I recently had my “Faceversary” as Facebook called it. I’ve been on that social platform for 12 years. Little did I know when I first signed up that, within a year after joining, I’d take the deep dive to become a focused social media marketing professional.

At the time I joined, Facebook had only been around for three years; now it’s seen its 15th anniversary come and go. Today, the social network has more than 2.4 billion monthly users across the planet, and there’s over 60 billion active business pages. Polls show that 42% of marketers identify Facebook as important or crucial to their businesses. 

As much as the platform has changed for individual users over the years, it’s relatively minor in comparison to the massive evolution Facebook has continuously rolled out for its business users.  In the early days, Facebook was mostly about making person-to-person connections and offering businesses the chance to organically engage with customers. Today, it’s a behemoth of a data-driven advertising platform. The rules are totally different and ever-altering, and business strategies have to constantly pivot to keep up.

Here’s what matters for businesses like yours on Facebook.

It’s important to advertise. That’s right. This ‘social’ media platform is really about paid placements for businesses. If you’re posting to your business page thinking that your followers are seeing your content organically, you’re sorely mistaken. Estimates are that only 1% to 3% of your audience members see what you post. To get in front of potential purchasers on Facebook, an advertising program is quite essential. And because Facebook owns Instagram, the importance and potential reach of ads is exponentially increased. 

Need tools to help you start and optimize your ads? Your Facebook business page should be in Facebook’s Business Manager portal through which you can create and manage ads in the Ad Manager function. Look at third-party solutions such as WordStream and AdEspresso for creating and optimizing campaigns. 

Because Facebook ad strategies and requirements are ceaselessly changing, it’s wise to enlist professional help for best success. There are countless freelancers who specialize in Facebook ads, or you can reach out to an agenciy such as mine—Msg2Mkt.com—for expert guidance.

Consider Facebook an extension of your customer service communications. With the growing popularity of Facebook Messenger, you can use the platform not only to field customer questions and chat, but you can proactively employ direct messages to inform and market/sell to your targeted audiences. The idea here is to reach people where they are and make it very simple for them to get in touch with you. Considering the massive volume of Facebook users, it’s safe to presume customers are on there 24/7 and may want to be in touch with you.

You can use services to create Messenger bots and automate your use of the platform, much like you would for email marketing. Consider solutions such as Mobile Monkey, Chatfuel, or Botkit (the list could go on…trust me!) to set up the automated tools you need to make this work proactively and seamlessly for your business.

Use Facebook to know, research, and understand your markets. Facebook for business is about so much more than just pummeling out information and inspiration from your company to your customers. It’s also about reciprocal interactions and what we call “social listening”. Use Facebook intelligently. Watch your competitors and see what’s working…or not…for them. Pay attention to what content gets comments, likes, and shares. Encourage your staff members to do the same when they’re on the platform so that they can bring their observations into the mix when you’re strategizing for your business. Importantly, get in the game with Facebook Groups. Groups are excellent forums for engaging with target audience, even if just to observe and learn. 

Consider launching a Group for your business. Perhaps the group you start isn’t specifically a customer group per se, but it could be a targeted interest group (think topical and geographical, i.e. “interior design fans in Boise”) that would bring together people in your area who are seeking ideas and resources for their design projects. Of course, if you “birth” a group, you need to be ready to raise it to maturity and nurture it for the long-term. Many businesses find the effort well worth it just for the market research value alone!

Get smart with Facebook tracking and analytics. The saying goes “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” and this is true for using Facebook for business. It’s essential to pay attention, track activity and engagement, and analyze the stats in order to post, advertise, and engage intelligently to reach your goals. The native analytics in Facebook business pages are very useful and the obvious place to start for tracking your page’s and posts’ performance. Next, you should be watching your Google Analytics to see how your Facebook activity is impacting your website traffic. Between these two fundamental tools, you’ll be well-equipped to Facebook smarter—not harder. 

Other tools that can support your tracking and analytics run the gamut. You can use free options such as those found in Likealyzer, to very deep solutions for which you pay a monthly subscription services such as Sprout Social or Social Report. As you make decisions about what tools to invest in, remember that the only useful data is the data you actually check and understand. More data isn’t always better if you won’t have the time or bandwidth to make sense of it and take meaningful action.

If all this talk of Facebook makes you want to face-plant, reach out to me. You can do this and make it work for your business! I’m happy to chat and share ideas that will help you utilize Facebook to connect with customers and support your marketing and sales goals! Message me via irenewilliams.biz anytime!