Sometimes we forget that Facebook is ad-driven, because it is so ingrained into our daily lives as computer and smart phone users. As we check Facebook throughout the day as consumers--and 1.47 billion of us log in to Facebook daily--we don’t do it thinking, “Let’s see what the ads are this time.” No, we go there to see what our friends and family have posted or shared, to check messages, or to check our own stats on that puppy photo we posted the night before.
So, no, we don’t think of Facebook as ad-driven, but it is. And just because we aren’t logging in to see the ads or marketing doesn’t mean we’re not noticing them! Which is why companies spend part of their ad dollar on Facebook marketing.
If you’re adding Facebook marketing to your overall strategy, you might be wondering how to get started. It is admittedly a little confusing in part because you have several ways to do Facebook marketing and in part because it is continually changing as Facebook evolves, tweaks and optimizes their platform. As a result, you can’t simply pick up a “How to Do Facebook Marketing” guide and get an easy step-by-step instruction booklet. Instead, you must figure it out based on your skillset and goals.
Intimidated? Don’t be. You can do this. But if you’re new to it, keep in mind the number one rule to getting started in Facebook marketing: Keep it simple! Master the basics first, and then expand. Despite the lack of a basic step-by-step instruction manual, we’ve broken down some of the simple steps you can take to get started. And as you master each of these, you’ll be ready for a more sophisticated approach—although no one can say what that might involve, because Facebook keeps changing! These basics below should get you started in the meantime…
Step 1: Set up your Facebook business page
Start with your Facebook page. Your business’s Facebook page is free to set up, and gives people a place to Like or Follow your page, as well as to engage with your brand. It also gives you a place to promote your business, through the content you post and the tabs you choose. And Facebook gives you a lot of options when setting up your page!
As Facebook has evolved, business pages have become more detailed, and it’s worth taking the time to maximize your Facebook page by using as many of the options as are relevant to your business. As of this writing, Facebook gives you choices for content in the categories of Services, Shop, Offers, Photos, Videos, Posts, Events, About, and Community. But they also give you options by letting you add tabs, using buttons along the top that let people book with you, contact you, learn more, shop, make a donation or download an app.
It will take a while to get your Facebook business page done (and done well), so plan to invest some time and effort into this first step. It’s worth it, though, because this gives you a solid foundation to start with, and it’s free.
Step 2: Start sharing quality content
Once your Facebook page is live, you want to post and share high-quality, engaging content in order to entice people to like and follow your page. This content can be status updates, images or videos posted to Facebook, or content you’ve published elsewhere--like on your blog or LinkedIn--that you share on your Facebook business page. Or it can be someone else’s content that you share. As long as the content is relevant and engaging, the source doesn’t matter.
When choosing content, remember that images and videos perform far better than text alone. Posts with images perform 2.3 times better compared to text, and people spend 5 times longer on video than static content.
And then there’s Live video. Live videos on Facebook have an engagement rate of 4.3 percent compared to 2.2 percent for non-live videos. Live videos are different enough that Facebook considers them a different type of content. According to 2016 statistics, users will spend three times longer watching live video compared to not live. The lesson for you? Use video, but also consider Live video as you master the other aspects of Facebook marketing.
Make sure you’re posting regularly, however, and not in a hit-or-miss way. Facebook makes it easy to schedule posts ahead of time, so you can create a batch of posts all at once, and then schedule them to go live at different times.
Step 3: Start using Facebook ads
After your Facebook page is up and you’re regularly sharing quality content, your next step is to move into the paid part of Facebook marketing: ads. That might sound straightforward, but it’s not because you have many ways to advertise on Facebook. How many is “many”? Hubspot describes 13 different Facebook ad types in this article, with the pros and cons of each.
To get started, consider focusing on a single image ad that will show up in people’s newsfeeds and link to your website or to a special landing page with an offer. After you’ve mastered that approach, you can try carousel ads that show changing images or video ads.
Your ad can ask people to like your page. It can offer a short video or an image. It can link to your Facebook page or to your website to learn more. People can also like or share your ad, just as they would a regular post that showed up in their newsfeed.
You want to use Facebook ads as your next step in Facebook marketing because they can be targeted and therefore give you more value for your ad spend. The demographics you can draw from are remarkable in their detail. You can target Facebook users using broad categories such as age, gender, and locale. But you can also target users based on their likes, relationship status, education level, where they work, job titles, hobbies, preferred entertainment and even the mobile device they use for checking Facebook. You can also target people you’re already connected to on Facebook, or target a “lookalike” audience made up of people who are similar to your existing customers.
You also have a lot of control over your ad budget with Facebook. As with pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google, you can set a spending limit including ad costs per day. And you can track your results in a granular way.
Step 4: Boost your Facebook posts
Once you are confident with your Facebook advertising, an easy next step is to spend money to boost your posts. These are posts you’ve already shared organically on Facebook, but now you can pay to promote them to your audience. You don’t have the same kind of targeting power that you do with paid ads, but this can be an effective way to reach out to your existing audience with high-performing content.
Step 5: Learn more about Facebook marketing
Steps 1 through 4 don’t so sound hard, right? And they won’t be if you take them one at a time and master one before moving on to the next. You can master Facebook marketing at an even faster pace, however, with a certification. The Facebook Marketing and Advertising Certification will give you a solid foundation in marketing via the world’s largest social network, propelling you to a higher return on your investment at a much faster rate compared to learning on your own.
And with Facebook working hard to maximize the money they make from advertisers, you can be sure they will continue to improve their platform to help advertisers make more money as well. Because Facebook is where the users are, whether they’re going there for the ads or not!