Facebook Tips for the Social Marketer The most recent projections say that Facebook, as a social media platform, is losing members. Since 2013, teens in particular have been using the platform less and less, with newer channels like Instagram and Twitter taking priority. And yet, Facebook is an almost ubiquitous fact of life for the majority. It?s now an intermediary between the less formal platforms like Snapchat, and the more business-orientated LinkedIn. It?s the first stop for employers, and the most obvious online social contact point for people over the age of twenty. So, is Facebook redundant to marketers? Not in the slightest. This cheat sheet will assist you in connecting with this huge potential market. Using Facebook First and foremost, as always, is research. Are your customers on Facebook? Are they engaging with the platform? If not, Facebook isn?t a priority. You need to understand the budget requirements, which requires knowledge of ROI. Nevertheless, Facebook is free. As such, it?d be unwise to ignore the medium altogether. Learn the etiquette of the community before you join and see what other brands have done wrong. Facebook isn?t as open to major embarrassments as Twitter, but there is always risk. Construct a thorough plan and guidelines for using Facebook, including a brand voice, taboo subjects, strategies for various crises and most importantly, objectives. What are you looking to accomplish through Facebook? Brand Page The next step is to create a presence. Set up a brand page and customize the following aspects. Cover Photo - Although it is against Facebook rules to use this space for sales (i.e. listing prices), this space can be used to boost your marketing efforts by showing off new products. Any image should be eye-catching, interesting and relevant. This can be changed frequently to keep up with your changing marketing campaigns/product lists etc. Profile Picture - This often tends to be a logo. Unlike personal Facebook pages, a brand?s profile picture is unlikely to change, unless your brand is revamped. This is so that users can identify you easily. About - There are two elements to this section. The first is the page information, which includes a brief description of the business, any awards, and contact details. The second part is milestones. This allows you to keep track of achievements, such as number of followers etc. Timeline - This is where you can post content in order to build a readership. You can also catalogue your company?s history, such as the date it was founded, and any other important dates along the way. This allows fans and potential employees to know more about your brand and its values. Tabs - These can be found in two places on your profile: on the left side of your timeline and in the navigation bar under your cover photo. It is possible to publish a landing page directly onto Facebook, as well as a variety of other applications that can be used to run competitions, connect to other platforms, host an ecommerce storefront and more. Visit Facebook?s App Center. Insights - This tab, visible only to the page admins, shows marketers analytics to help identify and cater towards your audience. Build Your Fanbase There are a variety of techniques for cultivating your followers and growing a fanbase. Content Create regular posts, no more than three a day, which are relevant, interesting and informative. Be careful not to post too often as this can be irritating, particularly if your posts are all promotion-based. Try to post about current events and interesting facts which are linked to your sector, business or product. Post links, text-only updates, images and videos. Images increase click-through rates, but variety is required nonetheless. If you plan to post images for advertising purposes, you will need to keep a watchful eye on the amount of text. Facebook adheres to a fairly strict policy that doesn?t allow ad-images to be more than 20% text. Avoid text altogether or use the Facebook grid tool to check the ratio. Pinning to Top Important posts which require the attention of your followers and a higher level of engagement may be ?pinned? to the top of your page. Facebook allows Page admins to choose posts which remain positioned above other posts, despite not being the last, chronologically. This can increase engagement and is useful for new campaigns and product launches. In the past, up to three posts could be pinned to the top of a page. However, this has now been changed to just one, which means you?ll have to be mindful of which posts need the extra attention. This will tie in with your aims and objectives. Native Video Videos posted specifically on Facebook rather than being linked from another platform, such as Youtube. This has becomes an increasingly popular way for users to express themselves, and can be leveraged by businesses. Native video often gets higher organic reach than hosted videos because they automatically play as users scroll down on their timelines, instead of requiring a click-action to engage. Be aware that this makes views an unreliable metric, and automatically playing videos will often annoy many users. Fortunately, native video on Facebook is muted, which is less obtrusive, but also puts extra demands on your content if you want to be noticed. Your videos will need to grab people?s attention, even without the sound. Make a statement with the first few frames, to draw them in, just like the opening lines of a novel, or a headline on an article. Pique their curiosity. It may be a good idea to start with your company name and logo so that even those who do not engage with video and continue scrolling will still be exposed to your brand. Use text to create interest and curiosity. Advertising and Optimization To take full advantage of Facebook, you may want to consider advertising and paid promotions. Facebook offers advanced targeting and a large user-base, which allows you to pinpoint your target market as well as expand and increase exposure. Ad Content Facebook offers a multitude of functions to help advertise your products, show social proof, and increase engagement with your brand. Among these functions are: Clicks to Websites Website Conversions Page Likes App Installs Offer Claims Local Awareness Event Responses Video Reviews Group Tags Newsfeed Ads Sponsored adverts for your company can be designed to look the same as any other post in users? news streams. Current practice seems to prefer this method and suggests higher engagement. It is also possible to make ?Dark Posts?, which aren?t published and allow A/B testing without bombarding followers. Targeting Facebook allows you to target people based on a variety of information, including interests, behavior, zipcode and more. You can also create ?Custom Audience Lists,? which allow you to target users in several different ways: Customer List - match emails, phone numbers and FB IDs to users. Web Traffic - list people who visit your website or specific pages App Activity - people who have performed a particular action in your app or game Optimization Facebook ads work on a PPC (Pay Per Click) basis. To make the most out of your ads you need to make them eye-catching, make them grab user attention, and most importantly, increase brand awareness. That way, even if a user doesn?t click on your ad, they have still seen your logo and name, and may be more likely to use or at least investigate your business in the future. That way, you are getting value even when a cost is not incurred. Run multiple campaigns simultaneously to better tailor your content to your audience. Change or rotate new content at least once a week. Use A/B testing to find out which headings, text, images and content types work best. Using a mixture of video, image and text will allow you to draw in more of your target audience. Also use a range of content offers, such as gated vs. ungated etc. Get Out There Using this cheat sheet, you can give yourself a head start as you delve into the marketing channel Facebook provides. Remember to keep testing and keep your eye on the current trends.