Social Media Mayhem: Facebook 101

Welcome to Conscious Collaborative’s social media guide, where over the course of the next 4 weeks we will explore the most popular platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram, and outline their unique qualities as marketing tools. Our team will be highlighting the newest techniques and information about your favorite social channels to help you build a better social strategy and utilize brand new functions available in each of these platforms.

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This week, we are focusing on the ever-popular social channel, Facebook.  How does this social media star continue to market to over 2 billion current active users? To keep our guide organized, we will first quantify Facebook’s audience, explore advertising opportunities within the platform, and then discover how to effectively engage with Facebook users.

Audience: Facebook has a whopping 2.072 billion monthly active users as of January 1, 2018. To put that into perspective, the current population of the United States of America is 325,639,687. This means that Facebook accommodates a user “population” over six times that of the United States. Still, within this incredibly diverse range of users, it is possible to find your target market by using this platform.

Here are some important demographic statistics about current Facebook users to consider:

      53% female / 47% male

      82% of 18-29 year olds use Facebook

      79% of 30-49 year olds use Facebook

      56% of 65 and up use Facebook

While these statistics speak for themselves, think of all the ways that your organization can reach current and new audiences by utilizing Facebook’s features. While other marketing methods may be limited to one specific demographic, Facebook has such a wide array of users; this makes it easy for organizations to broadcast through just one platform to advertise to all potential customers and spread awareness at a much faster  pace.

Another one of Facebook’s cool features is an in-house analytic tool that can give you information about the Facebook users who are connected to your organization’s page, in your Custom Audience, or simply active on Facebook. This tool is called Audience Insights and it aims to give you the information to “create content that resonates and easily find more people like the ones in your current audience.” Beyond just standard demographic information, you are able to learn about the lifestyles of those who are potential customers for your organization; this includes family size and location, as well as the interests and hobbies of those in the network. For an organization creating a digital marketing strategy, this is a fantastic tool to potentially restructure and adapt to make the most of a new or existing campaign.

Advertising opportunities: So how exactly should you use Facebook? It’s a good question, and for companies unfamiliar with advertising on Facebook, you may be confused by the available options. While this is a very brief description of each of the available advertising opportunities, we urge you to read on to find an option that is best suited for your organization. 

The different Facebook advertising formats:

Photo: A picture that you feel represents your brand and will attract Facebook users with a small text caption  

Video: Facebook features in-stream video ads that will play for users and capture their attention

Carousel: Features 10 images or videos within a single ad that offer customers options for where the organization’s landing page will be

Slideshow: Uses a video that incorporates a series of photos and simplifies the creation process

Collection: Focuses on driving conversion for products by simplifying process to browse and learn more about products

Canvas: Similarly to “Collection,” this format focuses on giving customers more information about the product by using full-screen videos and photos to engage viewers

Lead Ads: a basic and more traditional opportunity for customers to engage with an organization through pop-up forms (i.e newsletter subscription or event registration)

Dynamic ads: Ads that appear for people who have already expressed interest in your organization by viewing your website or interacted with your app

Link Ads: This format connects Facebook users to your organization’s most important link(s)

While our list may seem overwhelming, dipping your toes in the world of Facebook ads is worthwhile. Infact, 95.8% of social media marketers worldwide have said that Facebook provides the best ROI (return on investment) of all social platforms.

If you’re thinking of using photo ads on Facebook, keep in mind that there are strict parameters set for the amount of text that can be included in your ad images. While it may seem tempting to include a call to action on your image, which can capture the attention of consumers and instruct them on what you would like them to do,  your images can only be filled with text up to 20%. This allows your ad to run to more individuals while also being the least expensive option compared to including more. This tip works for all ads that contain pictures, even the thumbnail images for videos.

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Engagement: The final part of this Facebook puzzle is engaging with users. Facebook offers a variety of ways you can do this. For instance, you can create a Facebook Business page where you post content and communicate with users through comments. Another interesting way to connect with users is through Facebook Live, where you can stream live events or announcements to viewers. Livestreaming is a major player in 2018 marketing, which makes this feature especially appealing.

The Facebook Algorithm should be another consideration for organizations aiming to increase user participation. The Facebook Algorithm is far too complex to thoroughly explain, but the main takeaway is that not all posted on Facebook is shown to users. This creates a competition to create content that is appealing to users and will therefore appear on their feed. There are many factors that determine what shows up on a specific news feed including the following: relationship with other users, the type of post, content, and even the device that is being used to view Facebook.

Once those technical issues are properly addressed and streamlined, a business is able to create a Facebook Page to share content with viewers.  This page should be an accurate representation of your brand and share content that your customers would like. It is very important to use a variety of posting styles (images, text, or video) and fluctuate content (linked content, original, and promotional). This increases the chance of a user actually seeing your post, as they might have a specific style commonly shown on their newsfeed.

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Another promising feature within a Facebook page is the opportunity to communicate live with users via Facebook Live. Facebook Live gives an unedited, spontaneous feeling to your organization and can strengthen customer loyalty by giving a sneak peek into the business. During Facebook Live events, it is possible to respond back instantly to questions and feedback offered by viewers, allowing your organization to what followers would like to see or know. One tip when considering the use of Facebook Live: Be sure to give your audience advanced notice about when you will be going live so more users are prepared and can join into your stream. When “going live,” it is important to use your time effectively and be prepared for what you will do. This will ensure that you can “broadcast” for a longer amount of time, which is generally a more effective way to reach a larger audience.

The last feature of Facebook worth mentioning is their Insights feature. Insights goes beyond simply documenting who is viewing your profile and posts; it provides critical information about which content is most successful. You are able to understand how people are engaging with your page and can view different metrics regarding your Page’s performance. This is helpful for organizations not familiar in finding analytics as it can be discovered with relative ease through just a couple of clicks on Facebook.

In next week’s post we will explore Twitter and see how Facebook compares to their features.

If you’re looking for more information regarding brand identity and other marketing topics check out our blog and for even more assistance, check out Conscious Collaborative’s services.