Using Facebook for Marketing: 5 Basics You Need to Understand

facebook-advertising-promoted-postsWith 70% of local businesses using Facebook for marketing, it is likely that if you’re a business owner, you’ve dipped your toe into the Facebook waters.

And, like many of the businesses I’ve spoken to, you may be experiencing frustration with your marketing efforts.

Perhaps your Likes are low, or no one responds to your posts. In a word, using Facebook as part of your marketing strategy just doesn’t seem to be giving you the returns you’d like.

I am happy to say that I now have a magic formula to help you get the most bang for your buck from Facebook! They’re actually magic beans, and they’ll only cost you three payments of $59.99…per month. To me. Cash only, please!

I kid, of course! There is no real magic formula for rockin’ out your Facebook Page.

Wamp, wamp.

The bad news is, simply having a Facebook Page up and running is not likely to bring noticeable or constructive results.

But there is good news! Using Facebook for marketing as a tactic in your overall marketing strategy doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

In fact, getting back to the basics can help you see a boost in your Insights.

Here are 5 of the basics you need to understand when using Facebook for marketing:

Basic 1: Remember Where You Are

While some might disagree with me, I think THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to remember about Facebook is that it’s a social sharing platform for individuals.

I know, I know…obvious, right? But indulge me for a minute here…

If you look at your own personal feed, you’ll see updates about friends’ workouts, what they ate that day, where they went shopping, their personal political and religious views…even pictures of their kids on the toilet.

Yup. You know you’ve seen it.

Which means that for individual Facebook users (who may be your customers or future customers), Facebook is a DEEPLY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

And even if your customers aren’t all that concerned about privacy (though at least 30% of them are, especially in relation to business pages), remember that as a business, your presence is only a peripheral part of that personal experience.

Come up with as detailed of a marketing strategy as you’d like: you’re still invited into their “home” by a Like, and most users are not afraid to ignore or uninvite you at any time.

So! All that to say, when thinking about your page, remember that you’re seeking to implement a tactical part of your marketing strategy in the same space with a person(s) who just published 72,468 pictures of Little Baby Joey’s First Tinkle on the Potty.

Which leads me to…

Basic 2. Post Content that Connects

Social Media is inherently about connection (some might say “conversation”…but I think that dismisses the value of a Like, Share, or click). Each one of those connections is a touch-point in someone’s overall experience with your business and brand.

When thinking about Basic #1 (Facebook as a personal experience), that means that the content you publish to your page should be the kind that people want to connect to within their personal space.

Many businesses get a little gun-shy using Facebook because they want to make sure that they don’t get off-brand in their messaging.

I understand the concern…but! If your company makes gates, you are going to have a hard time connecting in someone’s personal space if your marketing strategy dictates that every. single. post is along the lines of “Buy our gates! They are the best gates! All other gates can suck it!”

OK, I actually might like that brand…

I am always inspired and impressed by how Jeni’s Ice Creams uses Facebook. They maintain their brand while also connecting beautifully with fans and customers in a real and personal way (and they are geniuses with content).

The result? They’re able to sell their product right from the Facebook platform, or promote new flavors without seeming jarring or salesy or out of place.

And, with the average user connected to 80 pages on Facebook, that’s a pretty stunning feat.

Brands that do well using Facebook for marketing don’t just post content that connects, though. They also…

Basic 3: Post Content Consistently

We’ve established that Facebook is primarily about individuals connecting with other individuals via posts, likes, pictures, video, games and more.

The fact is, however, the Facebook algorithm (Edgerank) automatically gives business pages a lower ranking in news feeds, meaning that sometimes your content never reaches a fan’s feed, or that it’s simply grouped with other pages and brands that a fan “Likes.” (Check out this study from Edgerank Checker about the “life” of a Facebook post.)

So how do you make sure you’re reaching as many of your fans as possible?

Post consistently. Edgerank gives posts “weight” by how old they are. It also weights your content by how often it is Liked, shared, and commented upon.

If you’re not posting consistently enough that fans can’t remember the last time you did…you’re not posting often enough.

I can’t give you a magic formula for how often you need to post for your business. I say aim for at least once a day and you’ll be doing well.

Basic 4: Keep up the Conversation

Now that you’re posting content that connects on a personal level consistently, it’s time to remember that connection is a two-way street.

I’ve seen many instances where fans post wonderful comments (unsolicited!) on a brand’s page, just to say they love the product…and they are met with silence.

We are all busy…but if you business line rings, you would answer it, right? Of course you would. It might be a lead, or a sale, or a referral that you don’t want to miss.

Comments or posts on your Facebook Page shouldn’t be treated all that differently. If you cannot reply in real time (and a “reply” can be as simple as a “Like” from the page), set a time frame for when that fan or follower will be responded to.

A good rule of thumb? Never let more than 24 hours lapse between a comment or question and your response. If you can make it less (many companies have community management teams in place that answer and respond within the hour), I will personally give you a high five.

Here’s the thing: this recent study shows that 89% of consumer replies on company Facebook pages go unanswered (and other studies show it’s actually upwards of 95%).

89%!! Can you imagine if you didn’t return MOST of your phone calls??

There’s good news: studies ALSO show that brands that are socially invested will see a 48% increased response rate from followers. In Social Media terms–where the average engagement on a Facebook Fan Page is around 1%–this is a HUGE gain, and could literally translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Basic 5: Measure and Adapt

Last but not least, check your Facebook Insights regularly, and make adjustments as needed. Since Social Media allows us to interact with fans and customers in real time in their personal space, it is natural that some of your posts will get a lot of buzz, and some just won’t.

And that’s okay!

The great thing about the Social space (and Facebook, in particular), is that there is room to grow and change and adapt.

Your customers don’t seem to respond to trivia questions? No problem. Try asking them to caption funny photos instead. Your fans go crazy with Likes and shares on your videos but are quiet about your latest honors or awards? Try more video related posts (even 15-20 second “shorts” with a Flip or iPhone work well).

I often tell businesses that there is no “wrong” in Social Media as long as you are not being a jerk to your customers on purpose (Boner’s Barbecue, anyone?).

So try a few different things…don’t be afraid to experiment with your content. Watch your numbers and adapt. Align your content with your seasonal promotions or sales calendar and try to anticipate your customer’s needs and wants.

Kraft Foods is extremely adept at understanding which recipes to post to their page, simply by following a seasonal calendar. Using Facebook, they post recipes and pictures that anticipate customer wants, needs and cravings.

Posting a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds makes perfect sense in October, and naturally, they received a huge amount of Likes, shares and comments in return.

Not every post will be a winner, but if you watch your numbers and listen to your fans, you can have a lot more hits than misses.

And those are the basics! In my (extremely humble) opinion, the brands who do best on Facebook always remember these basics, even if they are equipped with more advanced knowledge and experience.

Let’s hear from you! Which businesses using Facebook for marketing do you think really understand these basics? Did I miss any other good “rules of thumb”? 

Spill it in the comments!

Supplemental Reading and Resources:

Facebook Marketing Tactics that Will Triple your Fans

Fascinating Facebook Facts and Figures

Interesting Facts, Figures and Statistics Revealed by Facebook 

50% of Customers Value a Brand’s Facebook Page More than its Website 

More Facts and Statistics about Facebook 

6 Facebook Posts that Build Engagement 

Socially Devoted Brands Increase Response Rate 

Sarah is a TKG Content Strategist, a veteran blogger of love, life, and unicorns since way back in 2001. On the blog, you can follow her thoughts on content marketing, corporate identity, how to story-tell effectively, and yes, the occasional unicorn.

Email Sarah J. | Read Full Bio

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