Facebook went from being unknown a little over a decade ago to having billions of people using it today. Has there ever been a success like Facebook?
And perhaps more importantly, with that momentum, do you think there will be anything that will stop it? Will it go from billions of active users to millions or even thousands over the next decade?
Probably not. Facebook is here to stay.
And with such a large user base, ignoring Facebook really isn’t an option for most marketers. You can bet your ideal market is using Facebook nearly every day. The question is: how do you target all of those users with your marketing?
Making the Most of Your Facebook Business Page
A Facebook page is a great free marketing tool for businesses. These pages let businesses identify themselves – not just through listing product offerings and services, but also by sharing links, images, and posts on a customizable page to give a better sense of a business’s personality and character.
Your Facebook business page is a great spot to develop your brand identity and show your human side. Facebook is where you can loosen the tie a bit – don’t be afraid to be funny.
Ultimately you should consider what your key audience would want to see. Share social media images, links, videos, anything, as long as it is connected to your business and it seems like something your target audience would enjoy.
In addition to hilarious videos of dogs walking in tiny shoes, a store specializing in footwear might also post an article about how to measure your foot size accurately, what kind of shoe inserts are best for different sore feet woes, etc. A nice mix of humor, educational resources, and posts about your store updates is ideal.
Facebook Advertising: Classic Ads
Facebook offers its own form of advertising with Facebook ads, which appear in the side columns of the Facebook site. These classic ads are referred to more specifically as Marketplace Ads. They include a headline with copy, an image, and a click-through link to either a Facebook page, a Facebook app, or an outside website.
Optimize your profile page
Because tabs serve as the navigation bar for your Facebook business page, it is important to make sure they are well organized and improve the audience’s ability to find information. By optimizing tabs, restructuring their hierarchy and including or removing important tabs, you provide the user with a smoother experience, said Mackenzie Maher, social media account manager at digital marketing agency Power Digital Marketing.
“If you are a service-based business, make sure your review tab is turned on. If you add tabs that link to your other social pages, make sure these are all grouped together. If you’re promoting an event or hiring for a new position, make sure these tabs are also turned on and advertise your information here,” she said.
Create a Facebook group.
Maria Mora, content director at digital marketing agency Big Sea, said to create a Facebook Group, not for promotional purposes, but to allow for an exchange of information related to a given business.
“For example, if you sell essential oils, you can create a Facebook group specifically about pet owners trying aromatherapy,” she said. “The key is to find a niche within your customers’ interests and give them a space to connect. As that group grows, you can sparingly share your content, such as relevant articles or whitepapers.”
She pointed to the Ethical Aromatherapy group, which is moderated by essential oil retailer Stillpoint Aromatics, and has more than 13,000 members. Mora said it was created as a resource for consumers to discuss where essential oils are sourced and how to use them safely and it grew organically through members inviting their friends.
However, she warned not to use the group to promote sales or calls to action. The Ethical Aromatherapy page, for example, allows discussion and recommendation of other essential oil importers.
Be strategic about your group name.
When creating a group, marketing consultant Ron Stefanski recommended naming it after something people will actually search for in Facebook to increase the odds users will find it. He used this tactic when creating a Facebook group for his website, BengalCatClub.com, which has since gained over 10,000 followers.
“I personally think this tactic could work for any business in any area/industry—Facebook groups do really well to further the awareness of the brand,” he said. “I feel like it’s a good idea that most people aren’t using.”
Keep adding to your Facebook story.
According to Bernie Clark, founder of digital marketing and advertising agency Majux Marketing, Facebook Stories make posting often to Facebook much more casual.
“Stories don’t even necessarily have to pertain to company-specific news, they could be anything from fun questions to interesting links, anything to keep your audience engaged and cause a higher likelihood for a click on your profile,” he said.
Nedelina Payaneva, digital marketing specialist at translation services firm Asian Absolute agreed, adding Facebook Stories don’t require slick production value either.
“This type of content has a casual, on-the-go feel,” she said. “Users feel like they are behind the scenes and that works. Similarly, Live feeds are increasing in popularity. From makeup tutorials to studio tours, brands can go live and interact with fans. These can be saved and shared, and have value on the replay side, too.”
Don’t obsess over vanity metrics.
Per Tommy Baykov, marketing manager at WordPress hosting services WPX Hosting, small businesses tend to have more limited marketing budgets, which is why they should focus on the things that make a difference to their bottom lines—and not the ones that make them temporarily feel good, like likes.
“Depending on your business and strategy, CTR, 50% video views [and] messages received are just some of the much more meaningful and actionable metrics,” he added.
Use Facebook for customer service.
Rafi Bitchakdjian, head of social media at marketing firm Cue Marketing, said smaller brands can lean on Facebook to help them deal with any customer service issues that arise much as corporations use bots to communicate with clients online.
“Audiences expect replies within minutes and Facebook is the ideal on-the-go platform to use when wanting to solve an issue or even just thank a customer for their positive review,” he said.
Post with a (small) budget.
Underwood recommends adding a paid budget—even a small one—to ensure reach.
“Try experimenting with different types of content, messaging, imagery and times of day, and use Facebook’s built-in A/B testing system to see what can help stretch your ad dollars to the max,” he said. “Posting without a paid budget is now officially a waste of time—you’re much better off posting just occasionally with a small budget to ensure that content gets in front of your valuable customers and prospects.”
Underwood said one national restaurant chain client has a per-post reach of 1.06% of its total likes on Facebook over the past several weeks—and another Midwest-based food client has seen its per-post reach drop to less than 7% in the last several weeks.
“Both of these are representative of what we’re seeing across all of our client pages recently,” he added.
Keri Lindenmuth, marketing manager at web design and software development firm KDG, agreed Facebook ads are effective because they allow you to custom-tailor the audience by location, age and more.
“Sometimes it is best if these ads look and sound no different than a regular Facebook post,” she added. “We have found that promoted video and image posts work best.”
Narrow your audience.
George Schildge, CEO of digital marketing agency Matrix Marketing Group, said the objective is to narrow down audiences and test to see which will produce the most results for a given objective.
“Think about it as if we were running TV ads and testing in different cities,” he said.
So, for example, for small batch coffee roaster EspressoLuv.com, he narrowed down Facebook users to those who like roaster Blue Bottle Coffee. From there, he can research what else these demographics like.
“I’ll do this until I have about 30 other pages to begin narrowing my target audience before I start testing my ad creative,” Schildge added.
Consider boosted posts.
Per Greg Bullock, marketing manager at migraine relief company TheraSpecs, Facebook’s boost post feature allows users to expand the audience for their posts exponentially and target highly engaged and relevant prospects—with very little budget.
“Not only can it help you recoup lost organic reach from ongoing algorithmic changes, but it can increase visibility that ultimately generates traffic to your content and/or purchases for your product or service,” he said. “In fact, we have seen our most popular posts generate thousands of clicks for literally two or three pennies per click.”
And while Bullock noted there is tremendous value to setting up a larger campaign in Ads Manager, “sometimes you really only want a few clicks to get going. With boosted posts, you just set your target audience, your budget and you’re off and running.”
He pointed to this boosted post from TheraSpecs, which received nearly 1600 paid clicks at $0.02 per click.
Tommy Burns, marketing specialist at digital agency Bluehouse Group, however, warned that small businesses have to be even more careful about how they spend their budgets and boosted posts have less targeting, bidding and pricing options.
“Ultimately, that means you’re getting less bang for your buck on each advertisement placement,” he said. “Small businesses use boosted posts because they’re quick and they’re busy. Unfortunately, they are giving up control over the advertisements their audience sees.”
Use boosted posts to optimize ads.
For his part, Kevin Namaky, founder of marketing education company Gurulocity, suggested using Facebook ads and boosted posts in sequence.
By creating two ads and giving both a small boost of around $50 to drive initial engagement, small businesses can see which ad generates the most engagement, such as likes, shares and comments. Then, Namaky said, advertisers can create a Facebook ad in Ads Manager with their conversion goal, but instead of recreating the ad, they can reuse the exact boosted post as their creative, complete with likes and shares already on the post.
“This will help your ad convert better than if you ran a new cold piece of creative with no likes or shares on it to begin with,” he added.
To run the exact same post with the social proof, go to your business page, scroll to find the boosted post and click on the date and time at the top of the post. The URL has a unique post number, which you can copy and paste when creating the ad by clicking on ‘use existing post’ and entering the ID under Creative,” Namaky added.
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