Welcome to 2017. Gone are the days of reaching your customers through paper brochures and print ads. Everything is promoted online, for better or worse. The good news is that a social media campaign can be easier on your budget if you know how to reach your consumers. The bad news is that with so many constantly changing media platforms, many people simply don’t know where to start.
Ready or not, we live in the digital age and you either need to adapt or be left behind. But guess what? There’s help on the way!
Welcome to the Social Media Essentials Series 2017, an 8-part blog series aimed at demystifying social media promotion, one platform at a time. Each post will focus on a separate social media application offering the skinny on updated ways to best use each site for promotion. We’ll let you know about who you will reach, what to post, when to post, examples of best practices and more. We will feature a new post every two weeks so follow the Educated Marketer to stay up to date on our series.
Today we turn our focus to Facebook Pages.
Facebook launched in 2004 on the Harvard campus and quickly grew to 6 million users by December 1, 2006. Fast forward to today and Facebook announced on June 27, 2017 that there are now 2 billion people connecting on the website each month.
Facebook has more users than any other social media platform. According to Digital Information World, Ages 25 to 34 make up 29.7% of users and are the largest age demographic on Facebook. But Social Skinny says 50% of those ages 18-24 visit Facebook first thing in the morning, making that age bracket another valuable demographic.
Last spring, the company announced that there are now 65 million business pages on Facebook, with 4 million companies directly advertising on the platform. What’s more, Ymarketing reports that 60% of Facebook fans are more likely to recommend a brand if they have “liked” the page.
Facebook also has a huge international reach. According to the site, 85.8% of Facebook users as of March 2017 were located outside the United States and Canada. (Facebook).
Honestly, if you’re not on Facebook, you might be living in a cave.
What to post:
Facebook is a great place for brand storytelling, the practice of engaging with customers through telling a story to elicit emotion. Marketers have the unique ability through the site’s Business Manager to target a specific customer base (building the list is FREE) and are also able to customize ads in a sequence, telling a story, to further engage with their chosen audience.
In a recent study in conjunction with Adaptly and Refinery 29, Facebook found that there was a 87% increase in people visiting a landing page if they had seen sequenced ads vs. non-sequenced ads promoting the same product.
When to post:
There are varied reports across the internet on when is the best time to post on Facebook, so it’s a little hard to tell if anyone really has the answer to this question. However, there is a consensus between Hubspot, Hootsuite and Microsoft that 1:00 to 3:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays might be the best time.
The experts seem to agree that when it comes to Facebook, examine your own analytics to see what works best for you. Luckily, Facebook provides users with all kinds of stats and information you can use to better reach your specific audience.
Length of Posts:
Facebook is the right platform for longer posts, after all, sometimes a longer post is needed to tell a story. According to Entrepreneur, although there is a higher post frequency with shorter posts (especially those under 140 characters that are cross-posted to bother Twitter and Facebook), interaction increases as the length of the status increases.
Don’t write a book, but Facebook is the right place to create longer posts and to spend the time engaging with those who comment on your post. Keep the conversation going.
Frequency of Posts:
According to Hubspot, quality wins over quantity on Facebook. If your page has less than 10,000 followers, only post once a day. Companies that fell under that threshold who posted 60 times a month or more received 60% less clicks than those who posted less frequently. Carefully consider each post.
If you happen to be one of the lucky ones who has over 10,000 followers, go crazy and post more frequently.
- Don’t use too much text
You may have heard about Facebook’s complicated News Algorithm. They developed it to cater to each user, so that you only see posts that are similar to the types you normally engage with or would rate highest.
Basically, you are competing with other businesses for the post engaging posts.
And according to SocialMediaExaminer, 87% of photo posts resulted in interaction from fans, compared with 2% of text posts. You do the math.
- Don’t pay for “likes”
Paying for likes is kind of like buying friends. It may be tempting if you are starting out and want to look like you have a far reach, but Facebook users will see right through this and it won’t help you sell your product or service. What’s more, a SearchEngineJournal study found that many of the “likes” purchased were actually fake.
Your page has 10,000 followers but your last 5 posts have 2 likes? See where I’m going with this? Make it authentic.
- Don’t ignore or delete customer complaints
This is one of the biggest mistakes companies make. Try to think of customer complaints not as an annoyance, but as an opportunity. Socialmediaexaminer suggests responding to complaints no matter what, never deleting complaints without addressing them and in some cases, reaching out privately to address the matter.
It’s important for upset fans and others to see that you respect their opinions and experiences and want to work with them.
- Do be selective about boosting posts
Paying to boost posts on Facebook used to be as taboo as paying for likes. However, the company has improved the targeting methods so you are able to target fans, friends of fans, specific demographics and geographical regions.
The Digerati ran a test and found that the boosted post had twice the read of an advertisement, but half the click through. It could be a great way to expand your fans, however, so focus on boosting posts that are already getting a lot of engagement and interaction from your existing fans. These will prove most successful and worth the cost.
- Do follow the 70/20/10 rule
Creating an authentic Facebook page to interact with and reach new consumers is the ultimate goal for any new company page. When you start out, Smart Insights suggests following the 70/20/10 rule as a simple way to help you allocate your budget and focus properly. As you progress, you change things up to customize what has worked for your company.
Here’s the breakdown:
70% of posts should build your brand.
These posts should build your company’s personality and build recognition of your company in general. Think industry tips, recent company events, community service projects, etc.
20% of posts should be sharing other people’s ideas or posts
Sharing influencers opinions and posts not only gives you content for your page, but it may help them notice you. Many marketers are actively looking for mutually beneficial business relationships. Entrepreneur says sharing their information now, may get your posts on their page in the future.
10% of posts should promote your product or service
You may be dubious. Only 10%? But here’s the thing. You have built rapport, trust and relationships with the other 90% of your posts. Now your consumer is poised to buy. Make sure your promotion posts include something to make them newsworthy like a limited time offer or coupon.
Facebook enables you to create an offer as well as long as your page has more than 400 likes.
- Do post videos and use Facebook Live
According to PCWorld, in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg said, “In five years, most of Facebook will be videos.” According to Mediakix, Facebook’s video views could reach 64 billion video views per day by August 2017.
Facebook videos and Facebook Live are a huge opportunity for companies. So big in fact that we will address this platform more in a separate dedicated post as part of our series.
Other Tools for Posting and Measuring:
Facebook has a lot of capabilities for analyzing and reporting for companies and in March, 2017, the company announced they will be increasing these tools for advertisers over the course of the next year.
However, there are other good options outside of Facebook for posting and analyzing your page.
Social Bakers allows you to measure your own Facebook analytics, alongside those of your competitors. It produces PDF reports that show your posts, post types and engagement along with times that the most engaging posts were published and other valuable information. Pricing starts at $50 a month.
So there you have it. A short (ish) overview of the Facebook essentials that every marketer needs to know. These are meant to be for beginners, and by no means is a complete comprehensive assessment of everything you can do with this dynamic social network.
But you have to begin somewhere.
As you use these tips to get started, analyzing your own data will help you make decisions about moving forward. The sky’s the limit.
It's a social world and you can’t afford not to be active on social media -- it’s where your prospective customers are. Download our Social Media guide to learn more.