Facebook has evolved so much since it launched in 2004. Many of us are witnesses to the growth of this highly controversial and widely popular social media network, including the various changes to its platform through the years.
I mean, how many of you have been around on Facebook when it looked like this?
How about when it became like this?
Do you also remember the rage when Facebook rolled out this two column timeline?
That last one was a huge fail, wasn't it?
(Above screenshots were grabbed from this post.)
In spite of the changes, the trials and errors, there's no denying that Facebook still is one of the top social media networks (if not The top) that companies use for various purposes—marketing, community building, content distribution, customer service and CRM.
As a billion-dollar corporation that doesn't show signs of slowing down, Facebook is quick to address new trends and consumer behavior, which explains the often-subtle-sometimes-drastic changes we see every now and then. Today, Facebook has been introducing ways for brands and businesses to reach their target market locally and globally in the most cost efficient way possible.
There are three important things to take note of in coming up with your Facebook strategy this year:
1. Facebook's organic reach is
When Facebook Fan Pages was launched in 2006, businesses have taken advantage of the free marketing they can get off Facebook, where they enjoy free visibility to their fans' feeds all day everyday. It was good while it lasted, and we all had our free ride for a couple of years.
However, with the exponential growth of users and brands competing for the free space and the inevitable influx of published content, users eventually had to scroll through too many promotional content daily. As a Facebook user, you don't like this either, do you?
And so begins Facebook's Sponsored Posts. While many people see this as a negative thing, it's actually pretty wise, given today's massive content influx and the continuous demand for enhanced privacy settings and personalized Facebook experience. I personally like seeing sponsored ads of products and services I can benefit from, considering the ads I see are targeted to my specific demographic.
Because of this, brands who want to take Facebook marketing seriously are given an opportunity to invest in sponsored ads that will reach their targeted audience, while those who are merely spamming and freeloading are eliminated.
If done right, sponsored posts is guaranteed to help you reach your target market more efficiently than you ever would had you done it organically.
2. Facebook has built a solid platform for businesses.
Facebook is no longer just a platform to socialize and build a community, they have also made it very easy for businesses to reach your market, promote and sell products online, do business transactions, raise funds for non profit campaigns, and gather customer feedback. And because Facebook is continuously improving its mobile interface, businesses with actual store locations can now be easily found by users while on location.
3. Facebook is designed for mobile.
As a social network, Facebook knows enough that their users are mobile. Here's the big picture. Out of Facebook's 1.55 billion monthly active users, 1.39 billion are mobile (Zephoria). Facebook knows that its top priority is to create a personalized experience for mobile users more than anything.
This mobile market—this 1.39 billion Facebook users—you sure want a piece of this pie. And so when coming up with your Facebook strategy, create it with mobile users in mind.
Now that we've established that, it's time to get your Facebook marketing game on.
Facebook Business Pages
I have seen some discussions about Facebook Pages being too complicated and not relevant anymore because of its limited organic reach. Others claim that instead, entrepreneurs should jump ship to Facebook Groups and ditch their Facebook (Fan) Pages altogether. (By the way, let's stop calling them "fan pages" shall we? That's so 2006.)
There are several reasons why I disagree with this.
Facebook Group Pages have totally different reasons for existence and if you want to cultivate a community or build a tribe, then Facebook Groups is a perfect complement to your Facebook Page. But if you want to be found by your target market, a Facebook business page is the way to go.
To be clear, creating a Facebook Page is still free. Getting yourself organically found through search engines or referral sites is still free. Promoting and growing your following is the part that needs monetary investment, the same way you would invest on, say, a website.
Which brings us to the reasons why businesses need to have a Facebook Page?
First of all, Facebook Pages rank and are highly visible on Google. Take note that the Facebook pages are the ones that rank, not the Facebook Groups.
One quick search at "Uniqlo Philippines" and we see that Uniqlo's Facebook page ranks next to Uniqlo's official website, from out of 600,000+ results. Win.
Second, as I mentioned above, your target market is somewhere on Facebook, you just need to know how to strategically reach them. And third, your competition is most likely there somewhere too. Guess where your target customers would go if they can't easily find you on Facebook? Exactly.
Now that has been established, it's time to create your Facebook Page and put in a little budget into promoting it.
There are several ways you can advertise through Facebook.
You can promote your website, promote your local business, promote your page, or invite your friends. These options will take you to Facebook's ad manager where you can configure your budget and your target market's profile.
You can also promote individual status messages, photos/videos, offers and events through "boosting" it. Again, this will lead to you to an easy-breezy ad campaign creator that will help you set up the right parameters.
Once these are set up, get yourself familiar with Facebook Insights, Facebook's analytics tools that's created for businesses to analyze data, get to know their market, and improve campaigns.
Just like Content Marketing, you don't want to use Facebook in vain. You need to be good at measuring your performance and analyzing how you can improve your strategy based on available data.
Retargeting on Facebook
This is the part that gets really interesting.
Ever wonder why the items that you just checked out at Zalora would keep following you around Facebook by means of these enticing ads?
This is what you call "retargeting".
Facebook sees the pages you visited on Zalora because of a Facebook tag that was placed on Zalora's website. This is how Facebook is able to pull out ads that are based on those products you viewed.
To begin your Facebook retargeting campaigns, you first have to setup your custom audiences. This comprehensive guide will teach you how.
Need help with your Facebook Ad campaigns? See how we can help you!