FACEBOOK MARKETING FOR BEGINNERS
Facebook is the largest social network in the world and more than 62% of their active 1.23 billion users log in every day. With such a large user base it is a certainty that a good percentage of your ideal market is logged on almost daily. The question is though, how do you reach those who are your ideal market?
Thankfully the Facebook advertising platform allows you to zero in on the specific types of people you are looking to market to. You can target by location, demographics and interests. Some of the basics of how to do this and use Facebook to your advantage are discussed here, aimed at providing the beginner with an introduction to marketing their business on Facebook.
Who Is On Facebook?
Facebook started out as a social network for college students, but soon it evolved into use by nearly everyone with an internet connection. The minimum age requirement is 13, and it is reasonable to assume it is being used by all age groups.
Facebook doesn’t publicly release the information of who is their most popular age group, but a survey by PEW showed that social networking is more popular with the 18-29 age group, and their information indicates its popularity decreases with age. It is least popular in the 65 and older age group.
Rest assured, however, that no matter what age group you are targeting to, there will be plenty more than enough of those users on Facebook.
How Do You Market On Facebook?
Facebook has three tools (pages, ads and groups) that can be used by anyone. Each option has it own purpose and they can be combined for a greater reach.
Pages: Facebook pages are similar to profiles but used for businesses, organizations and public figures. Viewers can “like” a page and they will automatically receive updates from that page in their news feed. They also have an option to like the page but not follow it. (Some profiles can be followed too)
Profiles require a mutual relationship between friends, whereas pages can be liked by anyone and the page creator is not required to accept a fan. They also do not have restrictions on the number of friends/fans they can have. (Profiles are limited to 5,000 friends)
An advantage Pages have is they are free and easy to set up. The disadvantage is it can be hard to get a foothold and build a fan base with pages.
Ads: Facebook offers an excellent targeted advertising platform. You can create ads that are targeted to specific geographic areas, ages, education levels and even the types of devices that are used for browsing. Facebook also allows users to close ads they don’t like and “like” a page right beneath an advertisement.
An advantage is Ads have powerful targeting parameters. The disadvantage is that Groups can be very time consuming.
How do you Market with Pages?
Facebook Pages are the easiest way to start marketing with Facebook. They are free, fairly easy to set-up, especially in their basic forms, and they are very flexible. There are very few downsides to advertising with Facebook Pages.
Many companies to not use Pages to their full potential, or worse, they use them badly. Some guidelines to help you avoid making mistakes are as follows:
• Profile Photo and Cover Image: Your profile image should be your logo. Simple as that! Now the cover image is a different matter. It is really up to you to decide what to put there. Some use photos of employees, while others use artwork and put their contact information in the cover image. Pick a photo that will enhance your page and draw the eye of your visitor.
• “About” Section: The “About” section should be prominently place right below your company logo. It is your chance to tell everyone coming to your page what your business does. Make sure you put good information there telling people what your company does, what makes you different and other interesting details. Write this specifically for your Facebook audience. Remember to fill in your data under “Basic Info.”
Remember to keep it friendly and informal. A casual tone usually works best on Facebook. Some good examples are: “Valley Resort tells us what features they discount monthly and gives this contact number” or “Refresh Spa shares what treatments they offer and any special packages they feature.”
You may consider putting your hours of operation in the About section.
• Tabs: Facebook allows you to use up to 10 application tabs, known to Facebook admins as the “Favorites” section. Photos and Likes are required tabs and you can move the likes tab around but the Photos tab must stay as the first one. Your top tabs are limited to 4.
Consider what your visitor’s priorities are: If you are a physical store, you might want to make a tab for location. If you host webinars you could use the Events tab to let people sign up and join your webinars. Social media is about engagement so the more your fans engage with you the better your marketing efforts will turn out.
• Post Useful Information on Your Wall: What you post on your wall will show up in the news feeds of everyone who has “Liked” your page, just as it does when you post something to your personal profile. Make sure what you are posting is useful to your fans. Don’t post endless updates about the same thing, and don’t post too many, which clogs up your fan’s news feeds.
Some ideas for what you might want to post on your wall are:
⁃ Links to articles related to your company or the industry
⁃ Links to your blog posts
⁃ New product announcements
⁃ Links to online tools your fans might find useful
⁃ Coupon codes for fans to save on your products
As stated, ensure that your posts are useful and don’t post more than a few times each day unless there is a special event going on.
• Don’t Spam: Spam is perhaps the quickest way to lose fans. If you do nothing but send promotional blurbs about your company without ever adding anything of value, then you are going to have a hard time getting and keeping fans. Before you send out an update, ask yourself if it honestly adds value to the conversation. If not, don’t send it.
• Ask Your Fans Questions: If you get your fans involved with your page it will help to inspire loyalty. Asking questions in your updates gets people involved, but on their own terms. What you ask depends on your product and your niche. Asking open-ended questions usually garners the best responses. Asking opinions on a new product idea or project can be a good way to convince your fans that your company cares about what they want. Getting more engagement on a post may also help you reach the top of the Facebook News Feed.
• Study Your Statistics and Results: Facebook offers really effective analytics for pages; Pay attention to them! If you see a big surge in fans (or a drop-off) then look at what you have posted recently and see if you can figure out a reason for the trend. Use these responses as what to post, or not post, more of.
Facebook has one of the best targeted advertising programs online because it gathers so much demographic information about its users. You can target users with your advertising based on virtually anything. You could find it in their profiles, and you can track your success with each segment.
Ads can be run an a per-click or per-impression basis. Facebook shows you what bids are for ads similar to yours, so you know if your bid is in line with others in your industry. You also have the option to set daily limits to keep from extending your budget too far.
Types of Facebook Ads:
There are a number of different types of ads you can select. You can create ads that direct visitors to your Facebook page, or even a site not on Facebook. You can create ads that promote Facebook events and contain an RSVP link. You can create ads designed for mobile app installs too, as well as app engagement.
Users Can Hide Your Ad:
Facebook used to offer the option to “Like” any advertisement on Facebook, but not anymore. People can “Like” an advertisement in some instances, or hide the ad. Upon closing an ad, Facebook asks the user to specify why they didn’t like it. It can be valuable information providing insight into why your ads may not be doing well.
Powerful Targeting Options:
As mentioned, Facebook has powerful targeting tools. You can target essentially anything on a user’s profile. If it applies that it is important to target location, you can specify either city, county, state or zip code. This works well for local businesses. From there you can choose basic demographics like relationship status, age, education which can include years of attendance, birthplace, workplace and much more.
You can target people based on their interests. If they are interested in a particular sport or hobby, you can enter that into the Interests field.
Or if you have written an eBook and you are sure people like that type of book, you can enter your book’s title under Interests and specifically target those users.
You may target people who have recently moved. If you operate a yoga studio or offer music instruction, you can find people who have recently moved to your area by targeting your ads and ad copy to those people.
You can even target to a private list of users, if you have an email list of people with a specific interest, through Facebook’s ads manager.
Customize Your Ads:
Tightly targeted ads yield a big advantage when you create different ads for different demographic groups. You will get better results the better your ads are targeted.
If you are targeting football fans, you could create individual ads for different teams. You could have an ad specifically aimed at Seahawks fans, one at Patriot fans and another at Falcon fans, etc. Then those specific ads can be shown only to the respective people who have indicated an interest in those individual teams.
Or you might be targeting an ad to people based on their liking of a particular book. You could mention the title of that book in the ad itself which would more likely catch their attention. You can create ads for different books, and then target accordingly.
Facebook is powerful and it is flexible. For any kind of company, it has enough different marketing options that can be tailored to specific marketing efforts, which fit your company, your budget and your time constraints. It can take some time to get to know all of Facebook’s features, but it is worth it. Facebook is still growing at a rapid rate and every day it becomes more indispensable to your social marketing efforts.
Companies that are savvy about Facebook marketing realize an early-adopter advantage. When more traditional marketers start transitioning into the space, competition will increase, advertising prices will rise, and users will become much more selective.
If Facebook is not a current part of your marketing campaign, it should be. It would be beneficial to set aside time to investigate and start a few test campaigns to see what happens. Like anything, there is a time and learning curve.
Inspired by: Zach Bulygo, a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.