What is Facebook?
By far the world’s largest social network, Facebook reports over 1.5 billion monthly active users covering all ages, locations, and social demographics. The same report found that 1.31 billion people accessed Facebook from mobile devices, revealing how ingrained – and essential – the platform has become for their users.

According to StatCounter, Facebook makes up more than 90% of the social market in some regions. Every day millions of users share pictures, videos, and links, commenting and interacting with their networks, which are a combination of “real world” friends and online contacts.

With such a massive potential reach, Facebook is the starting point for most businesses’ social media marketing efforts.

How to use Facebook for marketing
The key to Facebook marketing is growing a following by getting your customers to ‘Like’ your company page. This allows you to not only get your message in front of them, but also offers an opportunity to engage them with your brand.

Effective Facebook marketing is about more than simply collecting followers. The clue is in the name – social media is about being social. Meeting your customers where they are, helping answer their questions, and entertaining them.

Defining your Facebook advertising strategy

#1 – Who are we?
Just like any other campaign, successful Facebook marketing needs to have a consistent tone. Your business should already have a corporate branding strategy that you can borrow from to build a social identity.

Facebook advertising tip: Facebook is different to your usual marketing channels and your approach will need to be “softer.” You want people to talk to your brand, and a stern, corporate, press-release style is unlikely to encourage them.

#2 – Who are we targeting?
You also need to know who it is that your brand is trying to reach with Facebook marketing. Again, this will probably be a case of reviewing existing marketing campaigns, then identifying the same sorts of people on Facebook.

Facebook advertising tip: Use your profiling information to connect with, and listen to what these people are saying. How do they talk? What do they talk about? How can your brand add value to their discussions?

#3 – What are we trying to achieve?
Facebook advertising costs will quickly spiral out of control without some definite goals in place at the start of your campaign. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? To connect with existing customers and add value to the relationship? Or to generate high quality leads for the sales team?

Facebook advertising tip: You will be expected to prove the ROI of your Facebook marketing campaigns. Take some time to consider the metrics you need to collect as evidence.

#4 – What are we going to share?
When you know what makes your target audience “tick” and what you need to achieve, you can begin creating content that targets those interests and needs. Photos are particularly popular with Facebook users, receiving 84% more link clicks than ‘text and link’ posts.

Facebook advertising tip: Create a content calendar and schedule your content according to foreseeable events, like Christmas, the Super Bowl and any national holiday that applies to your target audience.

Going deeper – Facebook advertising tips
As you share content, you will realize some organic reach. This is the amount of times your post is seen by your followers without any additional effort on your part. Changes to the algorithm that drives Facebook’s feeds mean that top brands only manage to reach 2% of their fans organically. Brand new business pages are likely to reach even fewer.

To ensure a larger audience, your Facebook advertising strategy needs to include the use of Facebook Ads. These are sponsored posts targeted at specific subsections of your page’s followers, exempt from the limitations of the organic algorithm. Essentially, Facebook Ads allow you to connect with more of your followers and other people with similar interests by pushing your posts to the top of their news feeds.

Facebook advertising guidelines
Estimating and managing Facebook advertising costs is notoriously difficult if you do not have a good understanding of the system and a proper strategy in place to direct your activities. Here are the factors you need to consider:

#1 – Build your segments
Use social tools to segment your followers as you would your company contacts database. Known as Custom Audiences, these segments will form the basis of your Facebook advertising campaigns.

#2 – Set your budget
When advertising on Facebook you have two choices of how to pay. Cost Per Impression (CPI) is how much you pay to have your promoted post appear in people’s timelines. Cost Per Click (CPC) is slightly more expensive, but you only pay when people click on your ad.

Facebook allows you to define a budget in advance, then automatically shows your ad to appropriate users for the duration of your campaign. Smart management means that your budget is stretched over the course of the term you define – a $100 dollar, 10 day campaign will see your ad displayed each day, up to a maximum daily value of $10.

#3 – Extend your reach with Lookalike Audiences
Facebook Advertising allows you to get messages in front of people who don’t follow your page. Using your Custom Audiences you can create Lookalike Audiences – people who share similar interests to your followers and who may be interested in your advertisements.

#4 – Analyze and improve
Facebook provides a range of tools for marketers to assess how their adverts perform. After each campaign you must look carefully at whether the ads successfully achieved your predetermined outcomes. This analysis also provides additional insight that can be used to tweak future campaigns for greater success.

Why bother with Facebook marketing?
As well as allowing you to reach a potentially massive customer base, Facebook marketing can generate considerable returns. Have a look at the Call me case study and see how improving their social marketing strategy resulted in a 19% increase in revenue from Facebook.

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