Socially Adept: Marketing with Facebook for Free
Facebook. From grandma to your mail carrier, it seems like everyone is on the popular social media site. And you’re not imagining things- with 2.01 billion active users worldwide (approximately 35% of the world’s population), Facebook remains the most widely used social networking platform. That kind of reach is a marketer’s dream! Currently, the most effective way to use Facebook is through ads, but whether you are using ads or you can't afford to right now, it will serve you well to stay on top of the free features that Facebook offers. In addition to the general rules for social media content marketing, brush up on your Facebook skills, below.
Facebook has the option to create a business page. You access it by signing in to your personal account, but no worries about privacy, as no one else will see that the two are connected. A business page is more suited for Facebook marketing than a personal page would be for a number of reasons: it has an unlimited number of friends, or followers, available; the ability to use analytics to see how successful your Facebook campaign is; the ability to pin posts to your timeline, so that the specific post is featured at the top of your page; the option to have a cover photo, which will help your branding efforts; and the option to insert a call-to-action (like “sign up” or “Contact us”), which encourages engagement, among other features.
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Business Profile Checklist
Your Facebook profile is a landing page, representing your brand to the Internet world. Optimize the options that Facebook has provided to ensure that you’re getting the most out of it.
- Do you have a cover photo that relates to your brand or current marketing campaign?
- Do you have a profile picture that is easily recognizable, such as your logo?
- Is all your contact information visible and current, including a link to your website?
- Is your “about” section completer? It’s one of the first places people look when viewing a company’s profile. A small section of it will appear on your page as a preview, so insert a short sentence briefly explaining what it is that you do.
- Are you employing Facebook’s CTA options, choosing the call-to-action that works best for your goals?
- Have you customized your page’s tabs? Automatically, Facebook tabs are Timeline, About, Photos, Likes and More, but you can add tabs that relate directly to your business and encourage your customers to take action.
- Do you have a pinned post? Pinning a post keeps it at the top of your page, so make it something big, like a new product release or your company’s video.
Facebook has a complicated algorithm that determines if and where your posts will be displayed on your followers’ news feeds. This algorithm is hard to crack, which is why investing in Facebook ads can be helpful. However, it is still worthwhile to create quality posts, because the higher the quality, the more likely Facebook is to have it appear in news feeds. Therefore, it is more effective to focus on creating quality posts than it is creating more of them. Having your buyer persona in mind as you create a post is very important when using Facebook, because Facebook shows posts according of their relevance to viewers. Your buyer personas, or target audiences, should affect everything from the text to the timing to the media used in a post.
Speaking of text, timing and media, let’s take a closer look at each one:
- Text: Short posts generally do better. Somewhere between 100 to 250 characters seems to be the sweet spot, with posts under 89 characters seeing 23% more engagement. However, this isn’t Twitter, so if you have something valuable to say, don’t limit yourself to a certain amount of characters. Make your posts professional yet friendly, and include links. Although shortened URLs may seem like a good idea, long URLs actually show more engagement.
- Timing: The jury is still out regarding when the best time to post to Facebook is. Generally speaking, the best time seems to be Wednesday at 3 pm, as well as around noon on the weekends and Thursday and Friday afternoons. However, data is pretty sporadic, so your best bet is to do some research to find out the times your target audience is generally engaged.
- Media: Facebook’s algorithm prefers images and videos, so be sure to include them. Posts with images received over twice the engagement than posts without, as well as capturing the attention of a follower. Videos show mixed results, as not everyone wishes to take the time to watch them, so definitely utilize them, but sparingly. Since videos autoplay on mute in feeds, make sure the first few moments are visually engaging to encourage people to watch it until the end.
As far as content, asking questions or providing fill-in-the-blank posts generate involvement. Utilizing contests fare well. Post your blog articles as you publish them. Asking for likes actually does yield them, but use this technique sparingly, as it can become overbearing very fast. As always, remember that you should be adding value to your brand, and providing information for your followers.
Don’t forget about engagement! Facebook users expect a response from businesses on Facebook within one hour of contact, so stay on top of that. If you have a response time clocking in under 15 minutes at a response rate of 90%, you will be able to boast a “Very responsive to messages” badge that will display on your Facebook page. As always, social media is a great opportunity to engage with leads and customers. Answer comments and questions- this is your chance to create that personal touch.
Include social sharing links on your web pages and blog posts. Cross-promote your Facebook on your other social media channels by including a link in your Twitter bio or Linkedin profile. Invite followers who often engage with your posts to like your page- if they are pleased with you, most will happily do so! And above all, provide good content.
As with any social media plan, you’ll want to check out how you are doing and how you can improve. You should be using trackable URLs so that you can see how Facebook is driving traffic to your website. Use tools such as Facebook Insight to see how your posts are doing. Pay attention to what kinds of posts seem popular, as well as the times that seem to fuel engagement. Then experiment using the results that you have found.
Next Step: Learn How to Use Facebook Ads
Your Articles Need SkimCatchables
Skim-Catchables are bloggers' - now- not-so- secret weapon to make readers' jobs easier because they can easily skim down a page and find the answer to what they are looking for. Engaging titles and subtitles, gorgeous infographics, and functions like TL; DR (Too long; didn’t’ read) not only help readers, but should be part of any writer's tool kit!Topic #social media marketing
Chaya Lencz is our marketing associate at AbilitySEO. In addition, she is currently a student at University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business.