Facebook started as a way for college students to stay in touch. It’s exploded into a world-wide social media phenomenon connecting consumers with businesses. In fact, it’s among the most important digital marketing tools available. It has literally billions of users, all of whom could potentially access your content – even if they live nowhere near you.
Admittedly, Facebook often finds itself facing controversy in the media, but it remains a powerful marketing tool. Here are some ways you can use this popular platform to reach your current and future customers.
What is Facebook Marketing?
Marketing on Facebook encompasses the use of organic posts and paid Facebook ads to engage current and potential customers. Its advantages include access to a potentially global audience on a platform that many of your customers are already using. It can also be a conduit to enhanced customer service and increased web traffic.
How to use Facebook for Business Marketing
You can use the following tools and methods for powerful marketing and advertising on Facebook:
- Your Facebook business page. All effective Facebook marketing strategies start with your business page. You can fully customize your page to reflect your logo, brand voice, and other key brand elements. Once you’ve taken all these steps, you should consistently post content that’s relevant to your audience. Videos, images, links to your newest blog posts, and updates on your business should all do the trick.
- Facebook advertising. Just like newspapers are full of paid ads, so too is Facebook’s news feed. You can buy spots for your business in these ads. You can set your Facebook ad campaigns to target certain demographics without going over your budget. As your campaign progresses, you’ll have access to Facebook insights showing how well your ads are performing.
- Promoted posts. Like ads, promoted posts appear more highly in news feeds thanks to the money you put behind them. However, they differ from globally visible ads in that they appear only toward the top of your followers’ and their friends’ feeds. They make the most of your built-in audience since, due to the Facebook algorithm, it’s rare that the majority of your followers will see your posts without this boost.
- Sponsored stories. This Facebook ad type showcases your businesses to the connections of people who like your page. Similar to word of mouth marketing, using social proof like friends liking a service can help build trust with customers who are much more closely connected to your brand than other people you may try to appeal to on Facebook.
- Social media contests. As with any social media platform, Facebook is a powerful channel for hosting contests and giveaways. To start a contest, create a Facebook post with details on the prize and instructions on how to enter. Your call to action can lead to significant increases in your engagement, as it’s hard to resist the potential for a freebie. Just make sure you’re linking out to a social media contest platform in your post, as Facebook itself can’t track contest entries.
- Facebook Live. Some customers might be excited to log onto Facebook and get a notification that your company is currently streaming live video. That’s the power of Facebook Live: It catches customers off-guard, but in a way that allows for opt-in or opt-out. Those who are indeed interested will tune in for this blink-and-you-missed-it opportunity to engage with your brand, potentially leading to more sales.
Tips on how to market effectively on Facebook
Below are some key tips to marketing effectively on Facebook:
1. Define your goals
What do you expect to gain from a presence on Facebook? Do you want to spark more sales, increase visibility or engage with users? Once you’ve nailed down what you want to achieve you can start planning and posting. Examples of goals might be to:
- Increase awareness of your brand
- Launch a new product
- Increase sales
- Simply create a sense of community, and many more.
2. Set up your page
A sloppy, unattractive or incomplete Facebook page can sink your efforts before you get going. Important elements include a strong profile image, a solid company description and posts that are short, sweet and to the point. You should also make sure your cover photo is exciting enough to engage page visitors from the jump, and you should complete every section of your profile. A dull initial appearance and a lack of info are both ways to discourage customers from sticking around before they even get to know your brand.
3. Spend a little money
The Facebook Ads platform is a great way to reach more of the right kind of people. It’s not a complex process but takes some getting used to. It also costs some money – as with traditional ads, Facebook promotion isn’t free. However, Facebook advertising can fit your budget more easily than can many other digital marketing methods. The social media experts at Hootsuite share tips and tricks to easily set up a Facebook ad campaign: How to Create the Perfect Facebook Ad in Minutes.
4. Learn from the pros
Here are examples of top-performing Facebook ads. Take a look at the visuals and copy from successful large and small businesses: Best Facebook Ad Examples. Big businesses like PayPal use simple icons to get their story across while a smaller company may have success simply promoting a sale or new product.
5. Post quality content
Organic posts (as opposed to paid ads) are a great opportunity to shine! Put on your creative hat to write clever copy and post images that pop. Promote a special sale, profile a customer, share behind-the-scenes photos and capitalize on hashtags that are trending (think #kissaredheadday or #postapuppypic). Use Facebook Insights to determine the best time to post depending on the day of the week.
6. Respond to questions and comments
Don’t throw up a page and ignore it. You’ll need to create and post content on a regular basis to keep your audience engaged and keep your business top of mind. If you get a nice comment, thank them. Address negative comments immediately and take them offline if possible through a phone call or Facebook’s private messenger). Learn more via the SmartBiz Loans blog: How to Respond to Negative Reviews.
7. Track performance
There are specific measurements you should track to see if your Facebook page is performing. You’ll want to look at likes, shares, clicks, and other forms of engagement. Here’s an article outlining the important metrics you should track to keep your content on point: The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Analytics. Key Performance Indicators are related to your overall goals so be sure to align with the numbers that count.
8. Work with an expert
Organic Social Media activity is pretty simple to manage. You post, you respond, and you track performance – or so you think. Posting isn’t always a conduit to engagement and sales, and working with an expert can help you close any gaps preventing you from performing your best. If you want to elevate your game, you might want to hire an outside social media strategist to handle strategy and day-to-day activity. Learn how to hire one here: How to Hire a Social Media Strategist.
9. Make your brand voice sound real
A stilted, business-like voice does no favors for your social media marketing strategy. Your Facebook audience is more likely to feel something when it sees posts that sound like an actual person could have written them. Memorable content is more important than sounding professional – talk to your audience, not at it.
10. Avoid aggressive advertising
Facebook users go to the platform to see what their friends are up to or get basic information about businesses in their area. They don’t go there to see aggressive ads. That’s why Facebook ads set low maximum character counts for your text, and it’s why you shouldn’t circumvent these limits with posts full of sales language. Avoid hard-sell tactics in favor of content that speaks organically to your target audience’s interests.
11. Post consistently and often
No, you don’t need to post every second of every day, but a few posts per day is generally good practice. As you devise a strategy for posting consistently, use analytics to determine the times of day at which your audience is most responsive. Then, stick to posting at only those times. Social media scheduling tools can help on this front.
12. Lean into Facebook audience insights
Facebook Audience Insights is great for more than determining when your audience is most engaged. It can also tell you who’s in your audience – where they live, what age brackets they belong to, what types of content they like. You can use this information to tweak your content accordingly. As you position your content to meet your audience’s wants and needs, you might see more engagement.
13. Consider your content's intent
As you get to know your audience and build a posting schedule, you might be tempted to flood your page with overtly promotional content. Doing so is a mistake. Experts suggest that one-third of your content focus on ideas and stories, one-third on direct follower interactions, and the remainder on explicit promotion. Stick to this division as you implement your content strategy.
14. Get followers to your page and keep them there
Helping potential and current customers find and follow your Facebook page is as important to marketing as your actual content. Include obvious links to your Facebook page in your blog posts, email newsletters, and other communications. Keep newly arrived followers on the page with a compelling profile picture and cover image that catch their attention. This foundation helps attract followers who may then spend time learning about your business.
Make full use of Facebook’s marketing tools
Ads and insights are the foundation of an effective Facebook marketing strategy rather than the nexus of a strong approach. You should instead build on this foundation with the below tools:
- Facebook Business Manager. The overview Facebook Business Manager offers is even more powerful than what you see in Insights. It’s also key for involving third parties such as marketing agencies in your Facebook marketing approach.
- Facebook Messenger. Facebook Messenger is more than a tool for communication between individual Facebook users. Some Facebook users may contact you through Messenger, and failing to respond to them quickly can lose their business. You can also add a Messenger chatbot that automates the process of responding to customers. The result is a positive customer experience from start to finish.
- Facebook groups. Joining prominent Facebook groups or creating your own group where customers can help one another is a highly effective customer loyalty tactic. As customers learn about your brand’s excellence from you or each other, your engagement and sales may increase. Learn more via the SmartBiz Loans blog: Facebook Marketing Guide For Small Businesses.
Is Facebook the right tool for your business?
Facebook has more than 2 billion daily active users worldwide. Of course, only a minuscule amount of those users will be good targets for your goods or services. Launching a social media strategy can take time, energy and a bit of expertise. Before you dive in, find out where your customers hang out online. You can do this by emailing a short survey, creating an old fashioned questionnaire if you have a bricks and mortar location or simply asking current customers. Determine if a Facebook presence makes sense for your brand.
Dig deeper with SmartBiz
The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has an article that gives a good overview of digital marketing strategies you can use outside of Facebook. Take a look and pick the options that work for you: Digital Marketing for Your Small Business.