No matter what people say, Facebook is still the mother of social media networks. With its vast active user base and advanced advertising engine, virtually all businesses benefit from having an effective Facebook presence. Whilst you might have a company Facebook page set up and kept updated, it’s crucial that this activity has some real direction and forms a strategy that is working towards your marketing and business goals. This post is going to take a closer look at what we mean by “Facebook strategy”, what one looks like and how you might begin to shape yours.
Let’s take a look:
Facebook strategy for business
The good thing is that most people are familiar with Facebook as a social network – most of us have had a personal Facebook account for a number of years so we know how it works. Facebook for business is different, of course, but being familiar with the basic functionality of the platform is an advantage.
One of the biggest differences between marketing a business over Facebook, as opposed to posting things on your personal account for your friends to see, is that you have marketing goals. If you have goals, you should have a strategy – a plan of how to achieve those goals.
So what do we mean by strategy? You mean we can’t just start posting things about our products and services, sit back and watch the sales roll in?
Action without direction does result in activity, but not necessarily productivity. This is why so many marketers spend hours every week trying to make things happen over Facebook and other platforms and get frustrated with their lack of progress.
Your Facebook strategy will largely depend on your social media goals and these should be contributing to your overall marketing goals. This is why “getting more likes” should not be a primary goal – they are a means not an end!
Increasing your Facebook likes should be more of a symptom of good social media, not the goal of it.
The most simple goal would be to increase your page reach amongst members of your target audience. For most businesses, this is a great overall goal to have. Naturally, you’ll get increased brand exposure, more web traffic and hopefully more sales and leads. Other goals include clicks through to a squeeze page, trackable sales, handing over warm leads etc. These are all metrics that help you track your successes, adjust your approach and measure your return on investment.
Think carefully about what it is you’re actually trying to achieve through your Facebook activity because this will underpin the kind of content you post and the calls to action you include.
Here’s what you need to do:
Adopt a long-term Facebook strategy
Facebook fame doesn’t happen overnight; you have to play the long game. Building a presence over social media takes months and years and this is something you have to plan for. When would be a good time to get extra reach? Are there industry events going on that you can be involved with? What about events in popular culture or sport that relate to your product or service? These are all things that should be timetabled before you create your strategy. Posting well thought out, timely content and competitions that coincide with major events create cornerstones of focus.
Your content forms the foundation of your Facebook strategy and being consistent is highly important. Consistency is key in terms of brand voice, the kind of content you’re posting and the regularity and frequency of posts. Make sure you’re going to be able to post content throughout the period of time you’ve allocated. Remember you can use scheduling tools to help you keep content coming out even when you’re out of the office.
But this is the bad news:
Content will only get you so far (unless you’ve been coming up with unusually sharable or, dare we say it, ‘viral’ content). What really drives your business will be competitions, paid-for promoted posts and a combination of the two.
“Paid for?! I thought it was free!”
Yes, Facebook is free for users but businesses are on the other side – businesses are Facebook’s customers. Besides, Facebook is a business and, to those ends, has to make money somehow. One of its tactics is to make businesses almost invisible without them putting money behind their posts. We’ve actually written a blog specifically about paying for Facebook advertising.
Facebook promoted posts can actually be incredibly effective at increasing the reach of your brand and it may cost less than you think. If you couple this with a well-crafted competition, you can get some great coverage and interaction. By using some of the features on promoted posts you can be very targeted in terms of who your post is going to reach.
Remember that with your competitions, promoted posts and some of your content, you’ll need to create a clear call to action for people. This call to action must be something that directly or indirectly contributes to your social media goals as part of your Facebook strategy. If someone has given your post and, therefore your brand, the time of day and they like what they see, make sure they can act positively and it is clear how they do so.
Here’s are the key steps to creating a Facebook strategy:
- Define one primary marketing goal – maybe increased web traffic, sales from Facebook clicks, increased reach etc. and be specific.
- Add two or three secondary goals – any of the above and perhaps softer ones like number of post engagements, link clicks or competition entries. Again, be specific and make sure they contribute to your business goals.
- Adopt a ‘voice’ that enables you to achieve these goals (deliver those calls to action) and fits your brand and audience. Make sure your branding is on point and matches the voice too.
- Highlight events happening in your sector, popular culture, the sports calendar etc. that are relevant to your business or brand. Do it for the next 12 months. Now you can select ones that are nicely spaced and ones that provide a clear content or competition angle for Facebook.
- Create timescales (for build up and execution) for these events and plan the content or competitions. Do you need to create any copy for them (blogs, for example), is it worth getting any images made for them? Which posts are you going to boost and with how much?
- Using these events, break the year down into sections where you might have slightly different goals or approaches to try. This will help you see which goals are easiest to achieve over Facebook and which tactics are most effective.
Ensure all of your posts add value to your audience and that most have a clear call to action.
Be consistent. We’ve already said it but it really is imperative to your success. Overnight successes are incredibly rare, even though you will hear about them occasionally. For the vast majority, building a valuable Facebook presence is a marathon, not a sprint. Even if one piece of content goes viral, it might not generate you lots of page likes or sales – it will depend on the post, the audience it resonates with and the product or services, you sell. Take small, steady steps towards your goals and use carefully placed competitions and promoted posts to generate short-term boosts in reach.
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