Social media is an important part of our lives, not just for customers but also for businesses. Any successful marketing, these days, is incomplete without social media marketing. Of all the social channels out there, Facebook is one of the top used channels with over 2.07 billion monthly active Facebook users as of Q3 2017. In short, it is too big to be ignored. Let’s not forget the recurring updates that Facebook makes to its algorithm which adds to the confusion. Since Facebook is pretty popular, why not put it to some good use for your small or medium businesses.
Facebook Marketing Uses
Facebook has something to offer to businesses of every size. SMBs do not have to fret over budgets or how to tailor campaigns for marketing products. Before we get to the specifics and the tips and tricks of using Facebook to your advantage, let’s take a quick look at the different uses of Facebook marketing for SMBs.
#1 Create Brand Awareness
Facebook is a great place to make announcements about your brand and products. These can be shared with the existing community of followers whose interaction with the post will help you push it to the top of the news feeds. Additionally, these messages can be targeted to people outside your list of fans or page followers. You can target users with specific interests or at specific locations based on the purpose of your campaign. There are plenty of filters that you can choose from to campaign your brand to your niche audience.
#2 Create Engagement
Facebook (just like any social channel) is a noisy place. Screaming out loud on Facebook is not a option to work with if you want to market your SMB. It can get difficult as well to stand out. The surest way to deal with the noise is to create content that is relevant to your target audience and therefore creating engaging conversations around your brand. Content for social doesn’t necessarily have to be promotional. You can use the space to address customer issues or talk about topics relevant to your SMB’s industry.
When you create different types of content for Facebook, you can make use of the targeting options so that you can be sure that your message is delivered to the right audience.
#3 Offer Support
Social these days is taking over not just marketing but also sales and support. Customer fully understand how Facebook works and how it is the quickest way to get the attention of a brand. You can turn this around in your favour by promptly responding to customer complaints and queries. This will not just make your customers happy, it will also put your SMB in the spotlight. Additionally, non-customer who visit your page will be a witness to how quickly you are responding to customer issues and the brilliant service you are providing on Facebook. Being an SMB, you have a better chance at providing a more personalized experience to your customers.
#4 Sell Products or Services
You can also use Facebook as an ecommerce platform where you can sell your products and services. Facebook has features that facilitates this. It allows customers to make purchases directly from your SMB’s Facebook fan page. This helps you reduce the cost of setting of setting up a store online or creating a website to sell your products. Customer do not have to be directed to a link or website outside of Facebook, instead they can finish their purchases right there on your fan page. All you need to do is throw in a ‘Shop Now’ button and add prices to the products you set up on the Facebook page.
Facebook Marketing Strategy
Considering the way Facebook marketing has been exploding and the multiple options it has to offer, Facebook is now being seen as a potential advertising platform. Apart from setting aside a budget for promoting your brand on Facebook, there are different strategies or ways in which you can achieve your marketing goals. In this article we will be focusing on marketing than on (paid) advertising on Facebook. Here are the steps that you need to follow to get to the top on this social channel.
#1 Develop a Plan
We know that the first possible step in this direction is to create a Facebook page for your SMB. What most businesses or marketers fail to understand is that, you need to define a goal before you set out to the create a Facebook page. You need to decide what it is that you want to accomplish through Facebook. Want to let the Facebook world know that your SMB exists? Need to provide customer support? Do you want to sell products directly to end-users? What will it be?
Once you have determined the goal, the next step to do is define your audience. This is key to effective messaging. There are plenty of users on Facebook from different demographics, interests, etc. You need to decide who is it that you will be selling your products to and who will be more likely interested in what you do. Having customer personas in place is an important part of your Facebook marketing strategy.
Now that you have answers to these questions, you need to define the metrics that you will have the success of your marketing strategy. While it is quite tempting to focus on high-key metrics, it is better to be realistic and define it based on the goal you have set. For example, if your goal to offer customer support on Facebook, then the number of likes will not be the ideal metric to focus on. Instead, you might need to look at engagement. Metrics are also dependent on the kind of business your SMB is. More importantly, you need metrics that are specific and can be quantified.
While you have figured the most first few important aspects of Facebook marketing, you need to remember that everything you do or publish should be aligned to the goal that you want to achieve. To ensure this, you need to get your content mix right. A good way to identify this is to start with the 80-20 rule. This is a pretty easy rule to follow. 80% of your posts should focus on educating your followers while the remaining 20% can be promotional posts. The former kind of content is what keeps your audience interacting with your brand. Another rule that you can follow is the rule of thirds. This essentially means that your one-third of your content will be informative, the second one will be customer interactions, and the third one is promotional posts.
Pro tip: Facebook’s algorithm discourages sales-oriented content. Hence, it is essential that you post content is more educational and engaging. You need posts that people will like, comment, or share.
The last part of the first step is to identify the optimal times to post on your SMB’s Facebook page. Now this learning comes through a lot of trial and error as different industries show different times/frequency for posting content on Facebook. However, to start with, the best times to post are on Thursdays and Fridays between 1 PM and 3 PM. You can alternatively use a social media management software to identify the optimal times that work best for your Facebook page.
#2 Set Up a Facebook Business Page
Now that you have completed the more difficult part of creating a marketing strategy, you can go ahead and set up a Facebook business page for your SMB. Think of it as the face of your SMB on Facebook. This is the first thing that people will see when that search for or look at your SMB online. This is also the place where you will be posting content, sharing updates, and interacting with your followers.
To create and run a Facebook business page won’t cost you a marketing budget. And it’s not about the size of your followers but the kind of content you post on your Facebook page that matters. Keep in mind the marketing strategy while creating the page. This will help you optimize your page and achieve your marketing goals better.
Here are the best practices that you need to follow to get the best out of your Facebook business page:
Set a custom URL for your page and ensure that it is consistent with your SMB’s profile handles on other social channels.
- Complete the About section of the page with necessary information about your SMB. Tell people how they can get in touch with you.
- Add a cover and profile image for your page. It’s the first visual impression that you leave on your customers.
- Add a CTA button that aligns with your marketing goals. For example, if you are looking to drive sales through your Facebook business page, then your CTA will be ‘Shop Now’.
#3 Time for Some Action
Since you have the marketing strategy for Facebook in place, you will know the direction in which you will head when it comes to creating content. To begin with, there are different types of content that you can publish on Facebook. I’ll list them out here for you.
This the basic type of content that you will see usually on Facebook. You may wonder what a simple text-only post can do for your Facebook page. Apart from bringing traffic to your website, it can also help in building engagement with your followers. For instance, you can ask a question to get your followers engaged.
This type of content consists of an image or a video that you can share on your Facebook page. Similar to a text-only post, visual content helps build awareness and spark interest in your products and services. However, it has a better chance at being read or seen by followers. It can also increase likes or comments. This does not mean that you need to add an image or video in every post that you make on Facebook. As mentioned earlier, you need to get your content mix right. Since Facebook videos automatically play in users’ news feeds, video content catches users’ attention quickly.
Facebook’s algorithm is designed in such a way that live video content is shown on the top of news feeds. This can be a great way to give your followers a peek into behind-the-scenes, or interviews with your customers. You can also use Facebook live videos to share important announcements in real time. Since this is a live broadcast, it is recommended to be well prepared before to start recording the video.
Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of content that you can post on Facebook, let’s answer the next important question – what do you post or write about on your Facebook page? A good way to answer this question is to do a bit of social listening. This is similar to how you would handle customer support on social. You listen to what people are talking about your SMB, products, or services. You amplify the positive reviews and turn the negative feedback around into a business opportunity. This can be a daunting task as social listening needs to happen continuously. However, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you automate this entire process.
Based on the frequent questions, you can create posts that answer them. You can share positive reviews on your Facebook page’s wall of fame. You can let the social world know that you care about your customers by responding to negative feedback instantly. This should give you a jump start when it comes to creating content for your SMB’s Facebook page.
Alternatively, you can see what kind of content your competitors are posting and which ones are working for them. Based on this information, you can work out a great content calendar for your Facebook page. And yes, there are tools to get this kind of information as well.
And if you have found a great piece of content to share, then go ahead and pin content to your page. It will be the first post that users see when they visit your page. And it is a sure shot at creating great first impressions.
#Step 4 Boosting Likes and Follows
Now that you have a good looking content calendar and engaging posts for your Facebook page, let’s make sure that people find your page and start following it. You need to improve the visibility of your Facebook page.
You need to make it easy for people to find you. I’m sure your SMB has a presence on other social channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. You can drive traffic from one social channel to another by adding in the Facebook page link or mentioning it in one of the posts on those social channels.
Add the link to your email signature, newsletters. You can throw in the Facebook follow button on your website and blog. While you are at this, always keep in mind not to disappoint the people who visit your Facebook page. Keep your content highly engaging and shareable. You also need to be active – when users try to connect with you through your Facebook page, ensure that you reply to them.
Another important action to take is to keep your Facebook page clutter-free. You need to audit it regularly to clear out outdated content. Keep updating your page’s cover image to resonate with new product launches and campaigns.
#Step 5 Establish Thought Leadership
After you have a steady marketing plan and increasing follower growth, you need to consider creating a Facebook group. This Facebook group should focus on the industry that your SMB belongs in. It needs to create a community that talks about the industry, address challenges, and provide knowledge. This way, you can establish yourself as the thought leader in the industry that you are a part of. People will begin to recognize and receive your opinion in good faith. This will eventually help you gain more followers and build trust in you. This can be easily converted to sales in time.
You might think that you need to have a huge group to create buzz. But this isn’t the case. You can generate engagement with as small a group as 1000 members. If you keep the conversation going (and interesting), your group will automatically grow.
#Step 6 Facebook Paid Ads
While growing your follower count organically is the way to go, it is equally important that you keep aside funds for your paid marketing plans. Though Facebook’s algorithm puts posts and updates in your users’ feeds, that is no guarantee that your SMB will reach the kind of audience you aim for.
Facebook paid advertising is no rocket science. It is similar to digital advertising where you pay to get your brand in front of your niche audience. Facebook has plenty of options in which you can advertise your SMB to achieve various marketing and sales goals. It also provides detailed instructions on how to go about setting up and running ads on Facebook.
Pro tip: Even if you don’t intend to set up Facebook ads right away, it is a good idea to at least have set up Facebook pixel. This will give you access to plenty of data. This data will come in handy when you are set to launch your paid campaigns on Facebook. Facebook pixel is a simple code that you need to embed into your website. This tiny piece of code will track website traffic and collect all important information that you can use later on.
#Step 7 Measure and Monitor
When you have goals to achieve, you need be measuring your key metrics that determine whether or not you have achieved those goals. As mentioned earlier, when you set goals, you need to ensure that they are measurable. The next point to remember is that the metrics for each goal will vary. You need to decide which metric you want to measure to track which goal. The data that you draw from these metrics will help you with insights on how you can improve your campaigns or get better results.
Facebook’s inbuilt reporting tool to help you monitor your campaigns and provide data. It has various options that help you drill down to the finer details of the data. You can track metrics including likes, reach, impressions, engagement, unlikes, etc. It also provides you information on which posts are performing well and which ones aren’t. This information helps you create content that can be a sure hit with your audience.
Apart from Facebook Insights, there are plenty of other tools outside Facebook that bring together all marketing automation in one place. Keep in mind that monitoring metrics and modifying your content and strategy will keep your Facebook page active and engaging. You will see how well your page’s performance is improving. Once things begin working well, you can also begin exploring other options such as generating leads, running contests, chatbots, using Facebook messenger for customer communications.
Facebook has plenty of opportunities to explore. Though these are the steps that you need to take to build a strong presence on Facebook for your SMB, there are things that will slightly vary from one industry to another. You can learn how you can improvise your strategy with time. But the key to achieving this is to keep your eyes open to metrics and analytics. So, geared with this information, go ahead and create your marketing strategy for your SMB. Good luck.