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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
- Cost Effective
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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- They’re afraid to share company content on networks like Facebook.
- 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.
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.
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.