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How important is Facebook Marketing for your own Marketing mix?
It’s a reasonable question, since more and more business owners are embracing the power of Facebook each day.
Reach is one of the most important factors, that is for sure. However, in order to take the next step in brand building, customer retention and reputation management must also play a role.
The truth is: for all of these things, Facebook is a great tool to use.
It’s the biggest social network in the world, and it offers a wide variety of ways to achieve online success for the long-term, but only if you know how.
For this very reason I have present to you: 12 Powerful Tips for Guaranteed Success in Facebook Marketing.
Similar to other marketing disciplines, Facebook Marketing follows certain rules. If you use those rules, tips, tricks and techniques right, success is inevitable.
This is why in the beginning you have to set your “initial mindset”. With that I mean being aware of your Facebook page as a crucial part of Online Marketing.
If you don’t realize that, and create a Facebook page just to have one, the battle is already lost. This strategy will not lead to success with Facebook Marketing.
In fact, the opposite will be the case: you’ll become frustrated and question Facebook as a useful marketing channel.
Facebook Marketing means you have to play the game for the long-term, and do it with passion.
That’s the only way to get the most out of Facebook.
Developing a suitable strategy is absolutely crucial: without a strategy you cannot be successful or use Facebook to its full potential.
If you are serious about Facebook Marketing, you should start taking care of your new fans. The amount of fans is not the only criteria for a successful page, that is certainly true. But without them you have no reach.
Nowadays, users are being bombarded with content on the internet and most marketers don’t put a lot of effort into it. On top of that, there are probably countless Facebook pages in your niche too.
So, if you want to be successful, you have to aim for the stars to get a lot of fans.
To do that you need to stand out from the masses and offer people something they won’t get anywhere else.
Facebook Marketing is all about the benefits you can offer your fans.
If you follow the same strategy as your competition, you’ll never manage to stand out. And if that’s the case, potential fans won’t see any reason to follow you instead.
Result: Your Facebook growth stagnates or decreases.
However, if you can adjust your Facebook Marketing strategy, and offer people more value, your follower numbers will rise.
Strategy: One such benefit could consist of exclusive content that’s only available on Facebook and nowhere else.
Then the message to your potential fans is clear: Here is our high quality content and it’s only being published on Facebook.
This lures your potential fans to follow your Facebook page. Why? Because they don’t want to miss this amazing, exclusive content you are publishing on Facebook.
However, this exclusive content has to be extremely high quality, otherwise you might lose more fans than you gain.
High quality and exclusive content can only be effective if your reach is significant. With relatively new Facebook pages this can especially difficult, simply because you don’t have a large enough audience (yet).
But what is even more important than worry about fan numbers is simply reaching those fans that you do have. And that means posting at the right time.
Don’t just post whenever you have time, and assume your audience will read it later. This is not how Facebook marketing works.
Instead, aim for the perfect time to publish your content.
It could be at 9 in the morning or 9 at night. The exact time varies from depending on the audience and your niche.
Tip: To find out what works you simply have to publish content and analyze when you get the best response – i.e. traffic and reach. Using the analytics tools in Facebook, you can do that quite easily. There are also a variety of third party tools you can try out as well.
Once you have found the optimal time to share on Facebook, simply publish your content at that time. This will allow you to reach more people than shooting in the dark, which is what you would be doing otherwise.
Of course you can post content directly on Facebook and have it shared by your fans. But what’s even better is when your content is shared by your fans without you promoting it on Facebook.
This only happens when you have an “easy to use” sharing plug-in on all of your posts, with a corresponding Facebook “Share” button.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it only works well if your content is adapted so that it presents well on Facebook when shared. (see the great post below from MySwitzerland on speed climbing the Matterhorn)
How does that work?
Facebook offer the “Open Graph Protocol“, which can display content in a way that shows a well layed out snippet – which in turn leads to better click through rates.
With the “OG tags” you can ensure users see exactly the snippet you intend them to. This ultimately influences click rates and creates attention that leads to traffic and reach.
Using OG tags gives website owners the option to control how shared content appears, which is a real plus. Doing so improves brand awareness and trust, and also helps with with future content.
Tip: Technically the effort of using OG tags on your website is minimal. If you use a CMS like WordPress, you can be assured that there is a long list of plugins that do that for you, such as Yoast WordPress SEO.
Successful Facebook marketing is all about the performance of your Facebook page.
Of course, there are also other areas of Facebook, like groups, that can benefit your business, but your Facebook page offers you the best opportunity to communicate directly with your fans. This is why it is absolutely crucial that the maintenance of your Facebook page is always in professional hands.
Luckily, most people have woken up and stopped this crazy idea of putting social media marketing into the hands of interns. At least I hope so.
Also, Facebook pages were, and sometimes still are, seen as simple broadcasting channels where you can push out press releases. Other bad ideas include: simply sharing your Twitter links on Facebook (which was a horrible trend for while), and using tools like “rss graffiti” to post new articles in real time (in the less than ideal form that RSS is famous for).
But this is not how Facebook Marketing works.
Your Facebook page is a direct touch point for your fans and potential customers. Professionals should be taking care of the planning and creation of new content, as well as attending to comments. Don’t ignore this direct channel to users that Facebook provides.
It’s crucial to respond to comments in a timely fashion too!
Even though you offer high quality content, and it’s being consumed by your fans, people quickly lose interest when they don’t get any feedback from the page owner. Some users even react with frustration and open aggression.
Instead, avoid such problems by taking your Facebook Marketing seriously. In the long run you will develop a sense for when to continue a discussion and when to lead one. But be careful: sometimes it’s wiser to hold back (just like in real life) when discussions are simply heading down the wrong path.
It is certainly true that your Facebook Page is all about content marketing. But what is sometimes not so obvious is that your content can also be used as lever for other purposes too.
Let me explain: Content is what opens the door and allows people to find your Facebook page in the first place. Afterwards however, questions may arise when people are interacting with your business and then, some of these people will turn to the Facebook page for answers. They have gotten the impression that your Facebook Page is a provider of high quality content, so that is where they head first.
This is how you build trust. People appreciate your Facebook page and start to identify with it. But if you cannot keep up the quality, this effect quickly vanishes.
Community should be your biggest priority with your Facebook Marketing, because that kind of quality and engagement defines your success or failure.
So if you are confronted with feedback and questions, see it as an opportunity and seize it!
A Facebook page can also serve as “hotline” because it creates a direct communication channel with clients and it also provides unfiltered feedback. What might look like a threat at first sight can quickly become a chance to improve your product and customer service.
In the past companies simply worked with press release that took a long time to respond to. Nowadays you can “test” products and services almost in real-time. If the feedback is positive, you can apply those findings directly within product development. Where else can you do such tests, and so quickly?
Tip: Your Facebook page is a fast and direct interface for direct communication should not, and should not be disregarded.
Facebook might be “just” a machine, but it’s not stupid. Just as Google collects data to analyze user behavior, Facebook looks at how users interact with your Facebook page too.
Good Facebook Marketing revolves around the user. It’s simply about providing your fans with value. To make this approach clearer, let’s take a look at the “analog” life.
If you have a problem in real life you want it to be solved as quickly as possible. It’s no different on Facebook – it’s about providing the solution for a specific problem, as fast as possible.
A Facebook page is regarded as direct communication channel, as I mentioned earlier. As “fan” you expect value in some form. A precise solution or answer to a problem or question could very well be perceived as that added value. This helps supports user retention and brand awareness.
Good “service” can quickly go viral and attract more fans to the page too. This can only work in combination with good content and some other factors.
This is how Facebook Marketing works. It’s not just about doing something really good, it’s also about how it looks, how well it’s communicated and how well it’s spread.
By integrating your Facebook fans into your decision-making, you can also retain them over the long-term. If they’re a happy fan, they’re more likely to play a part in decision-making too.
Facebook marketing means that you should continuously develop projects and processes, but this can only work if you know where the problems can occur and how to solve them!
Let’s be honest: daily business sometimes “hides” these things from us, whether it’s due to a lack of time, interest or simply prioritization.
However, you can use your Facebook fans as a sort of insurance or warning system. For example. why not conduct a survey on what fans like about your page and what they don’t? It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Based on the survey results, you can improve your Facebook Marketing. This also leads to fans feeling more involved in the development of the page. The community aspect of this process is also quite important and can be leveraged by businesses of all sizes.
Not only that. but you can usually save costs since you get direct feedback from your community, instead of paying for costly research.
Because Facebook Marketing has to revolve around the user, your Facebook page should too. This means providing value and benefits for the visitors to your page.
Everything else is simply ballast that creates noise and reduces the focus of the user. It’s not important to post multiple times a day, in fact it can be destructive.
A significant amount of content published n the web has a very short lifespan. Nobody is interested in the news from the previous day. Evergreen content on the other hand continues to last: this is timeless content that is always relevant.
Evergreen content not only provides substantial value but can also be reused. As long as don’t administer a page for a TV channel or news magazine, you should try to provide content of almost encyclopedic value. This should be content that is both explanatory and informative.
This approach is also useful for any other type of information on your Facebook page too. Serious Facebook Marketing does not just annoy your fans with useless content – instead you should only provide helpful or entertaining content, depending on what your fans engage with the most.
Luckily Facebook does not provide a lot of options to overload your fans. For websites that is not the case – unfortunately this has to be mentioned, because all too often I encounter sites that are overloaded with unnecessary content. Less is indeed sometimes more!
Tip: You should follow the principle of providing value to your fans and having a purpose for anything on your page. Slim and focused Facebook pages, as well as websites, will fulfill their purpose much better.
If you care about your fans, you want to give them something special from time to time. And in fact it really is the right thing to do. Why? Because it’s like saying “thank you”, in a way.
Many Facebook page administrators often get the idea of running a contest and usually there is not a lot that speaks against this.
There is however one problem you should consider. Contests attract a lot of attention on Facebook, but don’t often contribute a lot to your fan numbers or client retention. The reason for that is obvious: If I want to win a prize, why should I become a fan of that page…forever?
That’s why you shouldn’t do such giveaways too often and when you do, be very targeted about it. If you do in fact do it too often, you’ll simply collect a lot of freebie seekers that are very hard to get rid of.
These kinds of fans don’t often contribute to the engagement on your page either. In the worst case scenario, they may even use fake or secondary accounts that are for your purposes completely worthless.
You can avoid all this by thinking about when such special competitions are worth it, and whether they make sense.
How many fans does your page have?
Which page has more fans?
Those kinds of questions come up all the time. And there are even rumors out there that the salary of a Social Media Managers is connected to the amount of fans they can collect.
Honestly, those benchmarks are silly. Of course more fans are often better than less – but not always.
Essentially, it’s not important how many users become fans, but instead, how well much engagement you get from them. What are 10,000 fans worth if they don’t react to your content?
Facebook providers lots of metrics that can be used as KPIs. They allow you to measure the success of a fan page in far more detail than just looking at fan numbers.
Note: Some external tools can also deliver useful insights, since they use the data from Facebook to provide their analysis too.
The actual interaction rate is one of the most important KPIs: how many fans have interacted with the Facebook post in a certain time frame or have become a fan?
The interaction rate also allows you to compare Facebook pages with each other and draw conclusions about what works.
Post engagement is also a useful metric, as it helps to give you an idea of how your content is doing.
There are of course many more, and depending on what your goals are, you should look at different ones. But do keep track.
These metrics can help you find out how successful a page is. Because if you have the information and adjust your Facebook Marketing accordingly, you’ll be far more successful.
Facebook is (and for foreseeable future will be) the biggest and most influential social network in the world. If you want to generate reach for your product or service, Facebook Marketing is an absolute must.
It can totally be worth it, if you respect and apply the above methods and techniques.
In the end however, you always need to keep in mind that what you have achieved on Facebook is only borrowed.
Facebook is a third party system and you should never build your business on top of such a system. When unforeseeable changes are implemented, you can lose all your reach within a day.
In your fundamental “Online Marketing Mix”, Facebook cannot be ignored, but at the same time it should not be the center of it either. Instead, the focus should always be your website. You should always drive your traffic back there, even from Facebook.
Without a doubt Facebook can deliver a lot of traffic. But that alone is not enough to make a product, website or service successful. Facebook Marketing is only one of many ways to reach your target audience.
The huge reach of Facebook is one of its biggest benefits – and at the same time its biggest disadvantage. In a balanced marketing mix effective Facebook Marketing can play a large role and lead to success.
But never forget, you can lose hard built reach in days simply because of a Facebook algorithm change. This is why it makes sense to have alternative traffic sources.
Björn Tantau has 15 years of experience as an online marketer and is also known as blogger, keynote-speaker, podcaster and consultant. His website bjoerntantau.com is ranked as one of the most prestigious online marketing blogs in Germany and has been voted as one of the "Top Marketing Blogs" by the SearchEngineJournal in 2014. He has more than 40,000 follower on social networks and has written several books in german, among which is an "Amazon Bestseller" on the subject of how to gain a lot of traffic for websites. Björn Tantau has been interviewed by the likes of ZDF, RTL, RTL 2 and Deutsche Welle (on German TV). He has also appeared on Germany's biggest news show, the Tagesschau (ARD). He also writes regularly for large german websites, blogs and magazines and has spoken at a range of national and international conferences, fairs and events.