As the largest social platform in the world, Facebook can help businesses connect with new customers, build brands and drive sales.
Jeremy Howie is a Facebook Marketing expert, and gives his insight in this article. He’s a member of the Facebook 2016 SMB Council, digital marketing thought leader, and CEO of Enlightened Marketing LLC. You can connect with him on Facebook via www.facebook.com/jeremy.howie .
#1 Use Video
Facebook is a platform that is uniquely optimized for video. With more than one billion hours of video watched every day, the reason to use video is self-explanatory. Videos should be kept short, grab attention in the first few seconds, tell a story and provide value to the potential customer. Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook will be “mostly video” by 2019.
#2 Think Mobile First
In 2015 mobile-only Internet users surpassed desktop-only Internet users. The number is higher specific to Facebook, where 80% of users access the platform using their mobile device. Facebook is designed with a mobile-first mentality, because (and alarmingly) 40% of small businesses say that their websites are not optimized for mobile. Everything that you are doing on Facebook should have a mobile-first mentality. This means visuals should be easy to view on a smaller device. It is also important for business owners to have a mobile-optimized website. The great news is Facebook Pages already are!
#3 Provide Value
Facebook, or any other type of marketing, should provide value. People buy from those they know, like and trust. Leading with answers to most commonly asked customer questions, then following up for the sale later, is a great way to market. Value can also come in the form of humor, inspiration or entertainment. Being a business of value is a great way to stand out from competitors.
#4 Engage Consistently
Businesses should aim to post at least once per day on their Facebook Page, as long as they are providing value (see tip #3). The best performing posts include a video or an image, are short, and elicit a response. The more people engage (like/react/comment/share), the bigger the opportunity for businesses to reach new potential customers in News Feed. Facebook also helps businesses manage their Pages on their own time through tools like scheduling posts in advance. By consistently looking at Page Insights, business owners can learn more about their audience(s) and understand what content works best.
#5 Develop a Content Strategy
Instead of targeting prospective buyers with sales or consultation offers, businesses should consider providing relevant content based on FAQs. This content can have a central theme and be leveraged across multiple types of media. For example, a short “How To Do XYZ” video can be shared as a Facebook post, used as part of a blog post and embedded in an email to a subscriber list. Over time, analytics should be reviewed to see what content and which distribution channels are most effective.
#6 Test Different Ad Objectives
Facebook gives its advertisers multiple ways to connect with their ideal customers. Many businesses start with boosting posts on their Page, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. In Facebook’s Ads Manager there are multiple ad objectives to choose from, including website traffic, website conversions, post engagement, video views, local awareness, lead generation and app installs. The local awareness objective helps brick and mortar businesses reach potential customers who are within a given radius of their store with targeted ads in News Feed. Businesses can also select a call to action button for their Local Awareness Ads, such as Call Now or Get Directions. When people click Get Directions, they get a map with directions straight to the business’ front door. For only a few dollars in ad spend, thousands of potential customers can be reached.
#7 Split Test Everything
Finding out what works best is crucial to getting the most out of any advertising budget. Split testing – aka A/B testing – simply compares multiple versions of an ad to see which one converts to a click, lead and/or sale most effectively. For example, within one ad campaign, businesses can test four ads with the same headline but each with a different image. Once the best performing image is discovered, businesses can use it to test different headline options. Over time, businesses can identify their highest performing “super ads”. Since you can leverage Facebook’s powerful targeting across Instagram as well, businesses should consider testing on both platforms.
#8 Use Reports, Data, and Settings
When businesses tell me they aren’t having success with Facebook marketing, it is usually because they don’t realize the true magic in numbers. There are endless reporting options that help advertisers understand exactly how their ads are performing and how people are responding to them. For example, advertisers can see information on how long their videos are being watched, or how many people are converting to a lead. One of the best targeting tools on Facebook is Custom Audiences – businesses can use an existing customer list (e.g., frequent, seasonal or one-time buyers) to create an audience and target ads across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network. Facebook can also help businesses create a larger “Lookalike” audience of people most similar to each Custom Audience.
#9 Use Retargeting
Showing an ad to someone who has already expressed interest in a product or service – aka retargeting – is the highest converting form of marketing that exists. Facebook allows advertisers to do this using the Facebook Pixel. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code businesses can create in Ads Manager (there is only one per ad account) and install on their website. It enables businesses to reach people on Facebook who have already visited specific pages on their website (custom audience), and can also be used to find new customers that look most like existing website visitors (lookalike audience). Retargeting an interested buyer with a branded video, testimonial or special offer can lead to a significant increase in conversions.
#10 Leverage New Features (Paid and Free)
Businesses can now video chat, send voice messages, broadcast real time with Facebook Live, create events and much more. Although the best way to be successful with Facebook marketing is to invest in advertising, businesses can still leverage Facebook’s free tools, starting with creating a Page and publishing engaging content. Connecting with other businesses on Facebook (liking, commenting, re-sharing) as your own business can also be an effective way to build community and reciprocity with other businesses, as well as reach potential buyers in other places they are spending time.
Facebook offers excellent free marketing training for businesses in the form of 50 eLearning modules at Facebook Blueprint.
Facebook is constantly evolving and giving businesses new ways to connect with their audience. Because of its immense user base, data and targeting options, it can be considered the most powerful marketing platform in the world.