world by helping businesses build the leads, fans and loyal communities they want on Facebook as well as exponentially grow their email lists, which Amy calls the “beating heart of your business.”
I caught up with Amy this week to explore her thoughts on the one most damaging myth about Facebook marketing, as well as her insider secrets to rock your marketing efforts through Facebook. I also asked Amy what she would suggest to do immediately, to grow a consulting and training business like mine.
Here’s what Amy shared:
Kathy Caprino: Amy, how did you land on Facebook marketing as your primary niche — why do you love it so much?
Amy Porterfield: When I left my corporate job with Tony Robbins, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were just starting to take off. In 2010, I was asked by Mike Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, if I would create and manage his Facebook page.
As the community manager of the page, I engaged with the fans daily, answering questions and sharing the best content we could put together based on the fans’ needs. I noticed that almost instantly a loyal community was born, making Social Media Examiner the go-to site for all social media-related questions and how-to strategies. After giving the community time to grow, Mike started to sell his virtual events to this community with incredible success. I was then offered a book deal to co-authorFacebook Marketing All-In-One For Dummies. That’s when I dove into “everything Facebook” and started to really understand the power of the FB platform.
Caprino: There are thousands of social media marketing “gurus” promising all sorts of amazing results – what do you think about that?
Porterfield: There are plenty of well-versed social media strategists sharing their best tips for success. Social media marketing “gurus” with integrity will always inform their audience that there is no “magic bullet” to success. Those who promise results without clarifying the needed effort along with a solid marketing plan are irresponsible and unfortunately misleading the public. An effective social media consultant will get to know your audience and your business intimately. They will go behind the scenes to learn the day-to-day aspects of how your business works and what your audience is asking for, in order to tailor your content and direction effectively.
Caprino: What are some of the biggest myths and misguided notions about Facebook marketing that we need to dispel for small businesses and entrepreneurs?
Porterfield: Entrepreneurs and small business owners tend to make the mistake of considering Facebook a direct selling platform . This mindset is misguided and can lead to frustration and “throwing in the towel” on Facebook. What people need to understand is that Facebook can be a powerfully successful road to making the sale, but it is not the “store.” Facebook is a place to cultivate relationships with potential customers, encourage engagement, share relevant and helpful content, and while developing trust with your fans, taking interested buyers through a sales funnel OFF of Facebook.
Caprino: Amy, what are the three best insider secrets you can share about how to rock your marketing through Facebook?
Porterfield: My three “secrets” are:
1. Get to KNOW your audience.
I cannot emphasize this enough. If you listen closely and ask the right questions (surveys are great), your fans will tell you exactly what’s missing and where their frustration lies. I particularly love private Facebook groups for this purpose. Whether your group is a bonus from a paid program or a free group where membership is requested, it’s a fantastic opportunity to be a community leader and go-to source in your industry.
2. You need an effective Facebook marketing strategy.
You need a blueprint of sorts, to know what you want your prospect to do and how you want them to do it. Know that you are leading folks through a sales funnel, and it’s a process. My favorite way to do this is to guide interested prospects to my email subscriber list. I often do this by offering a free webinar where they can learn in greater detail how to build their businesses effectively. From there the “know, like, and trust” value continues to grow as I communicate with them via email.
3. Don’t be afraid.
Don’t shy away Facebook ads – they can be extremely effective for a moderately low budget. While every social media platform is different, when it comes to paid advertising, there is nothing more powerful than Facebook ads. These ads are extremely effective because of the unique, highly-targeted ad possibilities. You can target your ads to fans of other Facebook pages, build custom audiences, create a look-alike audience, and even target folks who have visited your blog post. By leveraging some paid ads within your marketing campaign, you will gain visibility and stand out from among the noisy crowd.
Caprino: If I hired you as a consultant to help grow my consulting and training business, with a small budget (say $5,000), what would you tell me to do first?
Porterfield: The first thing I would suggest is to create original content that fills a need (think pain point) for your audience. I would drive Facebook ads to your content while building your email list. Your email list really is the “beating heart” of your business because online business is a relationship-building process and email allows you to cultivate your customers over time. I created a strategy called the “Fill Up Formula,”—a content-focused webinar strategy; I will walk you through a simplified version. Keep in mind that the final stage of the process will be to fill up a webinar with people who are already interested in your product or service that you can pitch at the end of the webinar.
Here’s how to do it:
- Create a blog post (or podcast episode) of original content that is relevant and directly aligned with your webinar content.
- Design a pre-webinar opt in freebie, such as a guide or cheat sheet that again, is fully-aligned with your webinar content, and place it in your blog post as a freebie. You will be able to send the folks who opt in an invitation to your webinar.
- Using free social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., send people (i.e. direct traffic) to your blog post.
- If you already have an existing email list, send out a broadcast sharing your blog post.
- Using Facebook ads, you will have already placed a “custom audience pixel” (specific tracking code) on your blog post that gives you the ability to re-direct the FB ad to those people who have already visited your website. These people are considered warm leads because they have already shown genuine interest in your content. You’ll later target this warm market with a FB ad directing them to your webinar sign-up page.
The idea is that you’ll be filling up your webinar with people who are raising their hand, eager to receive your message and hear about your paid offer.
And here’s a final tip: Facebook loves when you send Facebook ads to content that is not locked behind a sign up form. Therefore, sending ads to a blog post directly tends to be less expensive when running ads.
Caprino: Finally, any other advice for entrepreneurs and small business about social media marketing as a whole?
Porterfield: Here are a few final recommendations:
Find your “sweet spot”.
Discover that place where your audience spends their time, and focus your energies there. Spreading yourself too thin by running around from site to site is a recipe for disaster. Start in one central location, get to know your audience, and expand from there.
Realize that social media is second in line to building your email list.
You will never own the social sites, but you will always own your email list. The key is to engage with folks through social media and let them know how they can be a part of your list by offering a free irresistible giveaway.
Dive in with confidence.
No matter where you are on the continuum of online business or entrepreneurial success, mindset plays a huge role in how your business will continue to grow. Know that what you don’t know, you can figure out and everyday you are carving out your path.
More than anything, potential clients want to feel supported and reassured that you have what they need to fill their gap towards success. You may be surprised to learn that of even greater importance than your content is your likability, authenticity, and presence.
For more information about social media marketing and building your email list, visit AmyPorterfield.com.
This article originally appeared in Forbes.