Incorporating Facebook into your digital marketing strategy is essential when it comes to boosting your profile, generating a buzz around your products or services, and generally, reaching a whole new audience of potential buyers who are receptive to learning more and can potentially be converted to clients. The opportunities of this type provided by the Facebook platform are virtually limitless, however, it is important to approach marketing via Facebook in the right way, otherwise all of your good intentions can quickly backfire.
In this blog post, we will look at some of the most effective ways to harness the power of Facebook and put it to work to promote your business, products or services, plus some tips on things to avoid. Read on to learn more.
How do you want to play it?
Facebook marketing can essentially be broken down into two very broad categories; direct marketing in partnership with Facebook by means of using some of the platform’s paid advert and promotion options, or using your own Facebook page and presence to market your offerings to your clients directly.
Both methods have their pros and cons; paid ad placements and promotions take some of the hard work out of it for you, but they can also be very costly, and the level of opportunism utilised by Facebook when it comes to ad placement means that users often develop a level of familiarity blindness to paid adverts as well.
Using your own page and Facebook presence to manually promote your products and services can often be achieved at low to no financial cost, but it is time intensive, and requires a good level of understanding of both the Facebook platform and the preferences and requirements of its users in order to get things right.
Below, we will look at various options from both of these two categories, and some tips for putting them into practice.
Facebook ads and sponsored content appear in various places across the site, most commonly along the right sidebar, between the user’s newsfeed and their chat and update bars. The ads that any given user sees are determined by Facebook’s ad placement algorithms, which take into account the type of activity pattern that the user had built up, both on Facebook itself and around the internet at large.
For instance, if a Facebook user plays games on Facebook, similar games are apt to appear in this section, whilst if a user has shopped or browsed on Google, the pages that they visited or similar offerings are apt to appear. This means that Facebook ads and sponsored content can provide value in terms of exposing your offerings to the most receptive potential audience, although the algorithm is not without its flaws, and will sometimes return some rather peculiar results!
Facebook offers are promotions that you can run in partnership with Facebook itself, to provide discounts, special products and offers that are not available elsewhere. These offers benefit both Facebook, as they allow the platform to offer something that is exclusive to their platform, and also you, as Facebook promote and highlight your offers on your behalf.
When somebody claims an offer of this type, it will appear in that person’s newsfeed, further promoting the offer and of course, your products and services to a wider audience.
Encourage visitors to your page
The more people that you can encourage to view your Facebook page and keep coming back to see your new content, the more your page’s popularity will grow, and become self-perpetuating. This means that you need to provide an incentive for people to view and “like” your page, which can be undertaken in a variety of different ways.
Making your content engaging, highly shareable and fresh, updating it regularly and interacting with your viewers is an excellent way to do this, and you can also give your page a boost from time to time by running offers, giveaways and promotions, for instance, inviting people to “share” your post for a chance to win a prize.
Avoid the hard sell
There is a very fine balance to letting people know about what you do and what you offer on Facebook, and pushing the hard sell too much, so that people steer clear.
Because Facebook is first and foremost a social media platform, people use it to socialise, chat, and entertain themselves, and so, find it annoying and intrusive if they are bombarded by pushy advertising and product-related spam. Taking the hard sell approach to Facebook is the fastest way to lose followers and ensure that people avoid your page, but if you tackle your Facebook marketing in the right way, you can encourage people to check you out because they want to find out more about what you do, and how this may be of interest to them.
Don’t post a continual stream of messages selling or promoting something, but construct posts that get people talking, and interested in what you offer. Use Facebook to raise awareness of your products and services and find out more about them by making your posts interesting, fun or intriguing, rather than designed to sell them in the first instance.
Get people talking
If people leave your page thinking about what they have seen and read there, or even better, share it and talk about it with their friends, your content can go to work for you, and the mantle will pass organically to the site’s users, who will take up the torch and continue to spread the word.
In order to do this, your content should be interesting and shareable, so don’t just use your page to talk exclusively about your products and services; comment on other people’s content, what is happening in the world and things that are of interest, but take care to avoid political or religious hot potatoes, or taking a standpoint that will potentially alienate some of your readers.
Ask questions that invite people to share their own opinions and input and then comment on them, rather than framing your posts with a specific angle or viewpoint that either leaves no room for dissent, or causes people to avoid it entirely. Where possible, integrate your offerings or products into this naturally as a kind of “by the way,” but don’t stuff content and promotional entries into posts where they will appear forced or unnatural.