The landscape of Facebook marketing is constantly changing. In the last year, there have been major changes to several aspects, including page design, the advertising platform, organic reach, groups, and much more. In this guide, we’re going to look at how businesses can get the most out of Facebook marketing today.
Create a Facebook Page
Facebook marketing starts with creating a Facebook page for your business. To get started, you will choose your business type from six main categories to create your page.
Local businesses will choose a subcategory and then enter their name, physical address, and phone number. Other business types will choose a subcategory and then enter their name. The exception is the cause or community type, which simply requires entering a name.
Next, you will be taken through a quick four-step wizard to set up your page. First, you will enter your page’s basic details and choose a customer URL.
Second, you will upload a profile picture for your page. Ideally, this will be a square image (180px x 180px) that represents your business, such as a logo; or a picture of yourself if you are a freelancer, consultant, or solopreneur.
Third, you will have a chance to add your page to your favorites list for easy access from your Facebook homepage.
Fourth, you will be given the option to create a page promotion ad to start building your page’s fans.
We would suggest skipping the fourth step and going directly to your page because there are a few more things you should do before releasing your page to the masses. For starters, you will want to add a cover image. This is an 851px x 315px header image for your Facebook page. The following portion of an infographic by Jon Loomer shows specific dimensions for your cover photo.
If you follow the above guide, you will ensure that important parts of your cover photo are not obscured by the profile photo, the page name and category, and the like/follow/share buttons for your page. As an example, you might want to use your cover photo to promote a new product, like Toyota does on their Facebook page.
Or, you might want to use your cover photo to promote a specific marketing message, like Snickers does on their page.
Click on both your profile photo and cover photo, and add a description that includes a call to action to visit your website. If your cover photo is marketing a particular product or message, make sure the page you link to on your website matches. For your profile photo, a link to the homepage will suffice.
Next, be on the lookout for the Call-to-Action button. This feature allows you to add a call-to-action but-ton to your Facebook page next to the Like button overlaying the cover photo.
Once set up, Facebook will record the number of clicks from the call-to-action button to your web-site. When you get this feature for your page, you may consider removing calls to action in your cover photo.
Post Your First Updates
The last thing you should do before starting to promote your page is post a few updates. This way, people can decide whether they want to become a fan based on your updates.
There are four types of updates you can publish on your Facebook wall. Each engages your audience in a different way, so it’s important to experiment with all of them.
The first is a link update. To post this type of update, you will enter some descriptive text about your link in the “What have you been up to” box, and then paste in your link. Facebook will pull the title, de-scription, and an image from the URL you paste in the box. The result will look like this:
The second is a photo update. To post this type of update, you will click the camera icon below the “What have you been up to” box, upload a photo, enter some descriptive text about your photo, and paste in a link if it is relevant. The result will look like this:
The third is a video update. To post this type of update, you will click the camera icon below the “What have you been up to” box, upload a video, enter some descriptive text about your video, and paste in a link if it is relevant. The result will look like this:
You also can post a link update to a YouTube or Vimeo video. Videos uploaded directly to Facebook tend to do better in the news feed.
The fourth is a text update. To post this type of update, you will enter your text in the “What have you been up to” box. This is a great update type to use as a simple announcement, a teaser for an upcom-ing announcement, or an update to engage your fans. It can include a link, too, but without the link preview box. The result will look like this:
The goal of your first status updates is to show your audience that you plan to share information they will love. You will want your updates to include quality information that is not completely self-promotion-al.
Add Custom Apps
Facebook custom apps (also referred to as custom tabs) allow you to incorporate custom content on your Facebook page beyond your updates, photos, and videos. You can use Facebook custom tabs to introduce your Facebook page visitors to a wide variety of features, including contact forms, mailing list opt-in forms, YouTube videos, Pinterest pins, Instagram images, quizzes, contests, and other custom content.
When you add custom apps to your Facebook page, they will appear in the left sidebar of your Facebook page.
You can organize the order of the boxes in the left sidebar by hovering over the top right of your apps box, clicking on the pencil icon to get the Manage Sections option, and then dragging the boxes into the order you would like them.
To get custom apps for your Facebook page, you can use platforms such as Pagemodo, AgoraPulse, and Woobox. These platforms will allow you to create and install custom apps for your Facebook page and maintain them for a monthly fee.
You also can look into the services you are using for your business to see if they offer Facebook integrations. For example, businesses that manage their email list with GetResponse can use their Facebook Web Form App to integrate an email opt-in form as a custom tab on their page.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to increase the functionality of your Facebook page through Facebook app providers and the services you are using already.
Build Your Facebook Audience
At this stage, you should have your basic Facebook information entered, cover and profile photos updated, status updates posted, and custom apps added. You are now ready to start building your Facebook audience. Here are some basic ways you can start growing your Facebook audience:
Add the Like Button or Box to Your Website
While you can use an image icon to link to your Facebook page, you will get more likes from your web-site by adding the Like button or the Like box. Both will enable visitors to like your social page without having to leave your website. You can embed the Like button or Like box anywhere. The box looks like this:
The button, if you’re looking for something simpler for a smaller space, looks like this:
Each can be customized to include or exclude the faces of friends who like your page, the latest up-dates from your page (Like box only), and an additional share button. It’s a great way to convert visitors into Facebook fans from your blog, website header, or thank you page after they have submitted a form or made a purchase.
Ask Your Friends to Like Your Page
Another great way to quickly get fans is to invite your friends on Facebook to like your page. To do this, visit your new page, and you should see a box that lets you invite your friends to like your page.
This box usually appears only for newer pages or those with a small fan base. For all other pages, you will need to click on the ••• menu at the bottom right of your cover photo.
Select Invite Friends, and you will get a popup that lists all of your friends you can invite to your page.
Promote Your Page
The Promote Your Page option allows you to use Facebook Advertising to grow your fan base. You’ll see it in the top box in the left sidebar for new and existing pages, and you’ll also find it in the drop-down menu under Promote Business at the top right of your page.
When you choose this option, you will get a popup that allows you to create a simple page promotion ad. Targeting options include location, interest, age, and gender. For additional targeting options, you can click on the settings wheel at the bottom left of the popup and choose Advanced Options.
This will take you to the main Facebook Ads Manager, where you can create a more customized ad.
We’ll talk more about Facebook Advertising later in the guide.
Keep Your Facebook Page Updated
As you continue to build your Facebook audience, your main goal will be to keep your Facebook page updated on a regular basis. Most businesses will choose to post at least once per day. The easiest way to determine what posting frequency you should start with is to look at your competitors. Depending on your industry, you might find your competitors post more than once a day, or you might find your competitors post only once a week.
From an audience-building standpoint, updating your page once a day will ensure that visitors will know it is active; and thus, they will be more inclined to like it.
From an organic-reach standpoint, updating your page once a day will give your fans more of a chance to see your content.
As mentioned in the Post Your First Updates section, you should aim to use different update types on a regular basis, including the link, photo, video, and text update types. This approach will give your audi-ence variety and allow you to test which updates work best for boosting organic fan engagement.
It’s also worth noting at this point that Facebook plans to lower the organic reach of promotional posts from Facebook pages in the news feed. Promotional posts include those that solely push people to buy a product or install an app, those that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context, and those that reuse the exact same content from ads. If you plan on publishing posts that fit those descriptions, you will need to do so using Facebook Advertising.
Learn from Facebook Page Insights
Facebook Insights allows you to learn more about your Facebook page’s visitors, engagement, and content. Facebook Insights is broken up into the following sections:
The Overview section highlights key information about your Facebook page, including page likes, post reach, engagement, and detailed analysis of the updates you post. You can click on the header for any of these blocks and go to the detailed reporting sections for each.
Beneath the detailed analysis of your latest updates, you’ll find Pages to Watch.
This is a tool you can use to monitor the activity of your competitors. You’ll see their audience growth, number of updates to their page, and overall engagement. When you add Facebook pages to Pages to Watch, they will be notified that someone added them, but not that you added them. The notification is mostly so Facebook can promote this feature to other pages.
The Likes section shows you a detailed analysis of your Facebook page’s fan growth.
In addition to the simple growth chart, you will find detailed information about your net likes and where people like your page.
You can hover over a particular date and click on the line to see more information about the activity for that day.
Be sure to monitor the unlike activity on your page. A higher than normal number of unlikes could indi-cate your fans’ dislike for a particular status update you posted that day.
The Reach section shows you a detailed analysis of the organic and paid reach of your status updates.
Beneath the simple benchmark graph, you will find a breakdown of likes, comments, and shares, as well as the number of times you have had posts hidden or marked as spam in the news feed.
Monitoring the number of hide posts, hide all posts, report as spams, and unlikes can help you identify status updates that your fans do not like. Using this to analyze the updates you post can help you retain your fans and the reach you worked hard to gain.
The Visits section shows you how many visitors come to your Facebook page and what content they view.
In the Page and Tab Visits graph, you can click on a particular date to see where visits that day origi-nated.
You also can see an overview of your Facebook page’s traffic sources.
You can click on a particular date to see the breakdown of which sites drove the most traffic to your page.
The Posts section shows you a summary of when your fans are online, what types of posts (link, photo, video, or text) perform best, and the top posts from the pages you watch.
Beneath this information, you will find detailed engagement information for each of your status up-dates.
You can use the dropdown menus at the top of the table to see reach for fans versus nonfans and other engagement data, such as post hides and engagement rates.
The People section shows you demographics for your fans, people reached by your posts, and people who engage with your posts. This section will give you an idea as to whether you are attracting the right people for your business with your Facebook page.
Use Tools to Manage Your Page
Because Facebook is the largest social media network, there are hundreds of tools available to make many activities simpler, from publishing updates to researching competitors. Here is a small sampling of popular tools utilized by businesses to help them with their Facebook page and marketing strategy:
- Hootsuite — Allows you to post and schedule updates to your Facebook pages, personal profile, and groups.
- Buffer — Allows you to post and schedule updates to your Facebook pages and personal profile.
- Post Planner — Helps you come up with engaging updates for your Facebook pages and personal profile.
- Oktopost — Allows you to post and schedule updates to your Facebook pages, personal profile, and groups. Also provides great analytics for all updates published on Facebook through the plat-form.
- AgoraPulse — Allows you to add custom apps to your Facebook page, run contests, post and schedule updates to your Facebook pages, and monitor your competitors’ Facebook page activity.
- Simply Measured — Provides free reports for in-depth analysis of your Facebook fan page, your competitors on Facebook, and the content you post on your Facebook page.
- Rival IQ — Allows you to research and monitor your competitors’ strategies on Facebook and other social networks.
- Cyfe — Allows you to create a dashboard with data from your Facebook Insights account, alongside analytics and data from your website, alongside other social networks.
Facebook Advertising is now considered by most marketers to be a way to play the social network. In other words, if you want to promote a business, then you will need to use Facebook Advertising to get exposure to Facebook audiences.
Create a Facebook Ad
Once you choose an objective, you will be asked to create an account if you don’t have one already.
Next, you will configure targeting options for your ad.
As shown above, you will set basic demographic information. Then, you can use the More Demograph-ics dropdown menu to choose from additional demographic data.
You can target ads by Facebook users’ interests.
You also can target ads by Facebook users’ behaviors.
And, you can target ad audiences based on their connection to your Facebook pages, apps, and events.
Once your target audience is configured, you will set your ad budget.
Your budget is the maximum amount you want to spend. If you choose a daily budget, the amount you enter is the maximum you’ll spend each day. If you choose a lifetime budget, the amount you enter is the maximum you’ll spend during the lifetime of your ad set.
The schedule will allow you to either run continuously from a certain date or run within a date range you select. Bidding options allow you to bid based on objective, clicks, or impressions. Your choice determines how you pay and who your ad is served to.
Depending on your bidding objective, you can choose automatic or manual bid pricing. Using automat-ic pricing will set your bid so that it’s optimized to help you reach your objective. Using manual pricing will let you pick a maximum bid. You can choose to pay per click (CPC) or per 1,000 impressions (CPM). Your bids won’t be optimized to help you reach your objective if you choose manual pricing.
Next, you will configure your ad. Depending on the objective you selected in the beginning, you will be able to customize the header text, description, and images for your ad, along with a call-to-action but-ton.
If you’d like the ad to appear in the news feed, you must choose a Facebook page to connect it to.
Beneath the ad preview, you can choose whether to show your ad in the mobile news feed, right col-umn, or partner mobile apps.
Once you have completed your ad, you will use Place Order to submit it to Facebook. After Facebook approves your ad, it will begin running based on the schedule you chose.
To further optimize your Facebook Advertising strategy, you may want to dive into these additional Facebook Advertising features:
Custom Audiences allow you to target specific people, such as your mailing list, website visitors, and app users. To get started, go to your Audience Manager and click the Create Audience button. When you choose Create a Custom Audience, you will get the following options:
For customer lists, you can export your mailing list subscribers, customer database, or other email lists you have. For website traffic, you will need to add a pixel to your website or specific pages you want to create an audience from. For app activity, you will choose an app you have created (such as people who have opened your app) to extract users from.
In addition to creating new custom audiences, you can create lookalike audiences.
This allows you to target people similar to another custom audience you have created, such as Facebook users who are similar to your current customers.
You also can create a saved target group. This allows you to configure a target audience using the standard Facebook targeting options.
Once you have created custom audiences, you can utilize them when creating an ad in the targeting setup. You can choose to include or exclude multiple custom audience lists.
Another great reason to create custom audience lists is the ability to analyze them using Audience Insights. When you visit your Audience Insights, it will ask you to choose everyone on Facebook, or people connected to your page, or a custom audience. When you select your custom audience, you will get basic demographics about them, including age and gender, location, lifestyle, relationship sta-tus, education level, job title, activity, household information, and buying habits.
You can use this information to target ads toward people with demographic information similar to your custom audiences, or use it to get to know your customers, leads, and other connections better. Note that this works only for custom audiences with more than 1,000 people.
If you want to use the “increase conversions on your website” objective for a Facebook ad, you will need to install a conversion tracking pixel on a page within your website that represents the completion of a goal.
For example, if you want to create an ad with the conversion goal of a lead submission, add a conver-sion tracking pixel to the thank you page that leads reach when they submit a form. To do this, go to your Conversion Tracking Manager and click the Create Pixel button. You will then configure your pixel.
Facebook will give you code that signifies a conversion to place on the page. Once you have created conversion pixels, you can utilize them when creating an ad, in the area where you configure your ad creative, under advanced options in the bottom left corner.
The Power Editor in Facebook Advertising allows you to take advantage of advanced Facebook Adver-tising functionality, such as creating unpublished post ads (posts shown only to target ad audiences) or creating ads in bulk. Facebook suggests this tool for large advertisers that need the bulk ad creation functionality, but even smaller advertisers will like the ability to create an unpublished post ad. You can learn more about the Power Editor in Facebook’s Help section.
Facebook Advertising Insights
When you go to your Facebook Ads Manager, you will get an overview of the performance of your recent ad campaigns.
You can click on an ad campaign to get a detailed report of its performance.
If you had multiple ads for a particular campaign, such as an ad in the news feed, an ad on the right sidebar, and an ad for mobile browsers, then you can click on the ad set and get detailed information on the performance of each ad.
If your ad is still running and you want to edit the creative, targeting, and/or pricing, you can do so by clicking the Edit link at the top of the preview.
For example, if you notice you are getting good results from the news feed ad but not the right column ad, you can turn off the right column ad. Or, you can change the audience targeting or bidding objec-tive. It’s a quick way to update your ads to ensure you are spending money on what works.
Facebook Personal Profiles
Most people overlook the use of their personal profiles as a way to market their business on Facebook. We’re not talking about creating a Facebook personal profile for your business, as that is against Facebook rules. What we’re talking about is using your personal profile on Facebook to market your business in the following ways:
Link to Your Facebook Page
When people visit your personal profile, you want them to discover your business while they are there. To make this happen, link your current employment status to your Facebook page. To do this, go to your personal profile’s About tab and add your current workplace to the Work and Education section.
You must make sure this workplace is set as the place you currently work in order for it to appear on your profile. Once set, your company page will be linked in the About box at the top in the left sidebar of your Facebook profile.
It also will be linked beneath your name in Facebook search results.
And, it will be linked next to your name when you leave comments on websites using the Facebook comment platform.
Essentially, anywhere you get exposure for your personal profile will allow you to get exposure for your Facebook page.
Reach Out to People
Have you ever received comments on your Facebook page that you wanted to follow up on? Using your Facebook page, you can’t privately message someone unless they have contacted your page first. This is a situation where your personal profile comes in handy.
You can attempt to send a private message to the person using your personal profile. If you’re not friends with them, your message may end up in the Other folder. But, at least you can reply to the per-son’s comment on your page and say that you sent them a private message. This approach could help you solve customer service issues in non-public space.
Utilize Facebook Groups
The best way to use your Facebook personal profile as a part of your business marketing strategy is to utilize Facebook groups. Facebook groups have a much higher organic reach in the news feed than pages have. While there may not be studies on the reach of Facebook groups just yet, if you belong to a Facebook group, you know that you see updates from that group more than you see updates from your friends or the pages you like.
To utilize Facebook groups for your business, you have two options: join pre-existing groups or create your own group.
Market Your Business in Facebook Groups
To get familiar with Facebook groups, start by joining pre-existing groups related to your business, location, or industry. In other words, groups that your customers are most likely to join. For example, lo-cal business owners can join word-of-mouth or business referral groups in their area. These are groups that locals join to get recommendations for products and services in their area.
To get the most business exposure in a Facebook group, you will want to be a valuable contributor to the group. In particular, you will want to keep an eye out for updates related to your business. An
accountant in a local business referral group could start by answering any finance or tax related ques-tions that pop up. By building a helpful presence in the group, people are likely to recommend you to anyone who asks an accounting related question or anyone who is looking for an accountant.
Create Your Own Facebook Group
If there are no groups that mesh well with your business, or you want to get more out of Facebook groups, you may want to consider creating your own group. Your best bet is to create a group that your potential and current customers would want to join.
You have three options when it comes to Facebook groups: public groups, closed groups, and secret groups. Public groups are those that anyone can find in search and join freely. Closed groups are those that anyone can find in search, but memberships must be approved by the group owner or moderator. Secret groups won’t show up in search; you would need to invite people.
To market your business, you most likely would want to choose a public or closed group. Depending on the nature of your group, you may want to choose based on the privacy that members would want when posting to the group. You can refer to the following chart about Facebook group privacy options.
For example, a local wedding photographer could create a local wedding group for people to join and discuss their upcoming nuptials in a particular city. The advantage of this approach is the group would be a hotbed of potential leads! The people most likely to join the group would be people planning their weddings, and the more you could answer their questions, the more likely they would be to ask you about your services.
The disadvantage of this approach is the group would also attract competitors. Hence, you would have to be on top of your game in your group. You’d need to be the first to answer questions, and you’d need to provide the most valuable answers. You also would have to create rules to prevent businesses from blatantly posting advertisements, leaving the group open for discussion instead of letting it be turned into a spam fest.
Another important aspect of a successful Facebook marketing strategy is sharing content from the business’s website. When website visitors share content with their networks, it increases the business’s exposure on Facebook. Here are some ways you can encourage and customize shares for the content you create:
Use the Facebook Like Button
You know you need to use the Facebook Like button to get fans for your page. Be sure to also use the button on every page of your website that you would like people to share with their Facebook connec-tions. If you prefer, you can change the word “Like” to the word “Recommend” in order to distinguish liking content from liking your page.
Implement Facebook Open Graph Tags
Facebook Open Graph tags allow you to customize the Facebook shares from your website. You can use tags to specify the page’s title, URL, description, image, type of media, locale, author, and publisher.
These tags can be added manually to the HTML code of each of your pages between the <HEAD></ HEAD> tags, or you can use plugins. WordPress users, for example, can use plugins like the official Facebook plugin and WordPress SEO by Yoast to add Facebook Open Graph functionality to their web-sites.
If you visit the documentation page for Facebook Open Graph, you can see how each tag works, as well as good and bad examples of how to use them. This page includes tips on image optimization. It also links you to the Facebook Open Graph Debugger to test your pages to make sure Facebook Open Graph has been implemented correctly.
We hope you have learned some new strategies for using your Facebook pages, personal profiles, and groups to market your business. And, remember, there is no one-size guide to social media. You should always experiment with different tactics to see what works best for your business and your industry.
About the Author
Kristi Hines is a freelance writer who develops blog content, ebooks, and in-depth guides for businesses. Her work is regularly featured on KISSmetrics, Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Watch, and Search Engine Journal. She is also HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certified and a Google Analytics Qualified Professional. Learn more about her at kristihines.com and follow her on Twitter @kikolani.