Facebook is the number one networking platform in the world, and from the looks of things, the social media giant isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Through multitudes of trials and tribulations on the public front, its popularity and endurance have stood the test of time, and with over 2 billion users, the site and its associated apps are arguably still the best way to reach an audience.
To paraphrase a Rush song, all the world’s a living stage. Today, businesses have more opportunities than ever to boost their brand in front of the greatest aggregator of audience members on the planet using a tried-and-true social media marketing strategy. Making an impact by increasing brand awareness drives more business later on, so it’s crucial that social media not be subordinated to your other marketing strategies. In fact, there are many scenarios in which your social media should take precedence.
We’ve put together a concise, easy to read guide to help you build your 2018 Facebook marketing strategy. Some of the steps might seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how many people think they’re on top of their marketing strategy only to discover they’re in fact neglecting some simple steps that could enhance their online presence.
Taking cues from some of the heaviest hitters in the online business world, we present to you five essential marketing tips and tricks hold a pure power to expand your Facebook audience and elevate your company to the next level.
Get to know and dynamically attract an audience.
Here’s one right off the bat that might sound obvious, but we’ll throw in just to reinforce one of the most fundamental best practices. Make sure that you’re targeting your primary audience and not just continually posting highly generalized content that’s going to skim right past new or even current customers whose attention you want to catch the most. While an occasional post about something more broadly reaching can be beneficial in certain circumstances, the repetition of content that doesn’t immediately hook people you need to connect with will start to show as engagement and page views will reflect more casual, surface level onlookers than people showing dedicated interest. Knowing exactly who to target on any social media platform is half the battle, and with Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm and link burying tendencies, being precise is that much more important.
Hopefully, you’ve already identified your audience, so try to put yourself in their shoes. What content will resonate with them? What content resonates with you, as a consumer? Don’t be afraid to be funny, share interesting articles, facts, or tips, and be warm. Social media was always meant to connect people, and the human element of your business is best occasionally shown on Facebook.
We’re going to get a little meta here with a call to action: whenever possible, add your own call to action within posts! It doesn’t have to be a pitch; it can be as simple as a conversation starter or an indirect enticement to swing by your site for, ahem, some other purpose. A call to action gives viewers a reason to interact or engage, and it will ultimately drive more traffic to your site. Plus, it gives your Facebook presence a more tangible feel.
Thoughtfully curate your content.
Even though some studies show the reach is beginning to fall off a bit among certain businesses, organic Facebook content, meaning stuff you share that isn’t just a link to an outside source, is still the most visible and compelling content you’ll post. This includes your photos, videos, quips, quotes, and any other text-based content that you write directly as a status update. It can also involve strategic links to your blog posts or news directly related to your business or industry.
Photos can be eye-catching, entertaining, funny, inspiring, and even shocking, but as a general rule, it’s wise to avoid generic images, especially stock photos, whenever possible. Sure, there are times when they just plain work, and you can’t always control what picture appears as an accompaniment to a link share. However, if you’re doing a standalone photo with a caption, it’s wise to use one that people can relate to or find joy from, rather than an image to merely represent your message or idea.
Companies that don’t have an overtly fun product—think business solutions or tax preparations—can come up with creative strategies that call attention to a standard, more relatable thread. Why do you think so many realtors, insurance agents, and lawyers come up with a goofy character, some sort of repeat gag, or another schtick? Or, capitalize on the opportunity to use technology to your advantage and create motion-based images with the Boomerang app or use gorgeous, high-definition landscapes.
Videos are the most engaged-with content on Facebook today. Statistics show the demand is high for videos, especially in ads, so it’s a good idea to keep a regular rotation of snips and clips on hand to post. Always use captions (few videos are watched with sound on, but most people will stick around and wait to see the captions cycle through entirely) and don’t post super long videos—something between
Don’t pave a one-way street for your audience.
It’s no shock now that people on Facebook have opinions, and lots of them. Believe it or not, when given a chance, they’ll probably have opinions about what you post, too, especially if it’s content they feel involved in personally.
Ask people to send in photos, selfies, vote for favorite things, or generate the most “likes” for a response of some sort. Make a space where people can have fun and connect with you and each other.
To stimulate conversations and liven your content that could otherwise be one-dimensional or just you standing on a soapbox, try opening a dialog. Ask a question in posts, and engage with people when they respond. Ask for opinions, ask people to share their experiences, or challenge people to tell you how they’d handle a given situation. Lay out the conversational welcome mat, and make sure that once you get it going, you follow through and keep it up for a reasonable amount of time. Make your replies more neutral and open-ended, and do what you can to keep things light and/or humorous. Social media analysis software like Brand24 can help you figure out which comments are priorities for answering.
(Internet pro tip of the day: Know a troll when you see one, and while finding a way to diffuse the situation is often better than ignoring, always avoid engaging in head-on combat with them. Some brands today are even opting for a comedic approach to trolls—don’t be afraid to stop giving a shit yourself and be bold when the going truly gets tough. Steamrolling a troll with absurdity is seen as borderline heroic these days.)
Schedule posts and check Facebook analytics.
It’s a great idea to schedule your posts ahead of time throughout a week. Using social media management tools like Buffer, you can more accurately and reliably have your posts go live at a specific time, and the scheduling allows you to work more in-depth on a series of posts rather than face the pressure of needing to churn out content on the fly. You can make it more interesting, more grammatically accurate, and better plan when it will pack the most punch.
Check your analytics regularly. See what times of day the most traffic is occurring and observe patterns and fluctuations to understand better what type of content is having the best impact, when, and why. That can be a critical part of developing your target audience.
Pack a punch for every poke.
Picture this: a company that bombards your newsfeed with constant pleas to buy, visit, consider, or share their product. Desperate much? Even though the newest algorithm buries marketing content from pages, there are ways around getting back in people’s feeds by creating content where they’ll actually engage. This means not clogging people’s feeds with pleading and sales pitches. Basically, don’t make every single thing about you, man! Give people the fun stuff in between your occasional harder sells. Of course you’re going to do that on occasion; you’re a business. But when you build trust, engagement, and a sense of looking forward to what you have to say the rest of the time, people will find it far more compelling when you put it out there that, oh yeah, there’s also something you’re selling. Avoid being a virtual door-to-door salesperson on Facebook, or Zuckerberg will bury you alive!
A good formula to use is one sales pitch or hard-hitter for every three or four in-between pieces, which is the stuff that engages people and keeps their interest up day-to-day. If you’re posting social media marketing content on Facebook as frequently as you should be and at the right times, you won’t feel like you’re skimping on your conversions.
Facebook social media marketing is an ever-changing game, and what works for strategies in 2018 may get turned on its head by 2019. We’ll try to keep up for you so that you can stay on top of all of the latest trends and techniques for creating a killer social media strategy. Feel free to comment and let us know what has worked for you!