Let’s take a look at some ideas to help you build a solid Facebook strategy to make the most of your Page.
1. Define your audience
To engage your audience effectively, you’ve got to understand who you’re talking to first. Get to know who your target audience is by asking yourself the following questions:
- How old are your target followers?
- Where do they live?
- What kind of jobs do they have?
- What are their challenges?
- How and when do they use Facebook?
Of course, it’s also important to understand the general demographics of Facebook users. Then, once you’ve got a sense of who actually is using the platform and how that connects to your target customer, you can take a look at Facebook Audience Insights.
Facebook’s free, built-in Audience Insights tool will help you drill down into the nitty-gritty details about potential customers. You can use it to find information on things like:
- Relationship status
- Facebook usage
- Past purchasing activity
After all, if you don’t have an idea of who you’re trying to reach, you’re unlikely to ever reach them.
2. Set goals
What does success look like for your brand? Sure, it can be tempting to look at Likes as the ultimate measure of achievement, but if they’re not part of a broader marketing plan, those likes aren’t much of anything. Sometimes they’re even called a vanity metric.
A strong goal that’s tied to your business objectives is essential for creating an effective Facebook marketing strategy. Every business will have different goals, but each should focus on actions that impact their bottom line.
This may include:
- Generating leads
- Increasing conversions on your website
- Improving customer service
Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve, we recommend mapping out specific, measurable ways to get there. We recommend using a recognized goal-setting framework like SMART goals or the OKR goal framework. Check out our post on social media goal-setting for more details and some inspiring examples.
Every post, every comment, every ad you create on Facebook should ultimately be in service of your goals. To keep yourself on track, it’s a good idea to create a Facebook mission statement for your brand, as well as a Facebook style guide that can inform a consistent look, feel and voice for all of your content.
(Sorry to give you so much homework, but successful marketing takes a little sweat sometimes. Work it!)
3. Plan your content mix
You’ve got your target audience. You know your goals. Now it’s time to craft those posts.
Determining the right mix of content takes trial and error, but a good rule of thumb is to use the “80-20 Rule”: that means using 80% of your posts to inform, educate and entertain, and the other 20% to promote your brand.
That’s right: not every post should be about how great your company is. That gets old fast, like a friend’s new boyfriend talking about Bitcoin through your entire birthday dinner.
Instead, aim to provide value and build relationships with your followers. Give them content that they’ll enjoy regularly, and they’ll be more open-minded to hearing about your products and services when you do bring them up 20% of the time.
Another option to help guide your content mix is the social media rule of thirds. Under this school of thought, one-third of your content should share ideas and stories, one-third of your content should involve personal interactions with your followers and the rest of your content can promote your business.
Whatever specific numerical mix you wind up with, the goal is to balance promotional material with value.
Hot tip: Facebook punishes brands that push sales too hard. The algorithm is not a fan of self-promotion, as it turns out. The platform wants to prioritize meaningful, engaging content… not just coupons.
Once you’ve decided what to post, deciding when to post it is your next step.
You can glean some insight on engagement from Page Insights, but our research shows that the best time to post on Facebook is at 6:15 AM and 12:15 PM PST on weekdays.
Whatever your schedule, keep in mind that it’s important to post consistently.
Create a content calendar to help balance your mix of content types, and keep your frequency organized. This free content calendar template is one way to stay organized; the Hootsuite Planner is another great resource.
For more strategic planning ideas, check out our post on how to create a social media marketing plan.
4. Optimize your Page for engagement
Whatever your Facebook marketing goal may be, it’ll be tough to achieve it if no one knows your Facebook Page exists.
That’s why it’s important to a) get people to your Page in the first place and b) compel them to interact once they get there.
This video shares some great ways to fully optimize your Facebook Business Page for success:
Expert tip: give a little extra love to your Facebook Page cover image. This is the first thing people will see when they visit your Page, so it better look good!
One easy way to help people find your Facebook Business Page is through cross-promotion. Help people who are already interacting with you on other platforms find you on Facebook by linking to your Page in your email signature and newsletter, and incorporating Facebook Like and share buttons on your website or blog.
To get those views, Likes and Follows rolling in is a little less scientific: you’ve got to create highly shareable content. Posts that are valuable and entertaining will (hopefully!) inspire followers to share with their friends.
To build engagement, it’s important to remember that you get out of Facebook what you put into it. You need to be engaged, too, if you expect your followers to be.
Responsiveness is a highly valued attribute of brands, so get chatty. Reply to every message and comment, answer questions, and keep content up-to-date. (In fact, you should be scheduling a regular audit of your Facebook Page to check for and remove any outdated content. Your About section should always be accurate, up-to-date, and on-brand.)
5. Consider using other Facebook tools
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with running a Facebook Business Page, there are plenty of additional ways that brands can find opportunities for engagement beyond posts and comments.
Facebook Business Manager
To take your Facebook Page to the next level, it’s helpful to set up Facebook Business Manager, too. Facebook calls it “a one-stop-shop to manage business tools, business assets and employee access to these assets.” How can you resist?!
In simpler terms, Business Manager is a tool that allows you to manage your organic and paid Facebook posts. It also allows you to work effectively with team members and outside contractors and agencies.
We’ll walk you step by step through the set-up process in our guide to using Facebook Business Manager.
Groups are another great “extra credit” tool you can use to drive engagement. In a way, Groups are like the online equivalent of your favorite coffee shop or community center. They are digital spaces for people to share information and ideas… and hopefully, a passion for your brand. With more than 1.4 billion people using Facebook Groups every month, it’s an audience too large to ignore.
You can also use Facebook Groups to showcase your expertise and provide added value to your fans, with bonus content or special deals that are just for “members.” This is a great way to build trust and ongoing loyalty.
We’ve got instructions for how to set up your own Facebook Group right here if you’re ready to add this tool to your Facebook Business Page toolkit.
But if people are passionate about your brand, you may not even need to create a special space for them to gather: sometimes fans will create their own Facebook Group with a focus on your brand. If you do discover such Groups out there in the world, it’s a good idea to join so you can keep an eye on the conversation, and make sure any misconceptions or negativity are nipped in the bud.
In general, though, fan-made Facebook Groups are an amazing sign that you’re doing something right. Lucky you!
Facebook chatbot (a.k.a. Facebook Messenger bot)
Facebook users exchange 20 billion messages with businesses every month. Twenty billion! If you’re not available for conversation with your customers through this platform, you may be missing out on an opportunity to connect.
It’s not just about simply having Facebook Messenger set up, however. It’s about being supremely responsive to customer messages. Facebook’s research shows users expect a business to respond almost immediately. One surveyed Facebook user said he would only wait 10 minutes for a response before moving on to another brand.
The solution to these expectations? Chatbots: automated response tools that are always on to help an interested customer, like this one from Booking.com.
6. Incorporate Facebook ads and the Facebook pixel
So you crafted the perfect post: the wording is just right, the imagery is outstanding and the question is super engaging. Here’s hoping your followers actually see it.
That’s right: not everything you post on your Facebook Page will reach your followers on their news feeds. You might be surprised by the percentage of followers your organic posts will likely reach:
- For Pages with fewer than 10,000 followers: 8.18% organic reach
- For Pages with more than 10,000 followers: 2.59% organic reach
For better or for worse, the Facebook algorithm prioritizes posts from users’ friends and family. This means that businesses and brands sometimes just can’t stand out from the crowd.
Sometimes, your great content just needs a little boost. Fortunately, you can extend your reach without breaking the bank using Facebook Ads.
Like traditional advertising, a Facebook ad is content you pay to share with a specific, targeted audience. The goal is to get your brand in front of the right eyeballs, whether your goal is to build brand awareness, engagement or traffic.
A Facebook pixel is a simple piece of code that you place on your website to:
- track conversions from Facebook
- remarket to people who have already visited your website
- build targeted custom audiences for future ads
As soon as you place it on your website, the pixel will start collecting data. That way, whenever you are ready to advertise, you’ll have powerful information at your fingertips for retargeting campaigns.
How to measure the success of your strategy with Facebook analytics
Successful Facebook marketing requires maintenance: this is not a set-it-and-forget-it situation.
Tracking and measuring are essential, so you can understand what worked and what didn’t. That way, you can learn, and tweak, and try again so your strategy is constantly improving.
You can track audience engagement directly through Facebook Insights, which measures metrics such as…
- reach (how many people saw your posts)
- engagement (how many people liked, clicked, shared, or commented on your content)
- which of your posts result in people unliking your Page
Additionally, Facebook Insights will help you determine which types of posts work best for your Page, so you’ll know if your current content mix is working.
Outside of Facebook — actions like purchases or other website conversions — need to be tracked with external tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite Impact, UTM parameters, and Hootsuite Insights.
All that being said… don’t be overwhelmed! We’ve created a detailed guide that walks you through the process of tracking the return on investment of your Facebook marketing.
Tracking your progress isn’t just about counting your wins and celebrating successes. It’s about clocking what’s not working, too, so that you can make adjustments when necessary. Data will show you what you should keep doing, and which tactics you need to tweak. And through a continuous loop of goal-setting, measuring results and tweaking your strategy, you can improve your performance over time.
We know, we know: there’s a lot to learn when it comes to Facebook marketing. But the good news is you can get started without investing a dime.
So get in there, get your hands dirty and learn as you go. More complex strategies and campaigns will be there whenever you’re ready to take things to the next level… and our dozens and dozens of resources and guides will be here waiting to help you, every step of the way.