It’s definitely not news that Facebook is a key platform for marketing your business online, but with over 2 billion users logging on each day and an endless amount of content vying for users’ attention, it can seem like it’s not worth joining in the race. However, don’t be put off. Success on Facebook requires focus and a strategic approach – but it is possible!
To make it easier, I’ve outlined some basic do’s and dont’s of Facebook marketing.
You might know them, but do you follow them?
Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re in need of a Facebook ‘refresh’, hopefully these tips help you to give your Facebook marketing a little boost!
DO: Define your goals
Before you even think about choosing your profile photo or filling out your contact info, you should be defining goals for your Facebook page. Even if you planned out your goals before you implemented your Facebook strategy, it’s easy to lose focus and just post content for the sake of posting (and your time is too precious for that!).
Ask yourself what it is you ultimately want to achieve: is it increasing your sales? Is it boosting brand awareness? Or maybe you want to connect with your customers and build up a community? Whatever you want to get from Facebook, there will be a way of measuring whether your approach is working – and this requires keeping track of KPIs.
Some important Facebook KPIs to focus on are:
- Impressions: The number of times a post from your page is displayed.
- Reach: The number of unique views your post receives.
- Engagement Rate: Your engagement rate tallies up the total number of likes, reactions, comments and shares on your Facebook post to give you an overall percentage of engagement based on your follower count at the time of the post.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): the number of people who clicked your post divided by the number of unique views your post received, multiplied by 100.
DON’T: Try to do it all
Of course, it’s nice to see little green arrows next to all the KPIs Facebook is tracking, but don’t stress if your Insights page isn’t a sea of green arrows every week. Pick the main KPIs that matter most to you (depending on your goals), and work towards improving them first and foremost.
So, for example: if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, monitor the reach, link clicks and CTR of your posts. If brand awareness is the aim of the game, look at reach and impressions. Tempting though it might be, don’t try to do it all! It sounds simple, but tailor your strategy to your goals and nail those.
Which leads us on to how you can nail your goals…
DO: Research your audience
As with every piece of content you post (and a good rule for life in general!) – know your audience. You already have so much information about your audience at your fingertips, you just need to know what you’re looking for so you can tailor your Facebook content accordingly. To find out about fans already following your page, you can use Facebook Insights to see their gender, language, rough location, and marital status. You can even check when they’re usually online, so you know when to post.
To get a more in-depth knowledge of your audience members, there’s no better way than by simply asking them about themselves. You can do this via questionnaires, quizzes, surveys and polls posted to your Facebook page, where you can ask specific questions about your audience, the groups they belong to, or even the influencers they follow. All this extra info will allow you to build precise representations of your fans and customers, which in turn will help you to target your posts to the perfect audience.
DON’T: Buy Likes
Buying likes can seem like a fast-track to more visibility and authority on Facebook, but it sure ain’t! Facebook’s cunning algorithm can suss out fake likes and automated engagement from bots straight away, so I’m afraid you have to play the long game. Buying likes will lead to your account and your content being penalized by Facebook. If you’re not following the rules, Facebook will restrict the reach of your posts and all that effort will be for nothing.
Besides, real engagement is what you should be aiming for, and this is something that can’t be bought. Even if you’re starting out with zero likes, you can build up a decent following through promoting your Facebook page through email newsletters, Facebook widgets and icons on your blog, and by simply reaching out to your network and asking them to like your page!
DO: Post valuable content
Okay, so I admit that this is a bit vague. The concept of valuable content is a slippery one, as what’s valuable for one audience won’t be for another. But that said, there are a few ‘rules’ to keep in mind that, combined with your audience research, will keep your content on point:
- Choose high-quality images that represent your brand well. You might not have a huge budget to create your own photos or buy high-quality imagery, but you should always make sure your photos aren’t pixelated or overly ‘stocky’ (even if they’re free stock images). Anything copyrighted is a definite no-go!
- Be entertaining. Have a sense of humor! No matter who you’re talking to, remember that everyone likes to smile. Don’t be afraid to crack a joke or use a well-placed emoji now and again. 😉
- Keep content ‘snackable’. Whether you’re sharing an update, launching a competition or sharing a blog post, make sure your post is short, informative and to the point. You can use CTA’s to take your audience to a product or landing page where they will learn more. As a brand on Facebook, short and sweet is a winning formula.
DON’T: Post sales-oriented or spammy content
You might have noticed by now that Facebook wants you to spend, spend, spend in order to get your content seen. We all know the saying ‘pay to play’, and even though it’s slightly annoying now, it’s definitely still true. Facebook ads (when done well) are a great way to help you reach your goals, but don’t expect promotional content that isn’t an ad to gain much traction. Facebook wants to maintain a ‘community’ element to the platform by restricting spammy sales content, but they also know that by restricting promotional posts they push marketers towards ads (and spending money!).
However, even if that wasn’t the case, posts which simply push products and lack a storytelling element would still flop. Why? Because people simply aren’t interested.
If you want to engage your community, reach lots of Facebook users, and grow your account: tell a story. Share relevant and interesting content related to your field. Of course, you can feature products or talk about upcoming events, launches or sales, BUT don’t forget to weave this into a piece of content that has context, inspires emotion and provides value.
DO: Stick to a posting schedule
Looking at when your existing fans are online is a good place to start when deciding when to post, but to know which time slot works best in practice, you need to have a posting schedule – and stick to it.
A posting schedule will allow you to easily plan your posts in advance, assign the post to a team member (if you’re not doing it all yourself!), keep track of your posting days and times, and monitor the performance of each of your posts. A simple excel spreadsheet works well, but you can also use tools such as Trello to organize your content schedule.
Post at the same time for a period of at least a week and track the results – how many likes, comments and shares are you getting when you post at this set time? How much traffic are the posts bringing you? Try out a couple of different days and times over a period of a few months until you find your perfect posting time!
DON’T: Forget about your community!
It can be tempting to focus solely on sharing your own carefully-crafted content and leaving it to work its magic, but not so fast! You’re forgetting something: your community. To fully engage your community, you should be answering their questions, replying to their feedback and reacting to their comments. Of course, it doesn’t take much to say thanks if you receive a compliment, but nobody likes addressing negative feedback.
Unfortunately, pretending it isn’t there will do more harm than good. If you don’t show your community that you value their time and opinions, they’re going to be put right off doing business with you in the future.
So, nurture your community, say thank you to your fans, and take note of feedback that can help you improve!
With these do’s and don’t’s in mind, managing your Facebook page won’t seem like such a huge task. Your traffic and engagement are bound to grow if you take a strategic approach – you don’t need to be a content machine to be successful on Facebook, you just need to get the basics right, and keep experimenting to find the perfect formula!
We recently published an ebook on using Facebook for businesses, where we cover how to set your goals, plan your strategy and monitor your results. If you’re interested in finding out more, take a look.