Most inbound marketing strategies include Facebook. Every company from Fortune 500 to SME recognizes the role of Facebook marketing to not only place their brand on the consumer map but also to highlight it. From its earlier days of being a social networking site targeted at connecting family and friends, it has evolved into an indispensable online marketing tool for companies to connect with targeted audience.
The Facebook Challenge
Most content marketers think they understand Facebook well enough to use it strategically for social media marketing. They assume that publishing good quality and quantity content will push them up on the target audience’s newsfeed. However, Facebook’s complex and constantly changing algorithm bust that myth for content marketers a long time ago. Content marketers experts realized that posting quality and consistent content forms only part of the marketing strategy. So what is the whole story?
Understanding Facebook Target Audience
With about 1.13 active users on Facebook (June 2016 figures), what most content marketers fail to understand is that Facebook offers a unique opportunity to get inside the head of the consumer – her attitude and preferences, her beliefs and opinions, etc. Why does a user go on Facebook? Mostly because she is looking for something exciting, fun, useful or shareable whether it is about their friends and family, local news and weather or the goings-on around the world. Facebook has the major task of filtering this exciting, fun, useful or shareable into her newsfeed. So if you want to reach your target audience, your content should be exciting, fun, useful or shareable.
Facebook Algorithm: Higher Engagement, Better Ranking
If you understand the Facebook algorithm correctly, the content that gets highest engagement is ranked highly. And engagement comes from liking, commenting and sharing. To get higher engagement you need to talk about topics that interest your audience and also that links to your brand. For example, if you are a coffee brand and 90% of your audience likes the TV show FRIENDS (you learn this from Step 1), then occasionally you can create a status update about FRIENDS related to conversations over coffee, the coffee couch, etc. This sparks interest and engagement among the target audience who now relate your brand to the FRIENDS experience. They like, share and comment on it. The Facebook algorithm recognizes this and ranks you higher in the newsfeed. When you consistently publish content that taps into the interest pool of your target audience, they will engage with you more and Facebook will reward you.
Selective Target Audience
Facebook offers the feature to select the target audience for each post. If you have a broad target audience spread across geography, age and gender, you can select which audience to target for a specific kind of content. That way, you are constantly showing relevant content to relevant consumers thus triggering high engagement every time. For example, if you sell energy bars and have various types of bars for different age groups and gender, you can target different content for working mothers, senior citizens, athletes and children, thus staying relevant to all the categories.
Facebook Rating: 5-star or Less?
Facebook is also one of the largest search engines and review site of products and services. User-generated content adds to the credibility of Facebook as the consumer believes she is not just reading paid reviews but learns the pros and cons of the product or service they are researching. One thing that brands need to understand is that consumers are not looking for a 5-star rating on Facebook. In fact, a 5-star rating is less credible than a 4 or 4.5 simply because even the consumer understands that any product or service can’t be perfect and they are willing to accept the imperfections provided the brand is honest about it. It is what makes brands more human, more relate-able. It is more credible when a company says “Hey, we know we make mistakes. But we are working on it.”
Facebook Live Video
Video streaming, through Facebook Live presents a remarkable opportunity to showcase product or service expertise and broaden the customer base. Apart from creating videos that provide a behind-the-scenes peek into the company, you can hold live Q&A, product demos, how-to videos, and be the first to deliver breaking news in the industry. Live videos increase intimacy with the audience and also reach out directly to influencers, industry experts, etc.
Your inbound marketing strategy must be fluid enough to incorporate the changing algorithms of Facebook. A content marketer must be well-updated about all changes and adapt accordingly. Surprising the target audience, entertaining and engaging them is the best way to be rewarded on a social media site. A content marketer must also pay close attention to user-generated content. And especially with Facebook who can save you or drown you, you really want to make the effort to get your content right.