In Part One we looked at why Facebook can a be a resource intensive and low ROI marketing tool for business in the firearms sector. That doesn’t mean abandoning it, however, as the platform has some great tools and opportunities which are essentially free to the business. In Part Two we looking at what Facebook does well, and in Part Three we are going to look at how we can get around the marketing blocks we encounter as firearms owners and “monetize the ad platform” (use Facebook ads to sell stuff in normal person speak…).
You may have noticed that we have strayed from the original topic that Part One said this article was going to cover. We realized that this topic goes deep, but it’s a bigger project that we initially scoped (how is that for consulting talk?). As we progress and research, we keep adding to the body of content. What we thought would be a couple of articles is turning out need several. We want the information to be as clear as possible, so hang in there and we will make sure we cover everything properly. – Brent
So we now understand what Facebook won’t do for us. We understand what our boundaries are (for now) as firearms and martial companies operating a presence on the medium. So let’s focus a bot on what Facebook can do for us.
The internet is a terrible communications medium. I am an old school man, and when things get unclear, my go-to move is to get a conference call going. Talking face to face is even better. But in our current reality, that simply isn’t an option nearly as much as it used to be. Especially for customer service.
Facebook is probably one of the best mediums for connecting people together so they can communicate. It’s text-based, but there are video call and voice call options and most of it can be accessed from mobile. There are paid options for chat support that cost thousands a month that don’t even come close to what Facebook does for your business for free. Facebook Messenger is a fantastic way to reach out to clients and have them reach out to you. Now Facebook has matured the tool to the point where you can set automatic messages when you are away (either really away from your tech or just “closed”). You can choose different business “templates” (more like themes, see Image 1) for your Facebook page that have business-related features like listing your services (particularly handy to our Cerakoting clients) and video page covers that allow you to market with your videos on Facebook.
And this communications burden can be spread around. It’s as simple as adding someone you trust (or pay) as an admin to the page (or Editor if you only want them posting content and not changing page settings) and they can take on some of the burden of talking with customers. You can even have people reply directly from your posts via FB Messenger, and engage them directly in a sales chat to close business.
Facebook can be your main customer service gateway, second only to email if utilized correctly. And it doesn’t cost you a cent for the platform. 99% of your customers are there anyway. They are fluent in the system. They are (perhaps most importantly) comfortable being there, so its effortless from their perspective. At least in terms of technology. If you are shitty at customer service, Facebook will circulate that shitty experience at the speed of the internet to even more people that you can via email. Like all tech, it can cut both ways.
The Response Assistant can head off some FAQ type question before they get to you. I encourage you to change these regularly. Having a sale on a particular item that might have some weird questions related to one of its features (Will this fit my AK-45 MK IV with the left-handed port option?) or an event that people are asking the same question on? Address it in the welcome message or better yet, link them to your FAQs page (another article in the queue) so they can self-service. We know, some people just wanna talk to you, but you might be surprised by how many just hit the FAQs page.
These responses can save you a ton of time, set up the customer to feel like they are not being ignored. Yes, even though its an automated message this kind of contact can increase customer service satisfaction. 90% of online retail customer service issues arise when you don’t keep people in the loop. No matter how unreasonably short that loop might be. We have all had that customer that emails 5 minutes after their order to see if it’s shipped yet. On Sunday. At 11 PM.
If you can head off that behaviour and keep the customer happy until you can engage them on the problem, or sale, it goes a long way to improving customer loyalty and satisfaction. These are just a few of the features available on a Facebook page. Features like cross-posting video can allow our brand partners and business cohort to share videos around without having to load them to their page. Working with each other in this way is beneficial as it extends our marketing video reach to other audiences that are guaranteed to be gun positive.
Explore your Facebook page more deeply and take some time to learn about what you can do with it. It’s worth the time.
But what about ads? Facebook’s connectedness is what we need, and we need to reach those people in a targeted way. That means ads, but we can’t get any of them approved. So what’s the workaround?
Join us in Part 3, where we map out a strategy we have found to work well for firearms businesses that want to market on Facebook. Part One can be found here.