Facebook was founded in 2004 by then Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg. Within one month, over half of Harvard’s undergraduate population had a profile uploaded to the site. Since then, Facebook has become an international social media phenomenon with over 2 billion users around the world.
With this many users, the social network is a valuable opportunity for businesses and advertisers to reach the users that matter to them, establish themselves and grow their digital presence.
Some research has suggested that, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a business without talking to a single human. It is therefore vital that businesses looking to digitally market their products or services on Facebook are aware of its nuances.
How can it serve your business?
Facebook can help at different stages of your business’ development, whether you are looking to generate traction for a new brand or reach customers that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Due to the breadth and variety of data uploaded to the platform by users, it also allows businesses to target and reach very specific user groups based on geography, demographics and interests.
Facebook can help drive traffic to your business’ own website, and help you engage with users and users engage with you.
You can create a company page, share posts, live stream or advertise specific deals all in one place. Both Facebook and Instagram users can be reached through Facebook’s advertising platform, allowing for a more integrated digital marketing strategy.
What specific advertising and marketing options does Facebook provide?
There are various advertising types available via Facebook. For a full list and more comprehensive descriptions, have a look at the useful resource links at the bottom of the page.
Link click ads – Link click ads allow your business to create an ad that links back to your website. They usually consist of an image, headline, text, a description of the link the user is going to, and a call to action button. These ads can appear in the mobile and desktop news feeds and the right-hand column of the desktop Facebook experience.
Boost Post – Boost post allows your business to promote a post you have created on your business’ Facebook page. This allows your business to target a particular set of users and increase the visibility of your post beyond your Facebook page’s natural, organic reach. You may see the boost post button appear once you publish a post. By clicking this, you will be able to set the targeting, scheduling and budget for the particular post.
Carousel ads – Carousel ads allow you to upload multiple images and videos to be featured within a single ad. Each of these exist as a single panel, that users can swipe and click between. This format is a great way of giving your ads a more dynamic feel and helps bring your business to life.
Dynamic product ads – Dynamic product ads allow you to automatically promote products to those who have already engaged with your business or visited your website. This is a form of dynamic remarketing. By uploading your product catalogue, Facebook can then show relevant products according to information collected about their previous engagement. For example, if they were looking for hotels in London in March for under £100 a night, this information can by dynamically inserted into ad copy to make a hyper-relevant ad.
Whatever option or combination of Facebook advertising tactics you employ, taking action should be done with the following sentiments firmly in mind:
- Plan a structured campaign of advertising, rather than ‘flash in the pan’ single posts or short periods of activity.
- Prior to launching an advertisement, decide on the metrics you will use to define success e.g. cost per conversion.
- Be prepared to adapt campaigns to improve them, and have confidence to stop campaigns that are not working for your business.
- Take time to engage with consumers e.g. responding to comments, whether they are good or bad.
- Avoid mass market campaigns; instead, target people with specific interests or who have liked similar pages to your own
- Treat digital marketing budgets like your own money – don’t throw money away on ad-hoc posts. Invest in a thorough digital marketing strategy to underpin your activity.
- Focus first on converting ‘non-fans’ into ‘fans’ and then ‘fans’ into sales. Developing brand awareness is a crucial first step - think of long-term sustainability!