Facebook currently has 2.7 billion users . Businesses of all sizes worldwide use Facebook’s platform to market their product or service to prospective customers.
Many brands already have a presence on social media to establish credibility. But as a business decision, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms can be powerful tools for promoting products and penetrating new markets. Once a strategy and plan is implemented, your brand can benefit from delivering consistent messaging through content marketing, then employing Facebook advertising to reach targeted audiences.
This article will offer an overview of what Facebook marketing is and how it works, content strategies for your brand, and an introduction to Facebook advertising.
Facebook marketing is the practice of promoting a business and sustaining the brand on the social media platform Facebook. It comprises organic (content) marketing and paid advertising in the form of a boosted post or Facebook advertisement (ad).
Facebook is one of the original forms of social media marketing, and remains an effective tool in promotion and advertising. Today, TikTok and Instagram have surpassed Facebook in number of users, so businesses have more to consider when deciding which platform is most profitable for their brand.
Since 2007, when Facebook launched paid advertising, it has played a key role in how businesses use social media as a marketing tool. With the influx of content in Facebook feeds, organic posts can get lost in the algorithm. Paid ads help businesses target specific demographics to get their message out, especially for news of big launches, updates, and promotions.
In 2021, Facebook’s advertising revenue increased 20 percent year over year to $33.1 billion . While the pandemic and spending extra time on our phones may have influenced this increase, it demonstrates Facebook marketing’s continued importance and profitability. The platform can deliver high-impact advertising for a lower cost than other types of marketing because the aim of boosted posts and ads is to reach the right potential customer.
To build your brand on Facebook, you will need to develop a marketing strategy and plan that delivers high-quality content promoting your brand. This concept is considered “organic”—just like the concept of organic fruits and vegetables, that means nothing was added to the post to make it grow. Any traffic generated is organic because the business didn’t pay for advertising or post boosting. Later on in the article, we will discuss “paid” Facebook advertising strategies.
First, you will need a Facebook business page, which can be easily created using a personal account. Facebook has comprehensive step-by-step guides if you need assistance creating or setting up your page. This video also provides a handy introduction for setting up your social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
A core component of developing a social media brand presence is understanding who your audience is, and what types of content will interest them. Does your audience want to be entertained or educated? Are they swayed by a 2-for-1 discount on pizza? Do they want to invest in high-quality products that will last a long time?
Determining your audience will help create the right content and put it on the right platform (Facebook, Instagram, or both). You can then decide whether you rely on organic content or paid ads, whether you boost posts or create ads, and how much you will spend on advertising.
Example 1: Family-friendly American restaurant in suburban Idaho
This restaurant might have a target audience of 25- to 50-year-olds in Boise and surrounding suburban towns. The restaurant owner runs the social media pages, and they might rely on paid ads for rotation of weekly promotions to Facebook feeds and Messenger, but not on Instagram.
Example 2: Clothing brand selling plain t-shirts in various colors and ships nationally
For a new clothing brand whose marketing appeal is that they source from American factories, the audience might be 18- to 35-year-old females in urban areas. The social media manager may experiment with A/B testing in second-tier cities like Atlanta, Austin, and Denver, before launching in top-tier cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. With a primary focus on organic content, the manager only creates ads for the initial launch, paired with a promotion, and then for subsequent launches of new t-shirt colors, on both Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook marketing is a form of content marketing. Different types of Facebook posts can be used to share your brand’s messages to the world, each serving its own purpose in marketing a particular product or service.
Text post: The simplest of posts, text-only content is rare in Facebook marketing. This is because posts with photos, videos, graphics, or links are more likely to grab users’ attention. Text posts are typically used on personal accounts to source information, ask for recommendations, or share big announcements.
Photo post: Photographs can elicit strong emotions. Using one (or a few) high-quality photos in a Facebook post can showcase the available colors of a summer dress, spotlight a restaurant’s best appetizer or cocktail, or promote a tropical beach destination.
Video post: Video on Facebook racks up more than 4 billion views per day, 65% of which take place on mobile . Eighty-five percent of videos are played without sound (which means subtitles are important!) . Videos in Facebook posts can help a business tell its brand story, or a news publication deliver live updates.
Linked content post: Posts can include a link to your website, a blog, or news article. Linked content can include a call to action (CTA) that may directly lead to sales, brand awareness, or promotions.
Facebook story: Facebook stories are photos or short video conten that appear on the top of a news feed and remain for 24 hours. These tend to be casual updates, sometimes cross-posted from Instagram.
For organic content, brands should use high-quality photos and videos whenever possible, take advantage of special holidays and months, and craft genuine messages that reflect the brand. Then, consider which posts are worthy of being boosted for a target audience.
Preparing media assets like photographs, videos, and graphics requires time, so it is wise to plan ahead. Businesses typically use a content calendar to execute a social media plan in a timely, organized fashion.
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While Facebook is still being used by many, Instagram (owned by Facebook’s parent company Meta) has a slightly different audience that skews younger. The 18-to-29-year-old demographic drives Instagram usage, closely followed by 30- to 49-year-olds. Facebook use, on the other hand, remains relatively steady across adults from 18 to 64 and up .
For brands that target 18-29 year-olds, Instagram may be a more nuanced, visual-forward platform that can easily tag other brands in photos and stories. Brands can even share user-generated content—59% of Instagram users say they visit the platform daily .
Instagram posts and stories can be cross-posted onto Facebook. The caveat is that the “@” tags will not transfer over, so Facebook story viewers will see a tag that they cannot click, while tags to other pages in Instagram captions will not automatically translate into Facebook tags. A brand’s social media strategy often involves tweaking similar content slightly to fit each platform.
After creating an organic brand presence on social media, you can focus on the two types of paid advertising available on Facebook. The first type is a boosted post. This increases your visibility by boosting certain posts, so you can get the most out of your organic content, especially as Facebook changes its algorithm for how it shows posts in the news feed. The second is to create paid advertising campaigns using Facebook Ads Manager.
A boosted post is organic content on your business page’s timeline that you can add money to boost the likelihood of your target audience seeing it. This is a simple way to advertise on Facebook because it boosts a regular post that otherwise would not have received as much traffic. It helps drive potential customers to your page.
When a post is boosted, it shows up in your audience’s Facebook feed as an ad. You also have the option to select Instagram as ad placement for a boosted post. In boosting a post, you can decide:
Your audience: target audience(s) based on demographics and location
Your budget: how much you want to spend for the duration of your campaign
Campaign duration: when you click “boost” and the ad is approved, your target audience will see your ad on their feed for a specified amount of time
Unlike boosted posts, Facebook ads are created in Ads Manager. With this tool, you can create, manage, and track ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or Audience Network. Ads Manager has many options for customizing your ads, which makes this an excellent option for conducting A/B testing to reach your marketing goals.
There are four types of Facebook ads you can choose from:
Image ads: These ads are static images in JPG or PNG format. You are allowed 40 characters for the headline and up to 125 characters for the main message, so you should use this precious ad space for calls to action (CTAs).
Video ads: With video ads, you can tell stories, such as how a product was made or a customer testimonial, in an impactful and engaging way.
Carousel ads: Carousel ads enable viewers to click through several images, usually best for e-commerce brands promoting several complementary products or one product from different angles.
Collection ads: Like static image ads, image collections can showcase several images with a 125-character message.
A benefit to Facebook Ads Manager is that it is intuitive to use, prompting you with options every step of the way. The first thing you’ll do is choose your ad objective from three categories:
Awareness: Brand awareness, reach
Consideration: Traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, lead generation, messages
Conversion: Conversions, catalog sales, store traffic
After choosing your ad objective, you’ll use Ads Manager to name your campaign, set a budget and schedule, determine your target audience, select your ad placement, and finally, publish your post.
Based on posting analysis, the best time to post on Facebook is between 8 AM and 12 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, according to Hootsuite. For Instagram, the best time is 11 AM on Wednesdays . This might vary depending on your business’s industry, location, and audience.
For ad placement, you can select from Messenger, Facebook, Audience, or Instagram. With Ads Manager, you can further customize by selecting options such as Facebook News Feed, Facebook Marketplace, or Instagram Explore.
After publishing your Facebook ad, you can track and monitor it to optimize your ad budget. Some businesses conduct A/B experiments with small sums of money before launching a larger ad campaign.
When evaluating your Facebook ad success, you’ll want to view and analyze data such as ad impressions and frequency, click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per conversion.
To track and monitor your ads, you can use the three following Facebook tools:
Ads Manager: Create a report that shows stats on how your ads are performing, such as carousel ad views and website conversions.
Events Manager: Analyze data on visitors’ actions (“events”) on your website, such as the adding items added to their cart or completing a purchase.
Facebook Business Suite: View data about your Facebook and Instagram account, such as demographics, content engagement, and paid ad performance.
Facebook’s three tools are robust enough to gather all the data you need to gauge your Facebook ad performance. However, you may want to take advantage of other tools that you can use to track analytics, organize your content calendar, and manage your posting schedule. Here are some helpful tools for Facebook marketing:
Google Analytics: An alternative tool for measuring ad conversions and performance.
Qwaya: For businesses that focus on Facebook and Instagram, Qwaya is a tool you can use to help conduct A/B testing and schedule ads.
Hootsuite: This tool is comprehensive for managing your marketing on all social media platforms, including scheduling posts, targeting and bidding algorithms, and more.
Trello: A project management tool that teams can use to manage the Facebook marketing process.
Google Drive: You can use Google’s host of tools to create and manage a content calendar, assign roles, and store assets like photos and videos.
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Facebook. “Grow your business from anywhere with Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/business/marketing/facebook.” Accessed December 1, 2022.
Oberlo. "Facebook Ad Revenue (2015-2022), https://www.oberlo.com/statistics/facebook-ad-revenue#:~:text=Looking%20at%20more%20recent%20data,in%20the%20US%20and%20Canada." Accessed December 1, 2022.
Yans. "Facebook Video Statistics, https://www.yansmedia.com/blog/facebook-video-statistics#:~:text=Facebook%20Users%20Behavior%20Stats&text=There%20are%20more%20than%204,video%20content%20on%20Facebook%20daily." Accessed December 1, 2022.
American Press Institute. "85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound, https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/need-to-know/try-this-at-home/85-percent-facebook-videos-watched-without-sound/." Accessed December 1, 2022.
Pew Research Center. “Social Media Fact Sheet, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/.” Accessed December 1, 2022.
Hootsuite. “The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, https://blog.hootsuite.com/best-time-to-post-on-facebook-twitter-instagram/.” Accessed December 1, 2022.
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