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7-Step Facebook Marketing Strategy to Dominate 2017

Let’s be honest here–Facebook isn’t slowing down. There are more than 1.86 billion monthly active users on Facebook, which includes a 17% year over year spike since 2016. For your business, brand or enterprise company, this channel is unavoidable if you’re truly trying to create a worthwhile play in social media marketing.

Your Facebook marketing strategy has to be unique. There’s an ocean of potential customers you can reach on Facebook. But with a larger pool, it’s harder to dissect and find your spot within its space.

That’s why we created this Facebook marketing strategy for 2017, which includes seven essential steps to not only get started, but also create an impressive plan. Get started now.

Looking to get more out of your Facebook marketing? Try our social media management and analytics tools with a free 30-day trial!

1. Create Facebook Goals That Directly Affect Your Biggest Needs

Every marketing strategy you’ve read–at least the good ones–probably suggested to create goals for your specific market. The reason everyone mentions this is because goals are essential to address your biggest marketing needs.

If you’re considering using Facebook for marketing or looking to improve upon an existing strategy, you obviously have some needs. Don’t create unrealistic goals that chase vanity metrics like followers and Likes. Instead, address your biggest challenges with Facebook or social media in general.

Addressing Your 2017 Goals

Your CEO most likely sent out an inspiring email or gave an enthralling speech at the end of 2016 outlining the core goals for 2017. OK–maybe it wasn’t life changing, but we bet if you looked back, it has everything you need for your Facebook marketing strategy in 2017.

Here are some common yearly goals for businesses and how an effective Facebook strategy can help you in 2017:

  • Increasing quality of sales: Improving the quality of sales starts with better targeting (we’ll address this more further down). Through a well-planned Facebook marketing strategy, you reach your target audience more efficiently. Just because the pond is bigger, doesn’t mean you’ll get bigger fish. Work on what you know best and use Facebook as a source to improve your reach.
  • Adding more value to the organization: Facebook can better nurture customers, improve awareness and provide more resources to you audience. Make Facebook your go-to source of information.
  • Better pulse on the industry: Are your competitors always one step ahead? With the help of social media monitoring tools, you can track, listen and report on all social conversations revolving around you, your competitors or the industry. Always try to increase your listening powers before speaking.
  • More efficient recruiting: No one said social recruiting is easy, but it’s only growing in popularity. Social can be a great source for increasing recruiting efforts and reaching top talent faster (we’ll also talk about this more later). Working your employees’ social networks for a higher social reach makes your chances of recruiting higher quality employees better.
  • Smarter growth: Reducing churn, limiting spend and increasing acquisition are all parts of a successful business, but Facebook can help you in each of these areas. Whether it’s through ad spend, increased targeting or more social selling, addressing your Facebook marketing strategy can help you get closer to these goals.

These goals won’t address everyone’s needs, but you can see a trend on how better social media marketing can affect the entire organization. You’ve heard it a thousand times, work smarter not harder.

Facebook CTA GIF

2. Study Your Facebook Demographics

Demographics are key to any marketing strategy and on social media, it’s no different. When looking at Facebook, you have nearly 1.15 billion people scrolling through their feeds every day, so it’s important to know who you need to reach and how.

Additionally, understanding the latest demographics is important as this network’s audience fluctuates through the years. But for 2017, let’s take a look at last year’s core demographics:

facebook demographics image

Age & Gender

Data from the Pew Social Media Update 2016 report showed women tend to adopt Facebook more frequently than men and the core age group is 18-29. However, with 62% of 65 and older users on Facebook, your band has a much better reach across age groups than any other network.

Pro Tip: don’t limit yourself because you think younger generations are only on Snapchat and Instagram. Facebook is still most used network among 18-29 year olds.

Location & Income

Facebook’s demographics spread across all primary locations and income pretty evenly. However, urban and rural areas both have 81% of their demographics on Facebook, while suburban areas make up 77%.

As for income, 2016 data shows the highest amount of Facebook users (84%) make less than $30,000, while 77% make more than $75,000.

Pro Tip: Again, Facebook’s versatility shouldn’t prevent you from exploring targeting your most core business demographic. More likely than not, you have better reaching power here than other social networks.

3. Choose & Schedule Your Facebook Content

Each social network has it’s own style of content, but Facebook tends to jump the line. With Facebook Stories, Live, image and videos posts, your brand’s content strategy has endless opportunities.

For your business, it’s about the quality of content and what your audience should come to expect from your Facebook Business Page. Remember that being overly promotional can have its downside. According to the Sprout Social Q3 2016 Index, 57.5% of social media users said posting too many promotions was the most annoying action from brands.

sprout social q3 2016 index annoying actions

You Facebook Page shouldn’t be like a used car lot–full of ready-to-pound salesmen. The content you produce should be compelling, entertaining or helpful to your audience. People know they can get an elevator pitch on your website or ad. But this doesn’t mean your social networks, especially Facebook, have to be a home for promotions.

Highlight your brand values, identify your audiences and create a space that is unique to your company.

Types of Facebook Content & How to Implement

So you know the importance of your content, but which type will work best for your brand? Let’s take a look at the various types of organic Facebook content and how you can best use each one:

  • Status: The simplest form of communication can sometimes be the most powerful. With new features like larger text for shorter messages and the option to put your text on a colored background, you can get your essential message out in a more vibrant and eye-catching way.
  • Images: Posts with images drive 2.3 times more engagement, so being visual helps. But don’t rely on images to do all the work–put effort into high-quality photos and awe your audience. If your product is considered “boring,” use beautiful images to highlight your brand’s creative side. Inspire users with virtual reality features or 360-degree content.

  • Videos: Video is in high demand and 43% of users would like to see even more from marketers. However, only 15% of Facebook videos are watched with sound. Video should be accessible, easy to digest and always have captions. Create videos that catch a user’s attention and provides something worthwhile.
  • Links: Links are perfect for sharing industry news and your own blog content. Find your most engaged content and continue to share it on Facebook. It’s not easy doing so organically, but it shouldn’t stop you from posting your best content.
  • Facebook Live: Live content drives three times more engagement on Facebook. With in-the-moment content growing in popularity, see how your brand can give sneak peeks into industry or office events, product launches and other behind the scenes content. Go Live, wow your audience and engage.
  • Facebook Stories: New to 2017, Facebook Stories are in-the-moment content clips. This was based off Instagram Stories, which ultimately were from Snapchat Stories–seeing a trend here? Brands have tested their efforts on Snapchat for a few years now. But with the newest release, you can attempt this style of content with one of your biggest networks. Follow our Snapchat guide for ideas!

Schedule Facebook Content to Your Social Media Calendar

The last thing you want to do is hastily post something to Facebook for the sake of publishing content. Planning content means you put more effort into the quality of a post. This gives you a higher chance at engaging and inspiring your audience.

However, you don’t always have time to create content. That’s why using a social media publishing tool like Sprout Social can help you stay on track with content. Easily view, monitor and maintain your Facebook publishing with the social media calendar view.

instagram scheduling publishing calendar view

With our scheduling tools, you can set up posts across all networks and build your Facebook content for weeks in advance. Don’t rush to schedule. Save time and plan ahead with a tool that makes it easy to manage and publish all at once.

Check out our guide on how to create a social media calendar here!

4. Determine Your Facebook Ads Strategy

Maybe you read the previous section and thought–nice idea, but it seems like a lot of work for little payoff. Well, you’re not totally out of bounds with that idea. According to a SocialFlow study, Facebook organic reach dropped a massive 52% in 2016 and is expected to fall even more in 2017.

However, you should always put more effort into your social media strategy than what you expect to get in return. Growing your audience and brand loyalty doesn’t happen overnight. You have to earn it.

But there is one shortcut to get there a bit faster–social media advertising. Specifically on Facebook, there are more than 4 million advertisers with just an average click-through rate of 0.9%. Advertising on Facebook is simpler, but not easier. You still have to effectively build your brand and showcase it perfectly with ads.

Aim for Higher Brand Awareness

You Facebook ad campaigns should always be focused on two things:

  1. Cost Effective
  2. Relevant

For starters, you want to stay within your allocated weekly or monthly spend with Facebook to avoid over exposure and useless clicks. Ad spend can shoot up in a hurry when you’re targeting isn’t effective or set appropriately, which brings us to the next step.

Your Facebook ad has to be relevant. Targeting a broad audience isn’t a bad thing. At first, you want to actually see what works best to build awareness. However, relevance is crucial toward great Facebook ads.

facebook-ad-audience

Try to build custom audiences and address customers who would best fit your Facebook content. If it’s a retargeting measure, make sure the content provides something recognizable but also something new.

Decide on Creative Content

We’ll mention it again, but quality over quantity will always prevail. Earlier in this post, we did a deep dive into the types of content on Facebook. Now it’s time to choose which pieces of content you think are worth advertising in front of a much larger audience.

Some of the best aspects of your ad content should include:

  • Identity: Does it relate to your brand and effectively showcase your product/service? Are your logo and business colors correctly displayed?
  • Reward: What do viewers get out of it? Is it a deal, promotion, offer code, whitepaper or industry guide?
  • Tone: Does your content maintain the same tone across your entire Facebook page or business in general?
  • Action: Your content must drive an action, which goes back to your Facebook goals. A clear and precise call to action is best.

Keep Facebook Ad Content Fresh

Facebook ad content is literally squeezed between your friends and family feed, which means it’s seen often. Have you ever deemed a TV commercial the worst ever and seen it replayed endlessly through your favorite show? This is the same thing.

Don’t let your content get stale with viewers, so make sure to update and repurpose your ad content every week or two. The whole purpose is to drive users to a specific site or purchasing page. So don’t let old content ruin your Facebook retargeting or remarketing efforts.

Create a spreadsheet and document your core metrics. Each metric will provide you with unique insights into what you specifically want to achieve with your ad:

  • Click-through Rate: If traffic is essential, track CTR and see where you can improve.
  • Impressions: Having trouble with visibility? Revisit your image or content and see what can drive more impressions.
  • Cost to Acquire: If your purpose is to limit spend and budget more effectively, track cost to acquire and set weekly or monthly goals.

5. Engage & Don’t Wait for Your Audience to Interact First

Like most social media channels, they’re built as networks to converse, discuss and share content. As a brand, you can’t forget that basic idea of what makes a social media network. That means conversation and engagement should never be put on the back burner.

Instead, try to be a community for your audience. Facebook is a great place to hold industry chats or discussions, whether it’s with a different audience or your own customers. While Twitter often gets all the limelight of being a social customer care mecca, don’t forget about Facebook too.

You can help drive Facebook engagement by asking people to simply engage in the first place. However, you can’t sit back and wait for your followers to interact. You can’t reach everyone, but there are ways to increase engagement.

For example, Zippo does a great job at interacting with users on several comments and continues the discussion on Facebook. The brand also acts as a source for info for loyal customers.

zippo helpful facebook comment

Post at the Best Time on Facebook

Facebook is still one of the most difficult social networks to use for organic content. Again, algorithms make it a challenge for businesses trying to find optimal posting times. However, our guide on the best times to post on social media outlines the do’s and don’ts of posting on Facebook:

best times to post on facebook
  • Thursday is the highest recommended day to post
  • 1 p.m. on Thursday is the most active time
  • You’re safe to post roughly any day between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Strongest posting days are through Wednesday to Sunday
  • The least recommended times include early mornings and late nights

6. Enable Your Entire Workforce to Use Facebook

Like we mentioned earlier, social media works as a great resource for employee advocacy. By providing employees with shareable content, you’re able to reach their audiences. This makes your company’s reach all the greater when you can get content shared through your employees’ feeds.

However, the biggest issue is finding the right content to share. Most employees fall into two categories:

  1. They’re afraid to share company content on networks like Facebook.
  2. They’re too willing to share company information on networks like Facebook.

A marketing data report from Bambu showed 54% of people don’t know how to share the right content and be an advocate on social media. When the same report shows 70% of employees use social at work, you have to build an advocacy platform to enable their reach.

Giving Employees a Chance to Share

It all starts with an employee advocacy program that allows your staff to use their biggest networks like Facebook to share company info. Luckily with tools like Bambu, you can easily track, measure and promote content from within your walls.

bambu user report example

Use Facebook as a tool to show off company perks, highlight awards or even promote new job openings. Giving them easy-to-use tools makes sharing a sinch. Utilize your employees have and have your employees help promote your business on Facebook.

7. Track & Analyze Your Facebook Marketing Strategy

Last but not least, a successful Facebook marketing strategy needs to be analyzed–strenuously. We’ve already mentioned some ways to carefully analyze your best times to post, Facebook advertising metrics and the types of content to publish.

facebook activity overview on sprout

If you plan to improve your strategy for 2017 and into 2018, it takes helpful insights from Facebook analytics tools. Every social media marketer knows about these tools, but sometimes the budget isn’t cut out for premium products.

We understand that at Sprout Social and want to provide small mom and pops to enterprise agencies with the tools they need. Our beautifully-designed reports give access into multiple Facebook Pages, activity overviews and content reports to see what works best.

To be truly successful, you need insights on what works. That’s why social media tools are a must for any marketer trying to get ahead of the game in 2017. Always make room for changes and think of ways you can improve today.

We’d love to know what you do to be successful on Facebook. Feel free to comment below!

This post 7-Step Facebook Marketing Strategy to Dominate 2017 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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The Latest Evolution of Facebook: The Marketing Low-Down on 5 Recent Changes

Latest Facebook Updates 2018

Latest Facebook Updates 2018

From the Russian ad debacle to the Cambridge Analytica scandal to suffering a major stock price blow just a few short weeks ago, Facebook has been making less-than-stellar headlines the past few months. Users are concerned about their privacy and how their data is being used—and brands and marketers are wondering whether the platform will continue to be a viable advertising and engagement platform.

In an attempt to rebuild trust, ensure better data protection and transparency, the social network is doubling down, again, on their commitment to improving the user experience and creating a fun, respectful community.

As all marketers will remember, the quest to improve user experience started way back in 2015, with the announcement it would be making refinements to its News Feed to strike a better balance between friends, public figures, publishers, businesses, and community organizations. That continued in the summer 2016 with more updates favoring friends and family content—and was still on the move when the first scandal broke later that year.

Of course, these changes didn’t do marketers and brands any favors in the organic reach department. Organic reach had already been declining, and these moves have nearly eliminated its potential. And now, more changes have arrived, presenting new challenges as well as some opportunities.

Below we share the low-down on five of such recent or rolling out changes, what they mean for social media marketers, and some potential next steps to take.

1. A New News Feed

Once again, the News Feed is getting a facelift—a big one. While Mark Zuckerberg announced back in January 2018 that changes would be rolling out throughout the year, a “major update” was announced in April, which Director of Product Management, Mark Hull, details in the video below:

Essentially, meaningful person-to-person interaction is what will carry the News Feed ranking weight, and person-to-page interactions will continue to be second tier. Oh, and Facebook expects people to spend less time on the platform.

This sounds pretty scary for marketers. Most have adapted their strategies to zero-in on fostering engaging discussion, as well as throwing spend behind Facebook’s ad platform (which is also changing and we’ll get to that later).

But before you eliminate Facebook from your marketing mix, there are a few opportunities to consider:

Working with influencers: With Facebook continuing to elevate content from individuals, there may be no better time to start building relationships with industry influencers and thought leaders that you can collaborate with on content.

Read: Death of Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Facebook Groups: As my colleague, Nick Nelson, reported not too long ago, while groups have long been available as a feature on Facebook, the brand-driven “Facebook Groups for Pages” were just rolled out last year. And some brands are seeing traction with them, but this isn’t something you leap into without being thoughtful.

Read: The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

Facebook Stories: Very recently, Facebook insiders asserted that Facebook Stories may very well be the future of connection on Facebook. Once again, as Nick Nelson pointed out: “Facebook Stories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount.” And early adopters may secure an advantage.

Read: The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game

2. Stricter Ad Targeting

As of late, most of Facebook’s critiques are a result of their advertising products and practices. By increasing the targeting capabilities of their advertising products, Facebook arguably put users’ privacy at risk. To help correct that perception and protect user privacy, Facebook is making several changes to their advertising platform.

One such update was released in early July, requiring advertisers to state where they acquired people’s information for their custom audiences. Instead of simply uploading a list of emails you want to target as a custom audience, Facebook wants advertisers to take extra steps to ensure those emails came from a reputable source and that the audience has consented to those ads. With this change, Facebook hopes to improve transparency with users about why they see ads from certain brands and how they received their information.

New Facebook Ad Disclaimer

(Credit: Facebook)

In addition, Facebook has also disabled their Partner Categories product, which provided targeting capabilities from third-party data providers to advertisers. This limits advertiser insight into user behavior outside of Facebook (e.g. purchasing activity), making ads appear more natural to users and less “big brother.”

From our perspective, this is good news. Consumers are increasingly wary of marketing and advertising messages and this move can help strengthen the credibility and relevance of your ads and brand. Of course, this is all assuming you can and do confirm your custom audience lists and sources fall within the new guides.

So, if you haven’t already, take the steps to review your custom audience lists and their sources. You need to be able to state if you received the information directly from your audience, a partner, or a combination. If you used a data provider like an advertising or marketing agency, double check that they’ve acquired the data honestly and they agree to Facebook’s Terms of Use.

3. New Data History Tools

Now more than ever, people want control over their data. They want to know what information is stored, who has access to it, and they want to be able to delete it.

Recognizing this need, Facebook announced a new feature called Clear History that will be released “soon.”With this new feature, Facebook is giving users the ability to see the websites and apps that store information with Facebook, and delete that information from their account.

However, Facebook will still retain aggregated analytics, but no personally identifying information will be contained.

“We’ll still provide apps and websites with aggregated analytics – for example, we can build reports when we’re sent this information so we can tell developers if their apps are more popular with men or women in a certain age group,” Facebook says. “We can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with your account, and as always, we don’t tell advertisers who you are.

What exactly does this mean for marketers? If you use Facebook plugins on your website (think Facebook Pixel or “Like” buttons on websites), your audience can now see and delete the information that the plugin collects; meaning it won’t be connected to their profile any longer.

Obviously, if users take advantage of this when it rolls out, clearing their history could be problematic for marketers, and maybe even users. For marketers, it will be incredibly difficult to target these folks with ads. For users, that could mean an uptick in irrelevant ads for a time.

However, the eventual upside for advertisers could be the “re-learning” that needs to happen after a history cleanse, which can lead to a more relevant and accurate look of who your audience is.

4. Poor Customer Feedback = Ban

A poor customer experience really sours your impression of a brand. An to ensure that ads on Facebook lead to positive shopping experiences, and not negative ones, Facebook will now ban brands that have low customer satisfaction ratings from advertising on their platform.

For example, if users give you too many frowning faces shown in the rating system below, Facebook will reject your ads.

Facebook Negative Review Example

(Credit: Facebook)

Before you become too concerned, however, Facebook says it will: “Share feedback directly with businesses that receive high volumes of negative feedback and will give them a chance to improve before taking further action. If feedback does not improve over time, we will reduce the amount of ads that particular business can run.”

So, even if you receive negative ratings, you will have an opportunity to make improvements to prevent being banned.

The opportunity here is obvious. The better customer experience you provide, the more successful your marketing efforts will be. For Facebook ads, this is rooted in focusing on clarity and honesty within your ads.

At a minimum, Facebook suggests taking steps to ensure your ads aren’t misleading. In addition, use images or videos to make it very clear what you are selling and what you are selling it for. It’s also a good idea to set clear expectations for how users will receive your product or service. By setting clear guidelines, you’re more likely to meet customer expectations, leading to more positive user ratings. For more insight, read Facebook’s tips on how to improve customer feedback.

5. All of Your Ads, Exposed

Knowing the organization behind an ad is important. Otherwise, users might not trust the content of the ad. So, to increase ad and page transparency, Facebook now allows users to see all of the ads any page is running within their partner network.

This includes ads on Instagram, Messenger, and the rest of the Facebook partner network. In addition, even if pages aren’t advertising, Facebook will provide more information about a page including name history and the date the page was created. Together, these changes aim to give users more information about an organization so they can decide if an ad is credible or not.

Facebook Ad Transparency

(Credit: Facebook)

For marketers, this change isn’t a bad thing — it may even mean more eyeballs on your advertising content. However, marketers should still be thoughtful about how their ads will be perceived by individuals outside of their target audience.

For example, even if an ad isn’t specifically designed for or served to them, users can still review (and report) your ads. As a result, you need to take extra steps to make sure your ads are consistent, clear, and friendly for all.

The Life Force of Facebook

Long before the scandals and latest privacy concerns, Facebook has been rooted in evolution. Just think what the platform started as and has become. So, while the recent and coming changes seem pretty fierce, I think it’s safe to say we were already on that trajectory. And there’s probably more to come.

Since the major changes that impacted advertisers and brands began rolling out in 2015, Facebook has maintained their actions are all in the interest of creating a better user experience. And at the end of the day, that’s what the goal of any marketer is in their quest to nurture their audience and aid them on their customer journey.

So, it’s OK if you’re a panicked, disheartened, or simply irritated. But, at this point, the platform still holds marketing opportunity, marketers just need to adapt their social media marketing strategies, try new features and avenues, and work hard to ensure they’re part of providing that great user experience.

Looking for more social media marketing news, tips, and insights? Check out all of our recent social media-related blog posts.

The post The Latest Evolution of Facebook: The Marketing Low-Down on 5 Recent Changes appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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