When it comes to marketing your business, it’s often a question of Google vs Facebook.
Afterall, These two behemoths get most people’s online browsing attention.
The hard-cold facts are that there are now 1.7 billion people using Facebook and more than a trillion (and growing) searches on Google every year.
But which of these is best, Google or Facebook, for your business in terms of driving sales?
Let’s start with why you would use one versus the other.
Google is feeding an intent based behaviour where people with a specific need research the topic on Google to find a solution.
Google is the most popular search engine in the world with other 70% of the market share of internet searchers. They also hold the powerful position of helping people in their moment of need.
What this means is that people are actively looking for information on your product or service (even if they don’t know they need your particular thing yet). If you are turn up in the search results on Google – either in the organic listings and/ or in the paid listings your likelihood of a new customer finding you goes up significantly.
Being able to tap into this need is a powerful opportunity.
On the flip side, users on Facebook have no intent when it comes to finding or using your product or service. People are using Facebook to connect with their friends, family and connect with things of interest to them. The power of Facebook is the amount of time that people spend on the platform and it’s powerful targeting capability. If someone has a particular interest, then Facebook allows you to target them.
While people are not actively searching, or looking for solutions or products etc, they are always open to information or posts that is of interest to them. This means Facebook needs a very different approach as a sales and marketing platform.
Using Facebook to market your business is very much about adding value to your target audience.
Not selling to them but helping them, educating or entertaining them to get their attention, rather than a straight-out sales piece. You want to engage them on a topic of mutual interest to start a connection. This is very different from Google’s intent based approach, fulfilling an in-the-moment need.
Examples with chickens
Let’s consider an example of how the two work differently. Consider that you’re selling an e-course on how to raise chickens.
If someone is looking for information or a course on how to raise chickens, then they will go to Google and search for courses. They fully expect listings and information that will help them understand the options available to them, how much it will cost, what will be covered etc. These people want to be marketed to because there is an advantage to them as they want relevant information to answer their questions and need.
On the other hand, someone that has an interest in back yard vegetable gardening may also be interested in chickens. Note, they may be interested but they are not looking for anything on this topic.
By providing some thought provoking tips and information on keeping back yard chickens, for free via Facebook posts will raise their interest and allow you to then build on the initial contact with a view to eventually selling the course to them.
Making use of Google and your audience’s intent
Ok, so we've established that Google is great for when your target audience already has intent and is taking action to find information to help them.
It gets even more powerful when you consider the fact that not everyone knows exactly what they are after to start with. A problem that needs a solution may start with identifying what can fix their problem or fulfil their need. This is quite different to when they’ve done a bit of research and know exactly what product, brand, colour etc they want. It gives you lots of opportunities to help them, so that they become familiar with you and you can build some trust ahead of the point where they are ready to sell and you are able to put forward your offering.
To make the most of Google as part of your marketing efforts, you must therefore create great content that matches at least one or all of the various searches that a person will make.
For example, a person looking for information on chickens may start with searching for information on what do chickens eat and what kind of chickens they should get.
Conducting thorough key word analysis and research, paying attention to good SEO practices and working with your web developer to make sure your website is well optimised for search ranking will also be necessary.
However, depending on how strong your competition is, ranking on the first page may take some time or may be difficult if you are up against strong competition.
This is where being strategic with how you approach search is worthwhile. Introducing some paid advertising on Google can speed things along and give you an artificial boost to reach your audience in their moment of search.
Making use of Facebook & their interest
The challenge of Facebook is that people are not there for your great advertising. They are somewhat blind to blatant sales pitches. However, the strength of Facebook is that it is all about connections and finding interesting information to engage with.
If you can find the angle that will appeal to your target audience, then this is a strong platform to be on.
However, there are a few things to be aware of.
Using Facebook and hoping for ‘free’ traffic as an organic strategy where people see, like and share your content is pretty much guaranteed to not get you very far now a days. Facebook do not favour ‘business content’ and will not (often) show your content to your followers.
However, they have a fantastic ad platform that is reasonably priced and very flexible in how you can target people.
The key will be finding an engaging and interesting way to get the attention of your audience. Once you’ve worked this out, then you will be set to go, at least for a while.
The downside of Facebook is that while you can promote to your audience, a hard sell approach will rarely work. You will need to take time to court your target audience with constant content updates, encouraging them to visit your website for more information.
Typical use of Facebook by businesses is to run a paid ad campaign on Facebook with an interesting article or give away like a fact sheet or template or similar. It needs to be something that is valuable and interesting to the audience. The goal is to drive them through to your website where you can provide value, and ask for their email address so that you can then proceed to build a relationship with them after the fact.
The other point to be aware of with Facebook is that the audience is relatively static. You can’t keep showing the same creative and content month after month and hope that it will sustain the same volume of leads that you might enjoy first up. People that are successful on Facebook accept that they must be constantly generating new content and being creative all the time to be successful ongoing.
Facebook and Google used together
While a lot of people will be content to just focus on one or the other, there is a lot of power to using them together strategically.
Facebook is great for raising awareness and igniting an interest which they will then pursue on Google to find more specific information on the topic. If you are present on both channels, then you are not only expanding your potential target market but you are also doubling the chances that you will be ‘present’ with the right information and the right offer to them.
A strong understanding of your target audience is the first step to understanding which approach – search or social will be the best fit for your business. While a combination can be very successful, not all businesses can afford to do both, particularly when first starting out. So take some time to understand your audience and find the best fit for your business.
Why not take steps to develop your digital strategy for an persistent and consistent digital sales funnel?
- Read about working with the Online Fix to develop your digital strategy
- Read about Bring in more sales with an effective digital strategy
- Book in for a free 20 minute Digital Discovery session to explore how digital might help with your business.