As we continue our exploration of the use of social media marketing to advance your business goals, let’s take a closer look at earning organic traffic from Facebook.
With 2.5 billion monthly active users (MAUs), Facebook still represents a compelling opportunity for marketers, brands, and companies. Even with questions on data privacy and the veracity of the information, over 74% of US-based members still log into Facebook daily.
While I don’t fall into the category of “you must be on Facebook,” you MUST acknowledge and account for Facebook in your digital marketing plan, even if you exclude it. Facebook does matter — because of its immense audience.
The United States audience demographics on Facebook include:
- 56% of women, 45% of men
- Only 51% of teens under 18
- Over 65% of adults between 50 – 64
Facebook users rely on the platform:
- Over 70% of high-income households (HHI of $100K or more) use Facebook for product information
- 44% of users claim that Facebook has influenced a buying decision
Failing to consider Facebook is marketing malpractice.
Social Social Media
Facebook started as an image-sharing site for college students and community building is in its DNA. Facebook marketing is the practice of using a Facebook page as a communications channel between a company / brand and its community of interested followers.
By 2008, marketers had learned to use Facebook to build a connection with an audience. Today, brands turn to Facebook to interact with consumers, build their brand, leverage the platform for customer service, sell products, and accelerate the speed of communication.
Facebook is for Business
Three of the Top 5 global Facebook accounts belong to businesses. Number one is Facebook (yes, they drank their own Kool-Aid), number two is Samsung and number five is one of the crown jewels of B2C marketing — Coca-Cola.
Adding your brand to Facebook won’t magically create the next 100 million plus fan page. Success will require the creation of a marketing strategy and fanatical commitment to working the plan.
We’ve written extensively on creating digital marketing plans. This article is about growing your Facebook audience, so we’ll assume that you know:
- How to build a Facebook page
- Who your target audience is
- What your PII™ content mix should be
- How to evaluate success
A key thing to remember is that building an audience on Facebook depends on creating engagement and interaction. It requires more than simply pumping out content.
Start with a First Impression
Like a personal profile, building a brand’s audience centers on a user choosing to like or follow your page. Once a user does that, they will begin to see your posts on their news feed. Unlike profile pages, company pages don’t require the page administrator to confirm a friend request.
Like all first impressions, be sure to build out your company Facebook page so any user that sees it is compelled to like or follow. Be sure to:
- Include your logo as your Profile Photo: This will immediately establish the brand and link it visually to all other visual assets online. Unless you change your branding, don’t change your Profile Photo.
- Introduce your message through the cover image: Unlike the Profile Photo; plan to update the cover image regularly as you move through your overall marketing calendar. Not only is it a great first impression, strong visuals grab and hold attention.
- Tell your brand story in the About section: This can be a copy of your website if needed but I recommend writing the About through the brand voice that you’re using on Facebook. A great example of using the About to define the brand on Facebook is the happiness in a jar that is Nutella.
Give Them What They Want
More than half of Facebook users log in several times every day and still, the median post engagement rate is less than 1% in most industries. In other words, there is a huge audience, a lot of content being posted, and limited visibility with statistically few results.
Social media requires marketers to understand that we are NOT in control of the dialog. Growing your audience requires building a two-way conversation with your audience. In addition to knowing your brand and your audience, you need to understand how your audience wants to interact.
From Facebook live video to text-only posts with links to product pages, there are a lot of options. Before you start talking AT your audience, stop, and listen. A great way to get insight into the content preferences of your audience is to visit pages that your audience visits. You will quickly learn what content your audience uses most, from emojis and memes, to white papers and infographics, you need to understand WHAT and HOW the audience consumes content before trying to get them to engage with your content. You need to learn to use the language your audience uses.
Once you start to publish content following the content mix (check out PII™ for guidance on how to mix your content) and editorial calendar you created, immediately begin to monitor your analytics. Facebook collects significant amounts of data and you can quickly learn what your audience wants from you. Determine what that is and give them more of it.
To succeed, you must give the audience the content they want.
Only when you have the audience engaged can you begin to share content that the audience doesn’t expect from you. For example, if you are a fitness brand that posts exercise videos, don’t jump to selling supplements or even workout gear until the audience is fully engaged with your videos. Even then it is critical to relate everything back to your brand and how the consumer experiences it.
The most important element of your Facebook marketing campaign is consistency. Successful social media relationships, like all other types of relationships, are based on creating and meeting expectations. Establish an editorial calendar and stick to it. Whatever your definition of “regular” is for posting, be regular. Post new content in a variety of content subject areas that appeal to your audience and align with your brand.
That way, you give your users more opportunities to share your content on their pages, which will help you expand your audience. Successful content models include promotions, product spotlights, fun facts, and technical details. In fact, anything that will catch the interest of your fans and humanize the interaction between the brand and the user should be added to the mix.
Authentic and Authoritative
Successful Facebook marketing requires that the brand share the page and experience with its followers. In addition to giving the audience the content they want, ask the audience to share their content.
UGC — user generated content — is the holy grail of Facebook marketing content. When the brand’s social experience grows through content (from members of the audience themselves), the audience is bestowing the brand with the badge of authenticity and authority. UGC converts the page from being a platform for a brand to a space where like-minded people can share an interest.
UGC generally starts with user comments. When you get user comments, reply. Reply in a timely and relevant manner. Demonstrate that you are interested in them and their opinions. Even if the comments are negative, address the comments. Of course, if the user comment is malicious or requires private communication, move the conversation off the page to Messenger or another form of communication. When other users see your willingness to engage, you are validating their trust and making them more receptive to your calls-to-action.
Over time, UGC can be a great source of new ideas, insights, and even referrals. Moreover, users love to see their names and content on your page. Users will share their content on your page, which will expand the reach of your brand into your users’ network of followers.
Facebook marketing requires planning, listening, and interacting with the audience. When well done, users will stop seeing the messaging as marketing and begin to see your page as a place to share common interests.
Expanding Beyond the Page
In today’s social media marketing, especially on Facebook, many brands find that a company page is not enough to build the organic audience that they need. This leads many companies to utilize Facebook advertising or other options such as Facebook Jobs, Facebook Marketplace, or a Facebook Group. Each of these content elements helps the brand expand its reach and deliver on the perception that the brand is part of its Facebook community.
Facebook Jobs is relatively new and HR professionals may discourage its use. Whether you find new talent through Facebook Jobs or not, adding a listing shows that the business is growing and interested in hiring from its own social media followers.
Facebook Marketplace is a well-established platform for selling, especially for custom products and person-to-person sales. The success of Marketplace is drawing the attention of brands. Brands can have their products seen by non-followers and Marketplace provides an additional channel in the ever-expanding omni-channel approach that brands are utilizing for sales.
The last tool for expanding access to new audiences within your Facebook marketing effort is Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups are similar to discussion forums, but with the additional features that pages and profiles have. They can be great tools for topic-specific discussions that may not be of interest to all your followers or for niche product offerings that might not be a fit for the general audience. Best of all, a Facebook group can be a strong way to reach out to potential customers that aren’t a part of your current audience.
The great thing about all three of these tools is that that they tend to have even higher levels of engagement than Facebook Pages, and just like Facebook pages, they’re free.
The future of Facebook marketing is not over the horizon. It’s already here. Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are being implemented into Messenger and chatbot user experiences.
Together, these technologies make a brand’s Facebook presence appear even more personal and customer centric. When a user engages via Messenger or a chatbot, they expect an individual response to their specific inquiry. AI and ML meet these needs by creating the perception of individual interactions. As these technologies improve, the importance of content, content strategy and engaging messaging will only continue to grow.
If the idea of creating and/or executing on an organic Facebook marketing strategy seems overwhelming, know that you don’t need to go it alone. We’re in this with you. If you need a little help, just drop us a line, anytime.
Rainmaker Digital Services