As the largest social network in the world, Facebook has become a part of everyone’s daily life including their buying decisions. Facebook has more than 1.23 billion active users with 62% of them logging in on a daily basis. Because of its wide reach and variety of different demographics, marketers usually make it a top priority in their advertising campaigns and it is a social media platform that they cannot afford to ignore. Marketing on Facebook can be an easy way to target specific customers based on location, interests and demographics. While most people use the platform as a way to socialize or catch up on news, it is also a place where they can become more familiar with brands and products and even follow stores and companies that interest them. For beginner marketers using Facebook, it can be a powerful way to communicate with existing and potential customers by reaching out to them directly.
Facebook was originally created exclusively for college students to use but it eventually expanded to include everyone over the age of thirteen. Although it is one of the few social media platforms used by nearly every age group, its popularity still tends to be highest among ages 18-29 and decreases gradually with age. For marketing purposes however, Facebook is a great tool to reach any age group that you may be targeting. The reason marketers rely heavily on this social network is because it makes your business easily discoverable and more connected in one-on-one conversations with customers who can interact and respond to your posts. It also makes it possible to reach large groups of people by frequently tailoring messages to their needs and it can give you a better understanding of your customers and their marketing activities. Setting up a page is quick and easy for those that have never used Facebook for business. You can even request a web address with your company name in it to make it easier for people to find you online.
Once you get started with Facebook there are a few different tools to consider when organizing your marketing campaign. The most common ways to advertise on Facebook are by using pages for businesses, paid ads or creating groups. Facebook pages are a good place to start because they are similar to having a profile page but they are specifically set up for businesses, organizations or public figures to use. With pages, users can “like” your page which means they will be able to read all of your posts in their newsfeed and will stay updated with any important information that you want customers to know such as sales, new products or other announcements. Simply setting up a page is free and there is no limit to the amount of people that can follow your page but it can be difficult to build a large fan base or number of followers especially right away if you are a relatively unknown business. Another tool that can be useful in gaining more followers and reaching people outside your existing fan base is to use Facebook’s targeted advertising platform. These ads allow you to target specific groups based on age, location, education levels or types of devices being used. These types of ads are paid advertisements and although you set they budget they can get expensive if you have ambitious goals for your marketing campaigns. Paid Facebook ads can be very effective at spreading the word about your brand to people who are not familiar with it. Another marketing tool to get started with is Facebook groups which can allow you to create discussion groups where customers can communicate in a smaller forum. You can create groups that have a certain focus related to your industry or are about a specific product for customers to discuss. Groups have a higher level of engagement and are a good way to get people more involved in your brand.
With Facebook marketing it is a good idea to begin by considering who your ideal customers are, how your business can help them and which groups would be most interested in specific messages. Building your fan base starts with finding existing customers and encouraging them to support you by liking your page. Many companies fail to use their Facebook pages to their full potential because they don’t realize some crucial aspects of the appearance of the page. Visually, your page should draw the eye of visitors and allow them to immediately recognize your brand. The company logo should figure prominently on the page, typically in the profile photo and the cover image can include artwork or other important information. The “about” section should include a statement about what the company does and what makes you unique. Your Facebook page should make it immediately clear who you are and what you do so that people can quickly make the decision to follow you.
The majority of marketing you will use with the page function is posting information that will show up in customer’s newsfeeds. You should post information regularly but not too often so that users don’t get fed up with your page clogging their newsfeed. Make sure that posts are always relevant to customers, not too repetitive and are put up a few times a day at peak hours. The most effective types of posts for businesses are links to articles related to your industry, links to your website’s blog posts, advertising sales and special events, providing coupon codes, and announcing new products. One of the best strategies when posting on your page is to use open ended questions that get people talking and responding in the comments sections. Allowing people to discuss and give their opinion on something can get people more involved and engaged with your company which in turn can create more brand loyalty. When you ask questions about products or projects that your company is working on it can help to get fans to feel they are a part of the business process. They will begin to feel that your company really cares about what they want and what new products they want to see. The more engagement you get on an individual post, the higher it will rank in the newsfeed, allowing you to get more visibility.
One of the most useful things about having a Facebook page for your business is that the platform offers a lot of analytics tools to give you a better idea of how your posts are performing. The tool for reviewing analytics is called Facebook Insights and it tracks user interactions and how many active users you have at any given time. This tool can help you figure out the peak hours to post that get the highest response, the best day of the week to post as well as the type of content that is most popular. Insights are constantly updated so you can monitor the performance of every post if you continue to review the analytics on a daily basis. When you click “view insights” you will see various graphs that you can review which will illustrate the number of likes, views, post engagements and actions taken as well as how they have changed over the past week. You will also see a breakdown of specific posts with statistics on the amount of people reached, the amount of engagement and how each individual post was targeted. Monitoring how the numbers change with each post and seeing a visual representation of your page’s performance can really help you tailor and adjust your marketing campaign to make it more effective. The more you use the insights tool to help you understand what people want to see, the more interaction and interest you will build in your brand every time you post. You can also look at the “likes” page under insights to view the demographics and locations of all your customers. You can review age groups as well as what city, country and language make up the majority of your followers. Reviewing likes also allows you to see if you gotten any recent “unlikes” and when those took place to help you determine if it had to do with the volume or content of your posts. Paid ads can be used to boost posts that you think might be especially relevant or ones you want to be seen by more followers. A boosted post will appear higher in the newsfeed and is much more likely to be seen than a basic post. You can choose a budget for boosting your post and the cost will differ based on the amount of people expected to be reached. You can set the demographics for the boost and the duration that it will be boosted from 1 day to 14 days.
Even though running a free Facebook page can be a great foundation for marketing, most businesses also invest in some of the targeted advertising options that the platform offers. Facebook allows you to gather demographics and target users based on anything you can find on their profiles. Ads are usually run on a per-impression or per-click basis, allowing you to bid on ads at a level that is similar to others in your industry. The ads you create can link to your Facebook page or to another website outside of Facebook including app installs for a mobile phone. Users have the option of hiding your ad and if this happens Facebook will ask them why they weren’t interested which can be valuable information to marketers. Targeting your ads can come in many forms but most people start with location especially local businesses looking to market to people in their city or zip code. For bigger businesses you can also target by state. Other demographics for targeting include relationship status, age, job industry, education, birthday and a number of other options. You can also fine-tune your targeting by adding a private list of current customers and lookalike audiences who are similar to this list. Targeting people based on their interests is also one of the most effective ways to advertise on Facebook. You can target people who are interested in products that are similar to yours or hobbies related to your industry.
A useful tactic that many businesses on Facebook use is hosting a contest or sweepstake on the platform that can help to spread awareness and get people more familiar with your brand. You can either use the Facebook timeline for your contest or host it through a third party app. Make sure to read the guidelines and rules of running a contest on Facebook so that you are adhering to the current policies which are periodically updated. You can choose the type of contest you are running and a time frame of how long it will last until you pick a winner. It is important to let followers know the rules of the contest and describe specifically how you will choose the winner. There are options to limit the contest in case you want to target it for certain groups or locations who you might consider ideal customers. Choose a prize that is relevant to your business and may even encourage people to keep coming back.
Whatever methods you decide to use in your Facebook marketing campaigns you are likely to get some results because the platform is still the most widely used form of social media where the majority of your customers can be found. A well-balanced marketing strategy will devote some significant time to Facebook because it has plenty of potential for new and even established businesses to create brand awareness and customer engagement. The efforts that marketers put into Facebook ultimately will pay off because followers will always be in contact with your business and know what’s happening on a daily basis. You can build up your customer base and even create devoted fans who will be with you every step of the way. Social media marketing often begins with Facebook at the center and as your brand evolves your involvement with the platform will only continue to grow.