Schedulicity develops scheduling software-as-a-service that helps small businesses manage their appointments and customers more effectively. Its customers—who use the service to let their own customers book appointments online—are mainly service providers such as pet groomers, hairstylists and massage therapists.
Schedulicity has always embraced social media as a way to get its word out to potential customers. Facebook was one of its first forays into social marketing. Schedulicity's Facebook page went up nearly four years ago. “We don't have a sales force, so we needed to get qualified traffic into the site,” said Steve Cannon, the company's VP-digital media. “Initially, it started as an experiment because everyone was saying there was no way for b-to-b companies to monetize Facebook.”
About a year later, the company expanded its focus on the social media site, creating vertically targeted ads that addressed accountants, massage therapists and hairdressers, among others. The ads took people to optimized landing pages so Cannon could track conversion rates. Initially, he said, he also tracked impressions and cost-per-click.
Over time, Cannon decided that he would reuse some of the positive comments, recommendations and fan commentary from the company's Facebook page on the landing pages. “Once we started tying social endorsements and Facebook data on the landing page, we realized we could minimize the amount of copy on those pages and boost conversion,” Cannon said.
When people clicked on an ad, they were taken to the landing page where they could see if any of their friends “liked” the page, as well as read recommendations from actual customers. The ads, which are up 24/7 to capture as many prospects as possible, have evolved over time and are now targeted by gender, geographic location and feature various calls to action. The ads are edited often and only “run a short time,” Cannon said. “Within seven to 10 days, people become blind to the ads so you have to be continually looking at what's working and dialing up new versions of the ads so people want to click through.”
In addition, Cannon analyzes and incorporates data from its organic search traffic. These two strategies have helped Schedulicity drop its cost-per-lead by 80%.
Today, Schedulicty gets about 5,000 visits per week to its Facebook page, and has nearly 70,000 fans. The page itself is updated frequently, with Schedulicity's director of new media constantly handling questions or service inquiries from fans or putting up relevant information to drive conversations, Cannon said. He said he thinks part of the success comes from the fact that the company's Facebook page is completely open—you don't have to “like” it to see the content—and includes video, a free trial tab and several sections designed for vertical markets.
“People are smart enough to recognize transparent conversations,” Cannon said. “A lot of companies are out there trying to force a "like,' but we don't push at all. We want the growth to come naturally.”