Interviewing Matt Astifan - Founder of Web Friendly :::
Entrepreneur Profiles ::: Online Marketing Lessons
Matt Astifan runs an online education firm called Web Friendly, His services focus on Facebook Fan Page conversions, but also takes on speaking gigs as a presenter on social media and Internet marketing. He’s also the co-organizer of Internet Masterminds Group, a non-profit Meetup for professionals to learn about online marketing.
::: The Story
People who work in the online marketing world quickly realize they need to look at stats and Matt’s work is no different. He makes sure the Facebook Fan Pages that he designs provide a comfortable conversion rate. If you have 100 visitors in one day and 23 click “like”, your conversion rate for that day is 23%. The next step is to invite the “liker” to subscribe to something, for example an email mailing list. Matt’s clients see up to an 80% conversion of Fan Page likers to email subscribers. In the online marketing world, conversion rates are usually less than 5%. Even though we’re talking about a stage two conversion rate (stage one is getting the visitor to click like), subscribers are the valuable ones because they have said, “Yes I am interested in the stuff you are doing and I want to receive updates.”
On December 5th, Matt Astifan came across an article entitled “Why Marketers Misunderstand Facebook”. For Astifan, this blog post just crystallized the marketing era we now live in. The author of this blog post, Paul Adams, points out that TV, radio and newspapers were one way and non-interactive. In the infancy of the social web, we need to realize that interaction is now key in online marketing. The social web has existed for over a decade on message boards, but widespread adoption provides the appropriate context. Facebook will soon be pushing one billion members! Matt Astifan realized the potential for Facebook marketing a while ago and hasn’t looked back since. In the process he’s gotten very good at engaging with his own fans, but also training others to engage with their fans using the right content and the right Fan Page processes.
Matt points out that “It’s much cheaper to promote to targeted subscribers on your own Fan Page, compared to externally advertising to your website”. If you know what you are doing on Facebook, why bother spending hundreds [or thousands] of dollars on banner ads when you can hire Matt to build a high converting campaign on your own Fan Page? He has tried and tested a formula to convert the highest possible number of visitors into subscribers for both his clients and his own Web Friendly platform. I’m interviewing entrepreneurs like Matt to get to the meat of social media marketing, drawing a lesson out each time to help others. I spoke with Matt this past week and time management kept popping up in our conversation. So what’s the lesson here?
::: Lesson Learned
Social media ain’t easy. It’s not free and it’s time consuming. We all know social media costs money to produce professional content, or to pay someone to manage your Fan Page. However, it does not have to take hours every day. Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon are very entertaining, so yes social websites can easily drain your time. There’s so much stuff coming at you that you get sidetracked and end up watching a cool video when you really should be focusing on sales for example. You can use these social networks for marketing, keeping in contact with friends and of course building your network. If on the other hand you have time to read this article, then you probably have time to market your business. Matt says “My take on people saying they don’t have time for social media is to ask how much time they spend marketing their business. They usually say very little or none. So everyone has time for social media they just have to learn the time effective ways of using it. That’s what I teach at my workshops.” When you reserve some time to market your business, you’ll realize that your energy gets burned up in a few ways, by consuming content, producing content and interacting.
When you have over a couple hundred friends on Facebook, you cannot possibly read every update. In fact, Facebook has content filters [Edgerank], so you don’t have to read through everyone’s posts. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of your network. Reading updates keeps you in the know. For example, Matt knows that if he posts a marketing message during a hockey game, his fan might unlike his Fan Page. By Facebook’s default algorithm, only 17% of your Fan Page fans will see your daily updates. Matt believes:
“We should stick to actions that either build relationships with industry influencers or drive traffic to our websites and landing pages. Social Media has become a major player in SEO rankings however Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and StumbleUpon are my #1 sources of traffic. The time spent engaging on social media platforms is well worth the investment once you have built an engaged audience. Social media consumption needs to be looked at from the perspective of life-time value. An affective social media strategy builds relationships, not sell products. A campaign sells products.”
So from the perspective of consumption, we really need to manage our time effectively, especially with the unmanageable amount of information being posted. Facebook’s Edgerank algorithms make your content consumption habits possible. Without Facebook’s help, you would be lost in an ocean of status updates and posted photos. It’s important to understand how time consuming it is to take in all the status updates on Facebook because Matt will then show you how to send out the most effective updates from your Fan Page to cut through all that noise.
Matt suggests sharing a minimum of 5 items per week on your Fan Page. He also approaches each message with a strategy. For example, a question will elicit answers and opinions. Providing your own opinion on an article is a great way to create conversations around the topic. Another approach that will help you is using certain online tools. In the summer of 2011, Matt suggested a tool called Timely and I’ve used it ever since. It works great for sharing your daily content in advance. I know there’s a competing platform called BufferApp, but Timely has built in analysis algorithms. When you connect your Twitter account, it analyzes your last 199 tweets and will send out your queued Tweets at the optimal time of day, where you reach the most clickers, readers and retweeters. Timely does the same for Facebook, analyzing the last set of status updates to determine the best time of day to send it out. Use tools that free up your content production time, so you can accomplish more important tasks like sales.
Maybe now you want more engaging content production strategies, well Matt’s a helpful guy. Try interacting with him here.
Sharing content is one thing, but what about interacting? At the top of this article, we briefly went over an external blog post talking about this new era in online marketing that is marked by interaction. Notice the formula Matt uses in the “Plug” section below. Just because you use a tool like Timely does not mean you will generate sales through your Facebook Fan Page. If you hate replying to comments and thanking someone who liked your page, then try being creative and think of other ways you could approach that challenge. Consider hiring an assistant that will filter all the messages that don’t matter, but will forward sales related ones to you. Consuming content is directly related to interacting because to engage with someone means we have to take in some information. I know it takes time, but reading and then replying to a comment on your FB Fan Page in today’s marketing era is just as important as using tools!
Interaction is essential, now we all just need to figure out clever ways of balancing our priorities while replying to messages, comments and engaging with others online.
Here are a few recent Facebook Fan Pages that Matt has built along with his conversion formula that you can apply. (It does require some code, so if needed, you can contact Matt on Facebook or on Twitter for help.) :::
1. Welcome Page: Like my page to get a specific benefit
2. Reveal Page: Give user benefit and offer more of the same in subscription
3. Thank You Page: Thank them, remind to confirm subscription, and ask to share page with friends.