Back in the day, we put our adverts in the local paper or on TV, and the call to action was simple. Pick up the phone. Look at a website. Email this address. With a social marketing campaign, things aren’t so straight forward.

If you’re connecting with your audience via a social media platform, the functions on offer are much more complex. There’s a risk that your audience might simply not understand what you’re asking them to do – that something that’s obvious to you, might be baffling to them.

Just click “Like”. No, not that “like”, the other “like”

On many occasions we’ve seen businesses asking Facebook users to share a Business Page and suggest that friends “Like” it, to only receive a deluge of “thumbs up” Likes on the post itself – but no progress with the page audience. Unless you’re really confident that you’re dealing with a social media savvy group, you may just need to show them the way. This is new territory for many marketers, and requires some thinking about.

The amount of education, the way it’s conveyed and the depth of topics covered varies, but we see this element coming up for many of our clients just now. One of them, Suffolk Circle, works with older people to reduce social isolation. They have found Facebook an effective way to spread the word, as an increasing number of their members join up in order to keep track of their families. They’ve considered holding full, in person training sessions in order to help their members access all the benefits of using Facebook – including keeping in touch with them. The facebook tab we created for them helps take those who’ve perhaps never “liked” a business page before to complete the process, and understand how to begin interacting through the page.

That’s an extreme example, but recently we’ve found ourselves helping clients with mini “cheat sheets” for tasks ranging from Liking a Facebook page (and explaining exactly what that means), to finding a LinkedIn group. All this education is targeted at the end users – all in order to ensure that the organisations’ social media strategies don’t fall at the first hurdle.

More functions = more confusion

And it’s not going to get easier. In response to falling visibility of business’s posts into timelines, Facebook has just launched an additional “get notifications” option for those Liking a page. It’s a way for the user to ensure they see all of the posts from a page (you know, like “Liking” used to do in the old days. Which rather begs the question of what exactly “Liking” means now – “I’m sort of interested but don’t actually bother letting me know what they’re up to”?!). Which is great, but the majority of users are not even going to know that this option exists.

So, in order to take advantage of the new function and restore some post visibility, businesses are going to have to educate their Facebook audience yet again. For most, this is probably not going to be realistic – there are limited opportunities to do it anyway, given that most users don’t return directly to Facebook pages they’ve liked, and may not see their posts. Giving over a chunk of your header banner to instructions on how to ensure your new Liker gets to see posts isn’t very appealing – and would contravene the “no use of Facebook functions” section in Facebook’s rules about branding, in any case, so a Promoted Post and crossed fingers are about the only option. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly the user base picks up on this.

So today’s food for thought is – are you including enough education in your marketing strategy, and could you get more from social media if you helped your customers learn?