Around one-fifth of the planet uses Facebook daily. For many of these users, Facebook and its related products and services are the Internet. If you’re a digital marketer, you can’t afford to ignore Facebook. At the same time, fewer than half of B2B and B2C organizations think their Facebook marketing efforts are effective.
How do you reach your customers and users on Facebook while still optimizing your marketing spend?
Getting started with Facebook marketing
Before you do anything else with Facebook, you’ll need to create a Page for your business, product, or service. Think of this as your business’s Facebook profile. Here you’ll add your basic business information, contact info, and any content that you want to promote.
Note: If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, it’s especially important to make sure your Page includes accurate and up-to-date contact info, since this will influence your search ranking in Google.
Once you have a Page in place, it’s time to populate it with content. This content can come from blog posts that are cross-posted from a WordPress blog, Facebook Instant Articles, or short-form videos created specifically for Facebook.
What content is best for your business or product will depend on your industry, your audience, and the News Feed algorithm. Getting your content to show up in your customers’ and users’ News Feeds is a (if not the) major goal of Facebook marketing.
THE NEWS FEED ALGORITHM
Like Google’s search algorithms, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm plays a major role in how visible your marketing efforts will be online. And as with Google and other counterparts, regular changes in those algorithms can force you to totally change your digital marketing strategy.
To wit: Starting in 2015, Facebook began encouraging its publishing partners to invest more heavily in video content. Facebook users were interacting more with videos, so Facebook wanted to emphasize videos in its News Feed algorithm. This “pivot to video” became a major part of many media companies’ digital strategies, and many organizations cut traditional print reporting jobs in order to spin up video operations.
Then, in January 2018, Facebook announced that the great video pivot was coming to an end with an algorithm change that promised to deprioritize content from brands and publishers in favor of content shared by friends and family. Almost overnight many publishers saw their traffic plummet, and some organizations have begun winding down the video operations they’d only recently been investing heavily in.
CREATING REAL ENGAGEMENT
So how do you create a marketing strategy built around a target that’s continually moving? While there’s a certain amount of chance due to the vagaries of Facebook’s algorithms, one thing remains pretty constant: Engagement matters.
In Facebook’s world, engagement can take the form of likes, shares, and comments. Facebook’s algorithms look for content that’s getting strong engagement, and the best way to get that engagement is by producing high-quality content, whether that’s text, imagery, video, VR, or whatever else.
Note: While Facebook’s algorithms are constantly on the lookout for high-performing content, they’re also keeping watch for suspicious activity, such as pages filled with fake likes provided by third parties that control lots of fake accounts. Facebook tends to aggressively shut down Pages it suspects of engaging in this kind of behavior, so make sure to stay away from black-hat Facebook marketing tricks.
How to see how you’re doing
You’ve got a page up and running, and you’re filling it out with a solid content calendar. The next question to ask is: How can you tell how well you’re doing? For good or ill, Facebook has a lot of data on the people who use its service. That gives Facebook marketers access to the kind of information that businesses could only dream of getting just a few years ago. If you’re serious about Facebook marketing, you’ll want to get familiar with Audience Insights.
Audience Insights is Facebook’s version of analytics. With it, you get access to a variety of demographic and behavioral data, including your audience’s interests and what other Pages your audience is more apt to like than the average Facebook user. While originally developed to help Facebook advertisers tailor their ads more effectively, it can also serve as a great tool for getting the kind of audience insights you might typically use a more sophisticated analytics platform for.
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