Facebook Marketing 101
It’s likely that you’re no stranger to the world of social media marketing, but did you know that Facebook is one of the most powerful social media tools you can use to market your business? As it stands right now, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, boasting upwards of 1.44 billion monthly users and more than 1.25 billion mobile users. In fact, Facebook is so dominant that the social media giant has more users than the total of China’s population. How’s that for impressive?
Thanks in large part to its overwhelming popularity and rapidly adaptive nature, Facebook has become one of the go-to social media platforms of choice for marketers who want to engage their audiences, build an online presence, introduce new products, or simply make their brand more visible. If you’ve been wondering what Facebook marketing is or how to break into this treasure trove of marketing gold, this post will tell you everything you need to know.
Why Is Facebook so Powerful?
In addition to boasting a massive user base, Facebook is also fantastic for virtually every type of content distribution – from long-form posts to images and auto-play videos. Because of this, it’s one of the most heavily-used social platforms in the world, with the average user spending about 40 minutes daily engaging with Facebook.
Additionally, Facebook is one of the forerunners when it comes to social media and mobile users. As it stands right now, Facebook’s users watch roughly 8 billion videos each day, which represents a marked increase from the 1 billion daily videos consumed just two years ago – in 2014. Of those billions of videos watched on a daily basis, a whopping 75% of them are viewed on mobile devices.
Over 581 million of Facebook’s users are “mobile only” users and, because of this, marketers who use Facebook for their marketing pursuits have the huge advantage of direct access to an ever-growing base of mobile customers.
5 Major Benefits of Facebook Marketing
While there are many advantages of using Facebook for marketing purposes, these five are the most pronounced:
1. Facebook ads allow marketers to narrowly target customers.
For marketers who want to run paid ads, Facebook ads are among the best in the business. Because Facebook ads allow marketers to target select customer groups, they’re an effective way to brand a company, drive traffic to your blog or website, and gain exposure.
2. Custom tabs allow for a unique page.
While Facebook is a giant social media platform, it does allow room for customization. To help your page stand out from the crowd, you can easily create custom tabs that allow visitors to navigate to your store or alternate social media profiles. This can help you direct the flow of traffic through your pages the way you want.
3. Facebook contests are perfect for engagement.
Facebook contests allow marketers to produce widespread visibility for their products or services. What’s more, since Facebook contests allow businesses to team up with third-party charities or other organizations, it’s easy for marketers to use Facebook contests to spread the word about their products while also building long-term business partnerships.
4. Facebook is the perfect platform for video marketing.
People who view a brand’s video content are a whopping 1.81 times as likely to make a purchase as those who don’t. In light of this, it’s clear that including video content in your marketing strategy is a critical step toward creating a varied, successful, and multi-faceted marketing plan. Luckily, Facebook is the ideal platform for brands who want to use video to engage customers.
One of the most exciting developments Facebook has made recently is the introduction of auto-play into its mobile news feeds. Now that mobile users have the convenience of auto-play, brands who post videos to Facebook can be sure that their video content will reach a wide variety of audiences across the social platform.
What’s more, the number of Facebook daily video views is currently sitting around 8 billion, which has doubled from the 4 billion mark in April of 2015, so there’s no question about whether or not Facebook video is popular or growing.
5. Facebook offers Audience Insights.
Audience Insights is a Facebook-specific tool that allows marketers to access metrics that help them learn more about their audiences. With Audience Insights, marketers can gain access to information about their customers’ gender, age, lifestyle, education, marital status, and much, much more. These in-depth insights are ideal for companies who want to enact more targeted marketing that allows them to cater to audiences at specific phases of the buyer’s journey.
20 Tips for Using Facebook for Marketing
Now that you know why Facebook is such a powerful marketing tool, it’s time to consider how to use it effectively in your marketing practice. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Keep your branding consistent
To market effectively on Facebook, it’s critical to keep your branding consistent across the board. This means that your company’s colors, logo, and voice should be recognizable and intact. This, in turn, helps ensure that customers will recognize your brand and that you’ll develop a consistent presence across all online and social channels. While Facebook is a fantastic tool all on its own, it’s more effective when combined with other social media platforms and content delivery channels. With this in mind, be sure to employ a thorough cross-linking strategy that allows your fans to locate your other social media or blog platforms quickly and easily.
2. Offer ample information about your company
Today’s customers are using social media as a search engine, so it’s important to ensure that you build out your social profiles as much as possible. This means writing a complete “About” section for your business and ensuring that your company name, address, phone number, and contact information is current on Facebook. This is some of the first information would-be customers will look for on your page, so it’s critical that you provide them with all of the information they need and expect. You should also be sure to provide links to your company’s blog and alternate social media accounts for increased traffic.
3. Post enough, but not too much
Having a Facebook account doesn’t do your business much good unless you post to it often. Unfortunately, some companies go overboard and overwhelm their customers with incessant posts, which can be alienating and result in users navigating away from your company’s Facebook marketing material. To avoid this and provide relevant value rather than obnoxious insistence, focus on the quality of your posts rather than the quantity. Your readers will thank you, and you’ll produce better Facebook content across the board.
4. Take advantage of multimedia
Facebook is the ideal platform for multimedia content, and it’s wise for marketers to take advantage of it. Alternate content formats like video, images, infographics, and audio posts can help engage new reader bases and increase your user engagement. What’s more, altering the type of content you share on Facebook during a marketing campaign helps keep readers interested and make your Facebook page a more vibrant place.
5. Post at optimal times
As is true with all social media platforms, there is an optimal time to post content to Facebook. While this time will vary depending upon your business, industry, and unique users, Facebook posts made between 1:00-4:00 p.m. on weekdays and 12:00-1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays generally get the most traffic, shares, and clicks. Posting during these peak times can help ensure that your content earns broad exposure and that your most of your followers are around to enjoy the content you post.
6. Use Page Insights to improve performance
Facebook knows it’s a powerful marketing tool, so it goes above and beyond to help marketers use it successfully. One of the best tools Facebook provides is the Page Insights tool. Page Insights allows marketers to track things like how many people are liking or viewing pages and posts and how many people are clicking, linking, or sharing a given piece of content. These insights make it easier for companies to provide unique value to users and cater specifically to their readers’ needs.
7. Engage your audiences
Facebook is the ideal platform for customer engagement and marketers who take the time to interact with their readers are better prepared to win more followers and stand out as leaders in their industry. To ensure that you’re engaging your followers effectively, be sure to read and respond to all comments on your page and follow-up quickly and fully with any questions, concerns, or inquiries you receive from customers – especially during marketing or promotional periods. While this may seem like a simple tip, it can go a long way when it comes to keeping your customers happy and helping your Facebook marketing thrive.
8. Focus on building relationships first
For Facebook to serve your business well, it needs to be a vessel for building relationships rather than making sales. Social media marketing falls short when over-eager marketers use the platforms to perpetuate pushy sales tactics and drive a marketing message down customers’ throats. Instead, social media (and Facebook specifically) should be used as a vehicle for relationship building and mutually agreeable interactions. This allows the platform to function well for both customers and marketers and ensures that nobody is pushed away in the process.
9. Entice your fans
When you post an update announcing your latest blog post or article, don’t just give the title, or say something along the lines of: “Here’s my latest blog post.” Intrigue your fans by referencing something within the content, without giving away too much. If it’s a numbered list, for example, you could try something like: “#14 might seem ridiculous, but it’s been proven to work.” That will pique their curiosity and make them more likely to click on your link.
10. Change things up
If all you ever post is the same type of content, presented in the same way, over and over again, people will start to get bored, no matter how great it is. Mix things up by creating content in different formats, like videos, slideshares, or webinars – and then experiment with different ways of promoting them, as well. Try varying the image sizes in your updates, or using memes to draw people’s attention. Give your updates some variety to keep your fans interested.
11. Use incentives and calls to action
Don’t assume people will click on a link just because you posted it – you have to actively persuade them to click. Tell them what they’ll get out of engaging with your post – what benefits they’ll receive. Maybe it’s a discount, maybe it’s valuable content, or maybe it’s just a fun time taking a quiz or playing a game – the important thing is to let them know why they should engage. And then, come right out and ask them to click! Phrases like “download this free report” or “visit this page” will help spur people into taking action.
12. Make use of evergreen content
Of course you’ll want to post about seasonal or trending topics, as well, but don’t give everything you share an expiration date. That way, people scrolling through your Facebook page might see an interesting post from some time ago, and still click on it, if its topic is as applicable as ever. And another bonus is the fact that you can share that same content again and again over time, introducing it in a different way with each update – and if it was popular the first time, it’s a good bet it’ll stay that way.
13. Humanize your posts with emoticons
It’s all well and good to be formal in certain marketing arenas, but Facebook is not one of those arenas. It’s a platform meant for hanging out with friends, so the more like a casual friend your company seems, the more people will want to hang with you. Put a smiley face or a heart in your update, and you’ll be surprised at the uptick in likes, comments, and shares.
14. Share helpful information about things other than your business
If there’s a big event going on in your town, share details about dates and times, or reminders about traffic, with your fans, even if it has nothing to do with your business. Or if your city’s sports team has a big game coming up, post a good luck message along with a reminder of what time the game starts. That way, you’ll be showing off your connectedness with your community – after all, you live here, too – and everyone likes rooting for the home team.
15. Use Facebook apps
Custom apps are a great way to promote a contest or event, or even just solicit email addresses from fans. They’re attention-getting and pretty darn effective at doing what they’re created to do.
16. Stay in the loop when you’re on the go
You don’t have to be at your desktop to manage your Facebook page. In fact, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to connect instantly with fans when they comment, if you have to wait to reply until you’re at your desk. The Facebook Page Manager allows you to take care of business on your smart phone. If it becomes clear that you interact with fans in real time on Facebook, you’ll be more likely to get more comments.
17. Use the right types of pictures
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this aspect of Facebook marketing, since each company’s audience and brand identity is different. But the one thing we can say with certainty is that images make a big difference in engagement, so some experimenting is definitely in order. In general, fans seem to prefer images of products without people, or with close-up shots of body parts like hand or feet, to images of models.
18. Facebook-stalk your competition
It’s not as creepy as stalking your ex, and it can actually help you in your marketing efforts. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, in order to either jump on the bandwagon when you see something good, or fill a gap they’ve left wide open for you.
19. Image presentation matters
Here’s another area for experimentation with your unique audience. Does it create more engagement when you upload a bunch of photos to an update all at once, or when you post them one by one, over time? Or is it better to put them in an album, or even to create a collage? Vary your approach until you find the method that works best for you.
20. Use calls to action specifically tailored to the conversion you want
If you’re looking to increase engagement, use a CTA that reflects that, such as “share your thoughts.” But if you’re utilizing Facebook marketing to capture leads, use something like “sign up for our newsletter.” Using wishy-washy calls to action, or CTAs that aren’t extremely specific in directing fans to take a certain action, can undermine your efforts.
30 Facebook Posts That Drive Engagement
The purpose of having a Facebook page is to have conversations with your fans, and to share content that they in turn share with their friends – in general terms, to interact with fans and, through them, engage with the wider Facebook community. But how do you get that interaction and engagement started? What’s the magical formula for an update that people will share or like or comment on? To help you prevent Facebook writer’s block, and ensure that your fan page is just hopping with activity, here’s a list of 30 different types of Facebook posts that will get people engaging with your content.
Throw ’em the old desert island question.You know the one – if you were stuck on a desert island, which three items would you want with you? Except you’ll want to change it to fit your own industry, of course. If you were hiking up Mount Everest, which three items from our sporting goods store would you want with you? If you were staying late at the office, which three delicious foods from our menu would you be dreaming of? You get the idea.
Make it a million.Same hypothetical world, different question. Everyone loves imagining what they’d do if they won the lottery. Give it a personalized twist to fit your company, and off you go! Which products would you buy if you won a $10,000 shopping spree in our store? If every item that starts with the letter “L” in our store was free, which would you pick up? Be creative.
1. Get advice. People love to help others – and it doesn’t hurt if they can show off their expertise at the same time. Ask fans what they do in certain problematic situations related to your business. How do you handle a toddler tantrum in the candy aisle? Which tips and tricks do you have up your sleeve to keep cat hair off your couch? You’ll be bombarded with helpful advice.
2. What’s your must-have? Just like Oprah and her favorite things – or was that Julie Andrews? – people love telling others about useful products they’ve discovered. Ask fans to share their must-have item for situations related to your industry. My dog grooming must-have is…. My yoga must-have is….. My baking must-have is…
3. Aw, remember that? Tap into people’s nostalgia by asking them if they remember an old fad or tradition from their childhood or college years, related to your industry and tailored to your audience. Remember when slouch socks were all the rage? Remember when you got your very first car? Ask them to share their own memories of that time.
4. Share little-known tips. Dig up some useful tips related to your business and share them with your audience – but make sure they’re not widely known already. That way, you’ll look like an expert, and people will want to come back for more.
5. Solve a problem – with a picture. Pictures attract people’s eyes anyway, and when you couple that with the power of problem-solving, you’re sure to get engagement. Pose a common problem to your audience, and then propose the solution to that problem in a picture – which of course leads them to the appropriate page on your site.
6. Publish pictures in your post. Don’t let a tiny thumbnail be the extent of your image use – put pictures in the body of your post, instead, to make them larger, so they’ll stand out.
7. Add a caption. Use pictures again, but this time don’t comment, other than to ask for a caption. Everybody loves making up – and reading others’ – funny captions.
8. Feature a fan. Ask fans to submit their own pictures and videos, and then choose the best and give a shout-out to the helpful fans who provided them. The fans getting their 15 minutes of fame will share your post with everyone they know!
9. Give fans a choice. Let your fans vote in a unique way by “liking for A” and “sharing for B.” For example: Prefer to read or listen to books on tape? Like this post if you choose reading, share it to vote for listening.
10. Ask for the Like. Asking for a like doesn’t feel like asking for a like when you couch it in different terms. Telling your fans to like your post if they do a certain activity frames the request differently. Like if you wear slippers to the store! Like if you have a bobble-head in your car! It’s less of a request, and more of a way for fans to celebrate what they have in common.
11. Ask a question. Seriously. It can be as simple as that. Asking a question related to your business can draw lots of engagement. Just be sure to craft an interesting one that makes people want to share their answers.
12. Fill in the blank. Think back to those elementary school worksheets, and start coming up with fill-in-the-blank sentences! Whether it’s sales-y or just for fun, there’s just something about a blank that makes people want to fill it in.
13. Quote an expert. From old quotes from famous authors or historical figures, to new ones from motivational speakers or movie stars, posting a quote is a great way to get likes and shares. Whether it’s inspirational, motivational, funny, or just apropos, people love quotes.
14. Play Trivial Pursuit. It’s always fun to share tidbits of trivia with your fans – just make sure it’s related to your field. Did-you-know type questions can sometimes even inspire people to share their own interesting relevant factoids.
15. Start a discussion. Ask people what they think about a certain issue, or how they feel about a certain change. If it’s a subject important to your audience, they’ll engage with it.
16. Add a Funny Friday post to your editorial calendar. By Friday, everyone’s ready for a few laughs. Posting something random and funny can get you a ton of likes and shares, which just might get people engaging with more of your other posts, too.
17. Offer a fans-only discount. Nothing will get someone to like your page faster than the offer of a special deal.
18. Build up your partners. Do you partner or have relationships with any other companies? Like their fan pages, and then post a link to their sites, along with a description of your relationship, and what it is you appreciate about them.
19. Share company news. Of course, Facebook is the perfect channel for spreading the news about any company changes, new offerings, or specials. Keeping your fans in the know will make them feel like a part of the family.
20. Share industry news. Any big news in the world of your industry? Let people know about it. That way you look like an informed expert, and you’re providing a service to your fans by keeping them up-to-date, as well.
21. Link to your blog. Every time you upload a new blog post, you should get the word out, letting fans know there’s new content available for them on your site, and tantalizing them with the title and a short description.
22. Link to the other resources on your website. Every once in a while, remind your fans of the wealth of information you already have just waiting for them on your site. Whether it’s white papers, eBooks, recipes, tips, whatever – share the link to one item every so often.
23. Share behind-the-scenes photos. Pictures of what really goes on in your office behind the scenes almost always get an enthusiastic response. People love to feel that they know the humans behind the corporate façade, and that’s what these pictures give them a sense of.
24. Create a poll. Polls on Facebook are like social proof squared. People love knowing how their own opinions and choices stack up against others’.
25. Post videos. Maybe you have access to some useful tutorials. Or maybe you have fan-submitted videos, or funny ads for your product. Adding multimedia touches to your posts can drive engagement, as well.
26. Link to your other social media accounts. Sure, these people are following you on Facebook, but are they also interacting with you on Twitter, or Pinterest, or Google Plus? Let fans know where else you have a presence, and they just might follow you there.
27. Promote check-ins. Make it cool for fans to check in when they’re at one of your locations. Offer a special deal, or make it fun in-store in some way. This harnesses the power of social proof yet again, and will make more people want to go to your store so they can check in, just like their friends.
28. Use seasonal content. On top of the big holidays and seasons, there are an almost infinite number of more unknown national holidays, like awareness days for various causes, or humorous holidays like, “What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day” (which takes place in February, by the way). Take advantage of the wealth, and theme your posts accordingly to drive engagement.
Finally, here’s a great overview of how to boost Facebook engagement from our CEO, Shama Hyder:
While there are dozens of purposes for social media, marketing is one of the most obvious and effective. Companies who use Facebook to market their products will quickly find that the social platform offers more exposure, engagement, and traffic than many other sources. To reap those benefits, however, marketers must know how to use Facebook correctly. From keeping branding consistent to posting at the correct time of day, there are dozens of things that can help enhance and improve your company’s Facebook marketing tactics. When a corporation does these things reliably, it will quickly find that Facebook is one of the most effective and exciting marketing channels available to companies today.