Now that you understand the different kinds of Facebook marketing and posts, let’s look at some Facebook marketing ideas to help you build a solid strategy for this powerful social tool.
1. Define your audience
To engage your audience effectively, you have to first understand who your target audience is.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How old are your target followers?
- Where do they live?
- What kind of jobs do they have?
- What are their challenges and pain points?
- How and when do they use Facebook?
To start, make sure you understand the basic Facebook demographics. Once you know who uses the platform and how that maps back to your target customer, take a look at Facebook Audience Insights.
Use Audience Insights to drill down into the nitty-gritty details about potential customers. You can use this tool to find information on things like:
- Relationship status
- Facebook usage
- Past purchasing activity
This is one of the most important Facebook marketing tips for using the platform successfully: Always have a clear idea of exactly who you are trying to reach.
2. Set goals
It can be tempting to focus on vanity metrics, like racking up Likes. But unless those Likes are part of a broader marketing plan, they’re not going to provide a great return.
For your Facebook marketing strategy to be effective, you’ve got to have clear goals tied to real business objectives.
The goals will differ for every business, but they should all focus on actions that have a real impact on your bottom line. For example:
- generating leads
- increasing conversions on your website
- improving customer service.
These broad categories are a good place to start. Next, you need to make your goals much more specific and measurable. Here, we recommend using a recognized goal-setting framework like S.M.A.R.T. goals or the O.K.R. goal framework.
We explain both of these goal-setting systems, along with examples of how they work in practice, in our post on social media goal setting.
Everything you do on Facebook—every post, every comment, every ad—should work to support your goals. To keep things on track, it’s a good idea to distill your strategy down into a Facebook mission statement for your brand.
Having a clear picture of your goals will also help you craft an effective Facebook style guide for your brand. This will make sure you maintain a consistent brand voice that works to support the goals you choose.
3. Plan your content mix
Once you’ve set your goals, you need to create a plan for how to achieve them.
A key part of that plan is determining the right content mix. We recommend starting with either the 80-20 rule or the social media rule of thirds.
If you follow the 80-20 rule:
- use 80% of your Facebook posts to inform, educate, and entertain
- Use the other 20% to promote your brand
Remember that using Facebook for business is all about building relationships, and self-promotion is not a great way to do that. But if you provide enough value, your audience will be open to learning about your products and services in the 20 percent of posts that are more sales-focused.
The social media rule of thirds also prescribes a good mix of valuable content vs. promotional posts:
- one-third of your content should share ideas and stories
- one-third should involve personal interactions with your followers
- the remaining third can promote your business
The goal is to provide more value than promotional material to keep followers engaged.
Facebook’s algorithm will always penalize brands that push sales too hard. Facebook wants its users’ news feeds to be full of content they want to Like and share.
As a marketer, you should want that too. All those Likes and shares help extend your reach and put your brand in front of new eyeballs.
The final part of planning your content mix is to determine when and how often to post.
This will take some trial and error (using engagement data gleaned from Page Insights). But research generally shows that the best time to post on Facebook is:
- For B2B brands: between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
- For B2C brands: 12 p.m. EST on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday
It’s important to post consistently. Create a content calendar to help balance your mix of content types and keep your posting schedule on track. We’ve created a free content calendar template you can use. The Hootsuite Planner is another great resource to help you plan and manage your Facebook content mix.
For more strategic planning ideas, check out our post on how to create a social media marketing plan.
4. Optimize your Page for engagement
In order to achieve the Facebook marketing goals you set in Step no. 2, you need to make it easy for people to find your Facebook Page. And you need to compel them to Like your Page once they get there.
Start by making sure your Facebook Business Page is fully optimized for success, as explained in this video:
Tip: Put some extra effort into your Facebook Page cover image, since it’s the first thing people will see when they visit your Page.
Next, it’s time to get those views, Likes, and Follows rolling in.
First, make it easy for people you already interact with on other channels to find your Facebook Page:
- Link to your Page in your email signature, newsletter, and other channels
- Incorporate Facebook Like and share buttons on your website and blog to make it easy for people to find, follow, and share your Page in one click
Of course, if you want people to share your content, you need to make sure the content you post to Facebook is highly shareable. Creating valuable and entertaining content that followers will be happy to share with their connections is the best way to expand your organic reach.
It bears repeating here that Facebook is a social network. If you’re not engaged with your Page, why should your followers be? Followers who find themselves talking into a void will abandon your Page for more responsive brands.
Your mantra is reply, reply, reply. Reply to every message and comment. Answer questions.
Finally, make sure your Page stays up to date. Schedule a regular audit of your Facebook Page to check for and remove any outdated content. Make sure your About section is accurate, up-to-date, and on-brand.
You can find more detailed strategies in our guide to getting more Facebook Likes and this list of little-known Facebook tips and tricks.
5. Consider using other Facebook tools
Once you’ve started to build up your following, you may want to consider adding some extra tools to your marketing plan.
With 1.4 billion people using Facebook Groups every month, it’s an audience too large to ignore. Think of Groups as the online equivalent of your favorite coffee shop or community center. They are a place for people to share information and ideas.
You can also use Facebook Groups to showcase your expertise and provide added value to your fans. This is a great way to build trust and ongoing loyalty.
For example, Shirley Weir of Menopause Chicks offers a private Facebook Group where women can talk and learn about personal topics they experience in midlife. The group is a low-commitment, high-value first point of contact that allows Shirley to develop meaningful relationships with new fans.
The group gained 5,000 new members in 60 days after Shirley mentioned it in a couple of media appearances. There are now more than 17,600 members, generating 35,000 questions, comments, and reactions a month—all through organic growth.
When you’re ready to add this tool to your Facebook marketing strategy, check out our step-by-step instructions on how to set up your own Facebook Group.
Sometimes fans will create their own Facebook Group with a focus on your brand (search Facebook Groups for FitBit to see this in action). It’s a good idea to join these groups to make sure that the conversation is positive and factual.
In general, though, this is a great thing. It shows your brand has a dedicated fan base that’s really into what you do!
For now, Facebook Groups are all about organic interaction, but eMarketer predicts ads will come to Groups in 2021.
Facebook chatbot (a.k.a. Facebook Messenger bot)
Facebook users exchange 20 billion messages with businesses every month. Facebook’s own research shows users expect a business to respond almost immediately. One surveyed Facebook user said he would only wait 10 minutes for a response before moving on to another brand.
Facebook suggests chatbots on Messenger may be the answer to this need for quick replies. And they cite it as a reason why the number of bots grew 5.6 times in 2018 alone.
For example, Happy Socks used a Facebook Messenger bot as a kind of personal shopper, helping people find exactly the right gifts for everyone on their Christmas list.
To set up your own Facebook chatbot, check out our step-by-step guide to creating a Facebook Messenger bot.
Facebook Business Manager
Once you understand the basics of your Facebook Page, it’s a good idea to set up Facebook Business Manager. Facebook calls it “a one-stop shop to manage business tools, business assets and employee access to these assets.”
It’s a tool that allows you to manage your organic and paid Facebook posts. It also allows you to work effectively with team members and outside contractors and agencies.
We walk you through the set-up process in our step-by-step guide to using Facebook Business Manager.
6. Incorporate Facebook ads and the Facebook pixel
Just because you post something on your Facebook Page, that doesn’t mean all your followers will see it. In fact, you might be surprised by the percentage of followers your organic posts will likely reach:
- For Pages with fewer than 10,000 followers: 8.18% organic reach
- For Pages with more than 10,000 followers: 2.59% organic reach
This is because the Facebook algorithm prioritizes posts from users’ friends and family.
Fortunately, you can extend your reach without breaking the bank using Facebook Ads.
Like any advertisement, a Facebook ad is content you pay to share with a specific, targeted audience. It’s all about getting your brand in front of the right eyeballs and achieving your conversion goals.
Facebook has advertising options designed for business goals both on and off the network—from brand awareness and engagement to app installs and store visits. This video provides an overview of how to set up a Facebook ad campaign.
For more on how to launch a targeted Facebook ad campaign, check out our complete guide to advertising on Facebook.
An important note here: Even if you don’t plan to use Facebook ads right away, it’s a good idea to set yourself up with a Facebook pixel now.
A Facebook pixel is a simple piece of code that you place on your website to:
- track conversions
- remarket to people who have already visited your website
- build targeted custom audiences for future ads
The pixel will start collecting data as soon as you place it on your site, so you’ll have remarketing and custom audience information ready when you start your first campaign.
7. Track, measure, and refine for Facebook Marketing
Facebook marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. You’ve got to track and measure performance so you can see what worked and what didn’t. This will reveal how you can improve your strategy in the future.
Facebook offers built-in audience engagement tracking through Facebook Insights. You can measure:
- reach (how many people saw your posts)
- engagement (how many people liked, clicked, shared, or commented)
- which of your posts result in people unliking your Page
Facebook Insights will also help you determine which post types work best for your Page, so you’ll know if your current content mix is working. We’ve got all the details in our beginner’s guide to Facebook Analytics.
For actions outside of Facebook (like purchases or other website conversions), you need to use tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite Impact, UTM parameters, and Hootsuite Insights.
We’ve created a detailed guide that walks you through the process of tracking the return on investment of your Facebook marketing.
Beyond tracking your success, it’s important to use the information about what’s working and what’s not to make adjustments to your Facebook marketing strategy. The data will show you what you should keep doing, and which tactics you need to tweak.
Through a continuous loop of goal-setting, measuring results, and tweaking your strategy, you can improve your performance over time.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to Facebook marketing, and it might all seem a little overwhelming at first. The good news is you can get started without investing a dime. Then, branch out into more complex strategies and paid campaigns as you gain expertise.