With 900 million users as of May, 2012, Facebook is the largest social network, and its value as a marketing platform is obvious. But best practices for sharing content on Facebook might be less obvious to anyone who is new to managing a business page.
Facebook itself offers an endless stream of helpful articles, videos, webinars and other resources at Facebook Marketing.
When Paperkite Creative helps clients set up a new Facebook page, we always encourage them to follow a few basic guidelines for creating an engaging presence and getting the most out of the time they spend marketing via Facebook.
1. Be social. I know, this seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re marketing with social media, you really do need to be social. This isn’t the place to just cross-blast the same marketing messages you’re sending out via e-mail, direct mail, your ad in the local newspaper and the billboard over the highway. If your audience of fans just sees the same message broadcast everywhere, they will ignore you on Facebook. Instead, use this unique platform to build relationships, respond to posts about your organization, host contests, post videos – invite your audience to post videos.
2. Think like a publisher. Sometimes clients who are new to Facebook marketing think they don’t have enough fresh content to support a Facebook page. They can see how it could help promote events, but what if they have only one event per month – or only one event per year? This is where we tell them to take a step back and start thinking like a publisher. Imagine Facebook as a channel of information for your fans, and in addition to promoting your business, post other information that is relevant and useful for your audience. Just make sure that everything you post is on-brand, and you can become more than just another blip in your fans’ newsfeeds. You can become a valuable resource.
3. Use lots of images. Facebook’s timeline format, which has been rolling out this year, gives you the opportunity to create a more visually engaging page. Be sure that you are making the most out of your cover photo, which stretches across the top of your page, your profile photo (the smaller image set in the lower left of the cover photo) and the images within your posts.
4. Let your personality show. Well, not your personality, but your brand’s personality. Be sure that your voice is consistent and on-brand. Not sure what that means or what it looks like in action? Take a look at how some global brands present themselves on Facebook. Compare the style used by Xbox with the voice on Heifer International’s page.
5. Measure, measure, measure. Successful Facebook marketing isn’t about just amassing a high number of fans. In fact, a small number of highly engaged fans will do much more for your business than a large number of fans who haven’t paid any attention to your page and can’t even remember clicking the Like button on it. The Facebook Insights data give you great information on how your page is being used so you can see things like which times and days are best for posting, what kinds of posts are most popular and a demographic breakdown of your fans.
Thinking strategically about your Facebook marketing efforts will save you time, ultimately, by letting you focus on only your most effective activities on the site.
If you’re brand new to Facebook, tell us in the comments what questions or challenges you’ve found. For those of you who are seasoned Facebook page managers, what tips would you offer someone just starting out?