Facebook can be a powerful social media marketing platform, offering both unpaid and paid ways to promote your company to customers, potential customers, and referral sources. Facebook describes business pages as a "hub" that makes it easy for people to find a business, allows businesses to connect with their customers, and provides a way for companies to frequently provide interesting content tailored to the interests of followers.
Marketing Your Business on Facebook
Once you have created a Facebook business page, you'll be able to use it as a powerful tool for building your business and its brand.
1. Selecting Content to Share
The types of content that you share via your business Facebook page plays a role in determining if people will want to follow and/or engage with your company. You will need to create, use, and continually update a content plan that includes information and visuals that will appeal to the interests of your audience while also being consistent with your marketing objectives.
Your messages should not all be focused on promoting your company. Instead, as SocialMedia Today recommends, "Use just 20% of your content to promote your brand, and dedicate 80% to content that really interests your audience and engages them in conversations." This is often referred to as the 80/20 rule, and it's a good guideline to follow.
2. Choosing Content Format
The form in which you share information is just as important as choosing the appropriate mix of messages. According to Simply Measured's 2015 Facebook Industry Report, "Links and photos dominate when it comes to overall engagement, but (Facebook) video and photos are the post types to keep an eye on if you want your content to spread more widely on Facebook." It's best to include a mixture to maximize exposure and appeal to your audience.
Web Pro News indicates:
- Images: Images tend to get the highest rates of overall interaction on Facebook, meaning that people are likely to like and comment on them, as well as share them.
- Links: Links do better than videos in terms of interactions, but they are less viral than images or videos. This means that while people do tend to like and comment on links, they are less likely to share links than images are videos.
- Videos: While videos don't get the same level of interaction as images or links, they have viral appeal and are shared at about the same rate as images.
3. Determining Frequency
Consistency is important when it comes to Facebook business pages. As HubSpot points out, you shouldn't "overwhelm your customers with content on Facebook," but it is important to share information via your page on a regular basis. Havepresence.com indicates that a frequency of between one and three posts each day is a good number for most types of businesses. This allows you to maintain consistency without being intrusive. If you do share multiple posts per day, be sure to spread them out across different times of day.
4. Determining When to Share
Timing is also important with posts, although there aren't specific times that all businesses should use. You have to consider your audience. As Havepresence.com indicates, the best time to post content is when your customers are online. Keep in mind, though, that you will have more competition for news feed presence and attention during the peak hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. since that is when most business-oriented content is posted. If your audience may be online before or after these times, you may find that you get more exposure and engagement with off-peak posts.
5. Engaging in Dialogue
Marketing on Facebook goes beyond just pushing content out - it is a two-way dialogue. Using Facebook as a marketing tool is a process that requires ongoing interaction. You can't just push content out without following up with users that take the time to interact with you. When users engage with your content, it's important for you to respond with them in a meaningful way.
Andrew Meyer, Senior Account Manager at Seer Interactive advises, "Remember to continue to interact with fans and potential customers." Take the time to promptly respond to questions and express appreciation for comments and other forms of engagement. As AdWeek points out, Facebook customers expect brands to respond to them in a timely manner and negative things - such as damage to the brand's integrity and loss of business - can happen when they don't.
6. Using Cross-Promotion
It's advisable to integrate Facebook into your overall approach to marketing, engaging in cross-promotion. Meyer states, "We've seen some great results from cross promotion on Facebook." He recommends, "If you're looking to grow your audience, considered promoting your business's Facebook page through the other social platforms and channels you have." His suggestions include:
- Ask people on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, etc to follow your business on Facebook as well.
- If you have an email marketing campaign, you can also include that call to action (CTA) within your next email push.
- Consider syncing up with other companies or individuals and cross promote your brand from their pages.
- If you have extra products or services, you can also consider running a promotion or giveaway on your Facebook page and drive visitors from your other channels.
7. Conducting Competitive Analysis
One of the great things about Facebook is that you can easily see what your competitors are doing with their pages. You can learn a lot from seeing what they do and getting a sense of how users are interacting with their pages. Meyer advices, "Be sure to monitor your competitors and remain aware of what sort of strategies they take on Facebook. You might be able to see something that works well and tweak it for your customers."
Paid Facebook Advertising
You can also use paid Facebook advertising to market your business on Facebook.
According to Seer Interactive Team Lead Amanda Mancuso, targeting is the key to successfully utilizing Facebook's paid advertising options. Targeting allows you to control who sees your ads by selecting your desired audience based on things like demographics, interests, how they use Facebook, and more. Mancuso advises, "Make sure that you know who you want to target and why. Facebook has extensive targeting options that can really help define the audiences that make the most sense for your business and your target audience." She emphasizes, "Facebook ads are the most effective when you target niche markets with relevant ads/content."
2. Choose the Right Ad Type
Mancuso points out, "Facebook offers various ad types to help you achieve and track your desired goals," and each one serves a different purposes. She recommends, "Spend some time getting familiar with all of the available options" before investing in advertising on Facebook. Doing so will allow you to select wisely based on your goals. Mancuso states, "The most important things for successful Facebook advertising are to make sure you determine what your goals are and that you are tracking these goals. Without understanding the goals and anticipated outcomes of a campaign your efforts could get lost."
Mancuso points out, "If you want to increase engagement on your Facebook page and you want to increase page likes or likes or comments on a specific post then you will use the "Boost post" or "Promote your Page" ad types. If you are running ads to Promote Your Page, your goal should not be to track website clicks and conversions." Facebook offers a variety of ad types, each focused on different goals. Facebook ad options include messages designed to:
- Drive users to click through to your website
- Increase website conversions
- Increase engagement with posts on your Facebook page
- Increase "likes" for your Facebook page
- Lead to users installing an app
- Increase app engagement
- Encourage users to redeem an offer
- Get your message in front of people who are in proximity to your business
- Get people to attend an event
- Encourage users to view a video
Mancuso adds, "With the Facebook Exchange you can also use re-targeting platforms to show your website visitors ads on Facebook. This works pretty similarly to re-targeting options on Display networks."
3. Test Ad Content
Mancuso and Meyer both emphasize the importance of ad testing. Mancuso recommends, "Be sure to test your ad content and imagery." You can use split testing (also referred to as A/B testing) to get a sense of what works best. Social Media Examiner explains that split testing involves creating two versions of ads to see which one performs better. Differences might include things like an image with text overlay versus an image paired with the image on its own, or ads with the same images but different text. Meyer advises, "Test different strategies and statuses. Keep trying until you find something that works. Different niches and audiences respond well to different tactics, so if at first you don't succeed, keep trying!"
4. Utilize Variety
Macuso recommends having more than one ad in rotation on Facebook to keep users from seeing the same advertisement over and over. She points out, "Facebook doesn't have ad impression caps for users, so someone may see your ads multiple times a day. Try to keep the ad content fresh and have a few variations in rotation."
Incorporating Facebook Into Your Marketing Plan
Facebook marketing can be very beneficial for many businesses. According to Meyer, determining if it is right for your company "really depends on the products/services you're trying to market and where your target demographic spends the majority of its time online."
Meyer states, "If you know that your target audience engages on Facebook, then it can be a great way to stay relevant, interact with fans or customers and provide valuable content your customers can use. You can utilize Facebook as a resource for answering customers' questions and interacting with fans, you can remain relevant with timely posts, and you can also offer exclusive customer benefits, discounts or coupons through that channel to keep your audience engaged."
Following the steps and suggestions provided here can be a great way to effectively integrate Facebook into your overall approach to marketing your business.