Facebook has changed over the years. It grew bigger, and it grew stricter in its anti-spam and fake content policy to protect its users from businesses and other entities who tried to abuse the system.
No matter the hassle and the headache such changes brought, Facebook is still one of the most frequented social platforms, making for 77.89% of the market share according to StatCounter (as of January 2018).
It can generate traffic in the thousands for website owners who organically or through advertising develop a loyal following.
How to approach Facebook marketing for better results?
That’s precisely what this post is here for. Read on.
1. The Evergreen Strategy
It’s one, and it works well with any social medium, but it works even better with Facebook, where it’s harder to connect and market to people who are not among your Friends.
This is it: strive to create engagement. Whenever you post a new video, photo or text-based content, do it to create interaction – even better if that’s a comment thread and not only a Like or a reaction.
To achieve this goal, you have to provide value and be open to engage in conversation yourself.
But what should you do, in practice, to add that value? Akathma Devi suggests that you:
1. Fill in the bio completely.
2. Use the right hashtags.
3. Maintain relevancy in content, simple vocabulary and right grammar.
4. Be communicative [rather] than broadcasting or salesy
5. Use visual content that impacts more.
Akathma’s advice also works with any social medium, not just Facebook, but because of Facebook’s content settings, it’s a winning strategy that you can complement with Tip #8.
2. It Can Work Out Even If You’re Not On 24/7
You don’t have to be around Facebook all day, all week.
As Patricia Weber tells us:
On Facebook it’s checking into my stream about 3 times a week. It’s the noisiest platform so I’m not there that often. But when I am, I like, I comment, I share, I sing Happy Birthday when I see the notice.
Respond to your notices as soon as you can, but don’t stress to be on all the time. Your fans, friends and group members will still get a notice when you answer their feedback.
3. Use It As A Gold Mine, Not A Dumping Ground
That’s what David Trounce’s of Mallee Blue Media warned social media marketers:
Most people in marketing use their Social Media as a dumping ground for links back to their articles, offers, etc., and hope someone will take up an interest. Truth is, most people are only interested in their own voice. By showing an interest in their voice you can turn your social media marketing from a Dumping Ground to a gold mine.
And then David goes deep in detail:
“Spend a week where you post nothing to social media. Instead, select a platform that best represents your audience (…) [and] find people talking either about your brand or your niche. In particular, look for problems you can solve.
Start talking to them. Point them to a resource. Comment or offer some suggestions.
If you [want] to build bridges in your niche, link prospecting or guest post opportunities, respond to one or two of their tweets in a helpful way. Retweet it and if they seem responsive, pitch an offer.
With this strategy, I am usually able to pick up a new client or a guest post opportunity from only a handful or carefully chosen connections each week.”
4. Pay For It…?
Cormac from My Online Marketer says you should really consider this option if you want to spread the word across Facebook users you are not directly in touch with:
“Nobody likes to pay for things, especially when it was free beforehand. However, paid Facebook adverts still offer a great deal for advertising and are proven as the cheapest medium to promote a product to a specific audience, beating TV, radio and paper adverts hands down in terms of reach and cost. Moz made an argument in favor [of] Facebook a few months ago and it offers some interesting reading if you ask me.”
Advertising is getting more and more vital for Facebook marketing in 2018, since the social giant updated its algorithm to decrease brand visibility in newsfeed and give more space to personal updates. On January 12, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook would start getting more personal again after community feedback showed that people cared more about connecting to each other than branded content, leading to show “less engagement” in newsfeed for brands.
This may be a big smack if you’ve been using Facebook to reach users with your marketing posts, but ads are here to stay and you can always produce vluable, on-point posts to turn into Facebook Ads.
5. (Moderately) Encourage Feedback
If someone can’t buy from you today, you can still give them a coupon in exchange of a Facebook like, right?
My advice is to do this moderately, though, because Facebook has implemented stricter rules against social media spam in 2014 and will delete your posts or ban you if you openly ask for likes.
However, it never hurts to let your followers know you don’t mind a gesture of appreciation.
6. Find Your Topics And Use Buzzsumo
Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday from February 20, 2015, was all about getting the most out of your Facebook traffic.
Guess what? His advice is that you pick your topics for Facebook marketing accurately and use Buzzsumo, and he tells you why:
(…) Learn what does work for your topics on Facebook. There’s a great tool for this. It’s called BuzzSumo. You can plug in keywords and see the pieces of content that over the past six months or a year have performed the best across social networks, and you can actually filter directly by Facebook to see what’s done best on Facebook in my niche, with my topics, around my subjects. That’s a great way to get at what might work in the future, what doesn’t work, what will resonate, and what won’t.
Facebook users tend to engage in more relaxed discussions than other social media, or discussions around a hot topic from the news. To create a more focused marketing campaign, check the news in your niche before you use Buzzsumo.
However, be careful with the news sources you share or base your content upon: Since 2017 Facebook is also actively fighting the fake news phenomenon with the help of the Related Articles feature, so you want to ensure your content is fact-checked and doesn’t run the risk to get reported as false information.
7. Have A Personal Profile Or It Won’t Work Well
Unless you leverage your presence in groups and fan or business pages — the only way to interact with non-Friends on Facebook — you should not neglect your personal Facebook profile, because it’s your door to find people to engage with and market to.
Quoting from the above mentioned Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday session:
So individual accounts, like your Facebook account, my Facebook account, not my public page, but my personal Facebook account, your personal Facebook account, those have a little bit more opportunity to get reach versus brands, which for a while were more dominating than they are. Now it’s pretty small.
Every time you post on your business page, share that post on your personal profile – that way, you will increase reach and feedback, because your personal profile posts are shown more often in the Newsfeed compared to business pages.
Also, tag your friends, so you will immediately generate a response.
8. Join (Or Create) Groups in Your Niche
Use the Facebook search field to find interesting groups in your niche, but not just groups for professionals or bloggers like you – join groups that your target audience joins, too!
Also, when you create your own group, use the search field to run preliminary keyword research – see what kind of titles and keywords get the most likes, shares and memberships – then create your title on the basis of this research.
Promotion and engagement groups for bloggers are another great option to generate traffic and build your network, too, and that is generally for free.
Group community building and marketing can effectively replace the power Pages once had now that Facebook no longer promotes page posts in newsfeed organically. It’s not all bad news, you know, because in June 2017 Facebook announced new tools for group admins to manage and grow their communities:
- Group Insights (like for Pages) to monitor your group traffic and engagement trends
- Group to group linking (group recommendations) to promote a partner’s group or your other groups
- Scheduled Posts to make administration easier and produce higher quality content for your community
- Membership management tools such as filtering and removed member cleanup, to remove all posts by a previously removed member
In the new Facebook marketing ecosystem, Groups might wind up being more powerful than pages to grow your audience and conversions organically, while you can rely on Pages for advertising (Post Boosting and regular advertising) and local marketing (Events).
Like Pages, Groups are also affected by the new EU Data Protection law (GDPR) that came into effect on May 25, 2018. The EU Court of Justice ruled that Facebook and page owner share responsibility over the protection of Page and Group member data, especially since Pages and Groups collect non-anonymous data in Insight, albeit that’s shown in aggregate to you.
To avoid legal issues, ensure that your followers and group members know about the Insights and how you will use data collected from your Pages and Groups.
9. Don’t Spam or Facebook Will Act on It!
No matter the fact that Page content has become less visible on the Newsfeed, some content will still show up organically, so don’t let Facebook catch you posting spam in the Newsfeed, deceptive links, false information and excessive resharing or ‘encouragement’ for likes and reshares, or they will act against it.
As Rand Fishkin rightly says in the Whiteboard, “Facebook is really hard to game anymore.” I could add that Facebook seems to be ‘playing Google’ here, but the bare truth is that the big social runs more quality checks now than it used to in the past.
Be careful and put your fans first – you want to keep your account in healthy condition for them.
10. Create Events
Every time you have something new in your business that you want your friends and followers to take part in, create an event – you can create one in your group or from your profile.
Look at the numbers, of course: group events will get the most reach if your group (or a group you’re in) has members in the hundreds or thousands; if the group has only a handful of members but your profile counts for hundreds of friends, use your profile to create an event.
Remember to share the event on your business page and promote it on your blog, too!
Bonus: More Facebook Rules For Even Better Marketing
The Facebook landscape has changed a bit for marketers and bloggers since this post first came out in 2015. Here I collected four additional marketing ideas to spice up your Facebook marketing efforts and get your audience even more involved in your content.
Bonus #1 – Add Live Video Events
If you run a Facebook page, then you can use Facebook Live anytime at no charge. Just go to Publishing Tools -> Video Library -> +Live (button) and start live streaming (and recording) right away.
Check out ProBlogger’s founder Darren Rowse’s live event recording here as an example.
If you’ve never created a video before, or you are camera shy, check out my post on how to get started with video marketing.
Bonus #2 – Post On Themed Days As Facebook Suggests
Facebook will suggest that you participate in a theme on certain days (e.g. International Peace Day, Labor Day, etc.) and it will give you a prompt, making it easy to come up with seasonal content to offer your fans and friends.
You might use Facebook’s prompt or come up with your own theme for the day, as long as it meets the needs of your audience.
This is the prompt given for the 2016 International Day of Peace:
Bonus #3 – Start a Hashtag Meme
Memes are everywhere. There’s not a single social media platform today whose users don’t post memes of some kind, either as image-based thought-provoking quotes, or as contests, or – even better – as hashtags that anybody can use and share.
Join currently active hashtag memes in your niche or industry, or create your own (e.g. #DeliciousBloggingFriday could be an idea if you run a recipe or cooking blog) and get your community involved. If you run a Facebook group, or actively participate in one that allows hashtag memes, make sure you spread the word about your custom meme.
As a blogger, #MondayBlogs is a good place to start.
Bonus #4 – Use Data from Facebook Insights
If you go to https://www.facebook.com/PAGENAME/insights/ (with PAGENAME as the name of your page, e.g. SelinaHydron in https://www.facebook.com/SelinaHydron), you will be able to access all traffic and engagement data for your posts and extract statistics that can help you improve your shared content and campaigns.
I described social data analytics more in detail in this post. Here is an example screenshot of my /SelinaHydron posts’ Insights:
In February 2018, Facebook Insights for Android and iOS underwent a big update to help Page owners and businesses better understand their results, so if you use your phone to manage your Pages, this is good news for easier analysis of your marketing data.