Facebook is one of the most useful tools in marketing. But is your company making the best use of it?
By Jane Hosking
Many companies have a Facebook presence, but according to social media consultant and trainer Khaled ElAhmad, few are making the most of the platform. “Companies often have no strategy and no help from a professional person,” he said. “They just think, okay, if my son can do it then we can do it.” But ElAhmad, who runs in-house social media training for corporate clients, emphasized the need for all companies, both big and small, to have a fully developed Facebook strategy. “There’s a whole science behind it,” he said.
Now, more than ever, it’s important for companies to understand how to use the world’s largest social network to effectively advertise and engage with people. Since last year, Facebook’s new algorithm has made it more difficult for companies to reach their fans. According to ElAhmad, previously it was more likely that posts from a company’s brand page would appear in their fans’ news feeds, resulting in a 16 percent organic reach. But after the change, less posts appear due to the algorithm, reducing the exposure to only 1 to 2 percent. “Facebook is now premium for companies,” said ElAhmad, who further explained that to get the reach previously achieved organically, you now have to pay to boost your posts. But aside from paying, there are many strategies that can be used to reach your fans and promote your business on Facebook.
Before we establish how you can maximize Facebook to benefit your company, let’s first look at why you should be focusing on Facebook in the first place. In comparison to traditional media such as ads on TV, radio, and billboards, Facebook can target a very specific audience. Through Facebook ads your company can now choose who will see your ad according to such markers as age, gender, location, and interests. And while previously you would have had no way to gage if your ad was successful, now through Facebook Insights you can see who and how many people have clicked through to your ads. This allows you to see which ads are working and which aren’t, so you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
But it’s your company’s brand page that has the potential to be a true money spinner on Facebook. By using this platform to reach out to the masses and to build an online community with whom you engage and interact, you will be able to enhance your brand, listen to what customers want, and keep them up to date about your product or services. Doing this effectively will increase online and offline traffic.
Tips and tricks for maximizing the potential of Facebook
With the help of ElAhmad’s expertise, we’ve developed seven key tips and tricks that you need to know if you want to make your company’s Facebook presence effective.
1. Defining your strategy
Before you dive into Facebook, it’s important to be clear on what it is you want to achieve. Focusing on raising brand awareness is a good place to start to let people know who you are and what you do. But ElAhmad advised not to expect a big boost in sales immediately after setting up your page. “People will not come and buy from you if they don’t know you,” he said.
2. Forget tradition
Many companies establish a presence online but fail to adapt their marketing style to the social media platform, such as sticking with the traditional language of a press release. A catchy style is essential for Facebook posts and ads to engage your fans and potential customers.
3. Building a community
Your Facebook approach should focus on building an online community. This means much more than having a large number of fans and ‘likes.’ It involves engaging, interacting, responding, and establishing a relationship with your fans. It’s also useful to tag other brands or celebrities in a post, as this will significantly expand the exposure of your content.
4. Your conversation calendar
To achieve maximum reach and to avoid spamming your fans it’s important to have a regular conversation calendar that outlines what to post and when, according to Facebook’s peak hours.
5. Going organic or paying for premium
Unfortunately, paying to boost your posts is now more necessary due to the algorithm change. But starting from around $20 to $50 a month, these ads are quite affordable and are a worthy investment. Meanwhile, organic posts remain free, and if you can make your content really engaging then these posts can still be effective.
6. Enhancing your content
“If you only post about your brand it will be boring for your fans,” said ElAhmad, explaining that they would rather read about something interesting, valuable, and relevant to them. Posts should also consist of discounts, contests, and related articles. Images too are known to generate 39 percent higher engagement, while posts that ask a question can generate 100 percent higher engagement.
7. Go offline
It’s important not to forget about the real world. “It doesn’t really get the message across unless you put a face behind the brand,” said ElAhmad. He advised inviting your most active Facebook fans, who have a strong virtual influence, to real-life events where they can check out your products or services in a fun and interesting way.