If you ask anybody when their most awkward life stage was, there’s a good chance that they’ll respond with the preteen years. The time from ages nine to twelve-years-old can be awkward and emotionally turbulent for many as we try to establish our place in the world (spoiler alert: this isn’t done through those frosted tips you might have sported during this time). One of the most popular preteens in the world seems to have skipped this phase, however, because after being founded in 2004, Facebook has more than proven itself as one of the smartest 12-year-olds in the game.
Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.
7 Facebook marketing tips
As a business tool, Facebook is continuously dominating the popularity contest as a key component of most content marketing strategies. However, because of it’s longevity, you may find yourself struggling to constantly come up with new content and fresh ideas for your company or brand’s Facebook page.
Although it’s tempting to just write up some content, find a cute image, and post away, approaching Facebook with some strategy will improve your chances of actually engaging in valuable conversations with your audience and customers. The following Facebook marketing tips will help you increase engagement with your Facebook marketing efforts, no poking required.
1. Timing is everything
While of course it depends on your audience, your content, and your overall goal, the timing of your Facebook post is something to seriously consider. Take a look at your audience, and note the personas you aim to reach. For example, if your targeted customer is a busy stay at home mom, the best time to reach her will probably be different from that of a single bachelor.
While a great way to figure out what times work best is through good, old-fashioned trial and error, a solid starting point is through this guide provided by Adweek. As shown, the best days to post to Facebook are Thursday and Friday, with engagement rates dropping 3.5 percent below average from Monday to Wednesday. The same infographic declares 1 PM the best time to post for shares and 3 PM the best time to post for clicks.
However, it must be clarified that these are not the most popular times to post, but rather the timing of the posts which showed increases in engagement. Obviously, it wouldn’t be great advice to tell you to post at a time when every other company is vying for audience eyeballs, so these times are ones that have actual results in mind.
2. Include social media images
You’ve probably heard it time and time again, but the benefits of adding images to your Facebook posts cannot be emphasized enough. As Angie Pascale of Clickz explains, “Photos receive 53 percent more likes on Facebook than the average post and 84 percent more link clicks.” In the same post, Pascale offers the following seven very helpful tips for your Facebook images:
- Share images of real people
- Focus on faces
- Use lifestyle imagery, rather than product imagery
- Be brief
- Encourage short responses
- Create image galleries
- Use nostalgia to your advantage
3. Host Facebook contests
If there’s anything people love, it’s free stuff. I’ve definitely found myself liking and engaging with branded Facebook pages I previously would have ignored or not been aware of, simply for the chance to win something. The thrill of potentially getting something for free is a great incentive, and would most likely have little actual cost for your business when compared with the social media and brand awareness payoff.
As Wishpond explains, “The top reasons people “Like” a brand on Facebook are promotions/discounts (34 percent of respondents) and free giveaways (21 percent of respondents), respectively.” While the idea of ‘increasing engagement’ is all well and good, Wishpond provides seven actual returns on investments that can be seen with the implementation of Facebook contests for their brand as the following:
- Increase fan base (through methods such as like-gating)
- Boost in traffic (The candle brand used as an example saw 30,000 new fans in 6 weeks thanks to a contest)
- Produce user-generated content
- Generate target market opinions (through asking your target market for their opinions through voting contests)
- Increase shares and virality
- Generate conversations
- Grow your email list (through collecting participant emails during a contest)
4. Crowdsource answers
As mentioned above as one of the benefits of hosting a Facebook contest, crowdsourcing customer and audience feedback is a key way of boosting Facebook engagement. Crowdsourcing acts as a kind of social listening, which we know is an important component of any social media strategy. Everybody’s favorite topic of conversation is, of course, themselves, so in turning to your Facebook fans to get their opinions or ideas on something is a surefire way to see increases in engagement.
Pose a simple question to your fans, or use polls to get them to vote on different questions, and you have an easy way of seeing exactly what your audience, and your customer, wants. Post Planner has some great suggestions for garnering crowdsourced content that will help you painlessly get the most of your audience, such as:
- Collect testimonials via questions
- Harvest your post comments
- Ask fans to send photos using your product
- Run a photo contest to collect images
- Run a contest
5. Boost your posts
While some debate this practice, boosting your company’s Facebook post is still an effective way of improving your reach and engagement potential. Once you have identified your target audience, you can hone in even more on those you want to reach through a boosted post. If you require a little bit of clarification regarding what a boosted post actually is, our guide to Facebook boosted posts explains that “a boosted post is a post from your business Page that, for a fee, can appear higher up on your audience’s News Feeds.
The fee depends on how many people you want the post to reach—the payment depends on the number of impressions the post gets with time.” As you probably don’t want to boost every single thing you post on Facebook, our previous piece provides the following guidelines for knowing whether your post should be boosted or not:
- It helps promote a product or service offered by your business
- It encourages visits to your business’s website
- It spreads awareness of a limited-time campaign your business is running
6. Seek audience insights
This tip goes hand in hand with crowdsourcing answers, and for good reason. The activities, posts, comments, and any other type of engagement you encounter on your brand’s Facebook page, offer valuable data for you to consider. You can see what kind of content your audience responds to, what kind of content they ignore, and therefore what content you should concentrate on and put your efforts into.
Furthermore, you’re able to narrow in on exactly who your audience is, and focus on this demographic. Facebook makes this really easy for you through their own “Audience Insights,” where you are able to see exactly what your audience engages with. As Social Media Examiner explains, with this “data-led understanding, you’ll know whether to post more photos, if that contest really worked, and the right kinds of topics to post about.”
7. Provide unique and valuable content
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the number of companies and brands who rely on obviously recycled or stale content shows the degree of missed opportunities on Facebook. By now you’ve hopefully recognized who your audience and customer is, so carefully consider what content they would find most valuable. Will a suburban teenaged girl care about “4 ways to can tomatoes?” Your common sense will always help you with questions such as this, so taking that extra moment to pause and think about your audience will go a long way.
Remember–your brand or product is unique! Whether there are direct competitors or not, there are things that your product or service does that nobody else can claim, so take advantage of these features and highlight them accordingly through your Facebook strategy. Are there things your customer can do that they couldn’t before, thanks to your product? Feature crowdsourced photos of them doing just that, or provide your own interesting images making these points.
Are you an expert in your field? Offer advice and solutions to your customers and audience members through your organization’s Facebook page. The possibilities are endless, so make the time to sit down and truly think about how your brand stands out in the marketplace, and how this can be translated to your Facebook marketing strategy.