Monday, August 22, 2016

Getting the Most Out of the Facebook Juggernaut

If your business hasn’t already jumped on the social media marketing train, then you probably aren’t aware of the 1.5 billion active Facebook users world-wide daily!

Maybe you have tipped your toe into the Facebook sea, but you aren’t sure if you are getting anywhere or if you are just wasting your time?
So here is the quick reference Why, When and How of what has emerged as one of the most significant marketing developments of our time…
Welcome to Facebook 101!
Small business owners are always trying to strike the right balance between the time they spend marketing their products and services and the time they spend actually running their business.
Because of this ongoing struggle, many are hesitant to jump into social media, having heard that maintaining a social presence on multiple networks can be time consuming.
As with all things, social media management is what you make of it, and having the right knowledge and tools at your disposal can make all the difference when it comes to the amount of time social media marketing occupies. 
One of the first steps toward making social media less intimidating is to know when, and how often you actually need to post to engage your audience. For the purpose of this article, we look at Facebook and Twitter, since we find they’re the most popular with people starting out.
So, how can you maximize your engagement on social media with a minimal investment of time? Let’s dig in!
The ‘Why’ of Facebook
You only have to walk down any shopping centre or street in Australia to realise why Facebook is such an important marketing tool for businesses today.

Take a look around the cafés or park benches – what are people doing? They are on their phones. What are they doing on their phones? Yes - they are messaging, reading emails, searching the internet, but they are also on Facebook.

The stats don’t lie! There are currently 1.5 billion active Facebook users in the world daily, with 90 percent of these accessing the platform via their mobile phones.

It is no longer a social channel, but in recent times has become more of an advertising and awareness channel. By advertising on Facebook, businesses are able to reach their exact target market.

I must be in that target market because Facebook is the first place I now search anything from products, to café’s, to accommodation. Why – because it is usually the most up-to-date and relevant source of information available. I can find the information quickly and see what others have had to say about it within seconds.

While Facebook is a brilliant, easy tool for advertising, there are some things businesses should be aware of before they start using it.

The 3 Main Facebook Misconceptions

1. Likes + Followers Does Not = Customers!
This may be a bit hard to wrap your head around, but fans don’t always equal customers. People liking other Facebook posts and pages does not necessarily mean that they are clients or customers, or that they are going to actually buy the products they ‘like’. Consumer behaviour isn’t that simple unfortunately.

2. Followers Do Not = Automatic Post Connection
The second misconception is that everyone cares about what you have to say. A business can put content on Facebook, however that does not mean that other active users want to see or hear it. They may just keep scrolling!

3. Facebook Does Not = Free High Reach Advertising
Lastly, the third misconception people often have about Facebook is that it is free. This is incorrect, as you must pay to boost each post in order to improve your reach. This is not a large cost when you compare it to other forms of advertising, but it is something you have to weigh up in your marketing budget.

Adloyalty’s Content Creation Tips

Once a business has decided to use Facebook as one of their advertising platforms, they should consider that the content put out for followers to read is credible, worthy and relevant.

1. Keep it Short, Sweet & Visual
Readers will continue to scroll if they come across a post that is too long, with too many big words and is hard to understand. Posts should be short and sweet! Fewer, better posts are the key, including engaging and inspiring content. Always remember – people love pictures! Visual content is always more successful, as Facebook is a visual language. Our brains can identify images in 13 milliseconds. Photographs, videos, emoticons and imagery are perfect! Video content is sky-rocketing. By 2018, 2/3 of mobile use will be to watch video content. More and more of us are investing in it. Should you be?

2. Be True to Your Brand, Your Customers & Your Individual Tone
You should create content that is true to your brand, as well as interesting and relevant to your customer base. Know your audience, stay familiar, and always ask yourself – what is the purpose of this post? You should also share the content when and where the targeted audience is online so get to know your audience and their social media activity. Developing and staying true to your tone of voice is the secret ingredient in your social media sauce. Tone of voice is Your Culture, Your Story, Your Empathy multiplied together.  It should set you apart from your competition. It is why people want to do business with you. Once you have identified this – keep it consistent. This is how you effectively tell your stories.

3. Keep it Relevant & Stay Relevant
Sharing content that is relevant to individuals and provides triggers for consumer behaviour is key. Triggers are things that are at the top of the mind and tip of the tongue. As a brand, product or business – you want to instantly come to your customer’s minds. You don’t need to create all of your content – we are all becoming curators of information. As humans it is in our makeup to share ideas. This is how we have evolved. And it will be how businesses evolve. So, invest the time to review trending topics to capitalise on what is popular and topical and participate in conversations.

4. Build Sharable, Collective Content That Provides Practical Value
Build your content around things that are sharable and collective. Participation is key to increasing the reach of each post. Ask questions or for some type of response from your audience. Beyond being found, your content needs to be engaging enough for people to want to Like It, Comment on it, and better still Share it. It needs to offer value. Practical value means sharing things to help others. People enjoy helping other people, so will be likely to share things that will benefit others, such as recipes, competitions, or good advice for example. Always use #hashtags to get content recognised and found.

5. Create Engaging Stories and Conversations
Stories are another aspect of writing a Facebook post that should be considered. People share and engage with content that has a beginning, middle and end. They like things that are neatly wrapped up and hit home with a relevant message. Don’t ever forget that Social Media is SOCIAL. Don’t keep banging on about your product – particularly if it isn’t funny, doesn’t involve a cranky cat or in seriousness – doesn’t offer the recipient value. Social Media users want to talk WITH you at least as much as they want to listen to you. And they expect attention, interaction and answers! Campaigns are Out. Conversations are In.

6. Emotionally Connect, Create Relationships & Build Communities
If a Facebook post can make people feel something, they are much more likely to act upon that feeling. Creating a positive emotional reaction is tried and tested as the content winner. The next most responsive emotions are anger and anxiety. People always want to be part of a community. This how we feel safe, and this applies even more when we are customers. Use Facebook Groups as a closed conversation platform where you and your clients can Share ideas. More conversations, less promotion. We need to Monitor, Listen, Understand and Act. The quicker you get back to them, the better. And if someone takes the time to Comment, Acknowledge it with a Like.

7. Evaluate Your Efforts Regularly
Sometimes there seems to the naked eye no rhyme or reason to the success of a Facebook post. Deciphering the insights can be difficult, but trying to get to know what your audience wants is an important part of any marketing strategy. Do some research on Facebook Metrics or ask a professional like Adloyalty Creative to give you a quick rundown and some advice to make sure you are making the most out of your social media efforts. There are a number of useful tools that those in the know will be able to steer you towards to measure and analyse your social media output and what it means for your business.