A ‘How-To’ Guide to Leverage Facebook for Business

If somebody asked you to outline the different elements of your social media strategy, would you know how to answer? Why are you active on Facebook and Instagram but not Twitter? What audience are you trying to reach with your social media content? Which metrics are you using to measure your success and how are you monitoring these?

Social media is integral to the lives of the modern day digital consumer, making it equally important for brands too. According to Social Media Examiner’s ‘2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report’, 90% of marketers agree that social plays an important role in their business. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that companies are using it in the right way. In the same study, only 41% of marketers agreed that they were able to measure their marketing abilities. Meaning? More than half of survey respondents are unsure of how effective their efforts are.

Many think that a social media strategy consists of setting up a Facebook page and publishing a post every now and again – which is far from the truth. Moreover, it requires a well-devised plan. Yes, the online sphere is saturated with ever-evolving social media sites. We understand that it’s hard not to get caught up in the hype – some brands want to be present on all social sites at once, without really knowing why they should or shouldn’t be.

90% of marketers agree that social plays an important role in their business

This is where a straightforward breakdown of the key social media channels, their features, benefits and how you can make the most of them in your marketing mix would be handy, right? Well, here’s ‘Part 1: The Facebook Edition’.

Putting Facebook Into Perspective

What better platform to begin with than the reigning social media superpower, Facebook. With a total 1.65 billion monthly active users, the platform has hardly gone unnoticed. Not only is its ‘population’ significantly bigger than China – 1 in 7 people across the globe use the site every month. These figures become even more convincing when we hone into MENA specifically, with 82% of internet users in the region owning an account and 89% of those accessing it on a daily basis. Need any more reasons to establish a presence on the platform? Facebook is incredibly effective in driving conversions, website traffic and boosting sales. After all, where else is it possible to communicate with almost 2 billion people?

Define your objectives and create your page

First, you need to ask yourself, what is the purpose of your Facebook page? Is it to drive traffic to your website? To enhance your customer service efforts? To increase brand loyalty? Outline and prioritise the objectives of your profile from the off and ensure that these are anchored by your wider business goals. Now, you can move forwards with crafting your business page.

This process can be completed quickly and easily, with the only prerequisite being that you have a separate Facebook account from which you can be named ‘Admin’ of your business’ page. In the early stages, it’s easy to get blindsided by the size of your fan base. There’s no doubt that growing and keeping an eye on your follower base is key. However, making sure that your followers are the intended audience for your message is absolutely paramount.

Identifying your target audience

In most cases, you want to identify which segment of your target audience is active on Facebook. Unlike many other networks, Facebook is split relatively evenly between both Male and Female with 66% and 76% respectively of all online users active on the site. The findings are similar when examining age groups.

Your objectives have been established, so now you need a solid grasp of who you would like your content to engage with at a micro level. With Facebook’s ability to target a vast range of interests, behaviours, age groups, languages and even create your own custom audience, there really is no reason for you not to be reaching the right people on the platform.

Create a content calendar

Now that you understand your intended audience on Facebook, it’s time to focus on delivering value to them. You should have a good idea of what you would like to communicate, but careful thought must be attributed to how you would like to deliver your message. It’s important for brands to understand how the popularity of visual storytelling, especially in MENA, should inform their online marketing activities. Especially when it comes to social. Whether through images or interactive video snippets, publishing content that resonates and thus engages your followers is fundamental.

As well as knowing ‘who’ and ‘what’, you need to be aware of ‘when’. Timing is everything on social media, which is why it’s best to know the specific days and hours that the majority of your users are online. TNS’ 2015 ‘Arab Social Media Report’ found that MENA Facebook users were primarily active in the evenings, with 51% settling down to scour through their newsfeeds then. Do you have important information that needs to be seen? Or a new promotion that you want your followers to know about? Consider posting vital content later on in the day to maximise its potential reach.

Promote it

If you’ve followed the above basic steps, then your strategy is on the right track. Unfortunately, however, the troublesome tale of Facebook’s declining organic reach is no myth. Now more than ever, if you want your content to be delivered in people’s newsfeeds on the platform, then you must set aside advertising budget to promote your posts. Help raise awareness of your Facebook profile and content even further by referring to it in all online and offline marketing materials. Place an icon on your website and in your email marketing communications that link users through to your page, and ensure that your handle is clearly specified on your business card, POS materials and any print ads that you run too. The web is full of different ideas, free and paid, to help you promote your page – so it’s worth spending some time researching what works best for you.

Enable two-way conversation

A successful social media strategy consists of investing the time to really connect with your audience. How much do they interact with your content? Do you require more engagement from them? Are your posts talking to and encouraging communication with the right people? This can and should be checked regularly through Facebook’s handy ‘Insights’ tool.

A major benefit of the platform that is too often overlooked, lies in the nature of its existence – an online service to connect with family and friends. In fact, 55% of Facebook’s active MENA users cite this as their main activity on the network. Brands must, therefore, consider the need for a healthy balance between promotional and engaging content that is more conversational and familiar in tone. No one wants to feel forced into a sales pitch, especially on ‘social’ media.

One point to note here is Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm updates. The shift to a customisable newsfeed puts even more pressure on the need to produce content that your user base is interacting with. Moving forwards, this is one of the most sure-fire ways to ensure your posts are consistently delivered to them.

Monitor and measure your results

As with all your marketing efforts, you need to monitor how cost-effective your social media strategy is. According to eMarketer, 95.8% of marketers believe Facebook consistently produces the highest ROI compared to any other social platform – a stat that hails true to a number of recent campaigns that we’ve run on behalf of clients.

95.8% of marketers believe Facebook consistently produces the highest ROI compared to any other social platform

While these are strong figures, it’s worth remembering that your social media marketing strategy isn’t written in stone and the results will differ depending on many factors. It takes patience and commitment before you’ll start to see big results. Monitoring your activity is key to moving forwards – test and refine your strategy to achieve your desired objectives and sustainable growth. But remember – what worked 6 months ago, may not work now. Consumer behaviour online changes rapidly and the real trick is to not only keep up, but to keep ahead!

Facebook is incredibly powerful and its business-focused benefits shouldn’t be ignored. Learn how to leverage the platform in a way that positively affects your bottom line and it will become an invaluable tool in your digital marketing arsenal.

Mark Warman - Founder & Digital Consultant Administrator

With a background in design, technology and user experience, I help businesses adapt. Adapt to the changing needs and expectations of their digital audiences.