February 4, 2004 – Zuckerberg launches Facebook. By 2010 the platform has almost 500 million users. May 18, 2012 – the day of Facebook’s legendary $5 billion initial public offering. Looking at these numbers, why are we still asking if Facebook is a viable marketing tool for business? Shouldn’t the answer be obvious? (For more fun Facebook facts, check out A Brief History of Facebook by The Guardian.)
Well, it’s not. Although Facebook has huge numbers of users, a lot of businesses remain unconvinced that the platform offers them a positive ROI. Mainly because those businesses have not see a direct profit from Facebook.
But before you toss out the idea of using Facebook as a marketing tool, take another look. Facebook certainly can be a viable marketing tool for businesses, if it’s used for the right reasons and in the right way. The real question is: Is Facebook a viable marketing tool for your business?
Viable Marketing Tool
Firstly, let’s figure out what “viable marketing tool” means when applied to your business. Ask yourself if Facebook makes sense for your business. You’ll have to dig a little deeper into the social media giant to properly answer the question.
Who’s On Facebook?
As a business, your initial step is to find out if your target audience uses Facebook. This requires, of course, that you a) know who your target audience is, and b) take the time to find out if your audience is present.
What about your competitors? Are they on Facebook? If so, check out their business pages.
- Target Audience
How Do People Use Facebook?
If your audience or competitors use Facebook, you’ll want to find out what they use it for.
A quick scan through several pages should give you a better understanding of the audience on Facebook and their intended use of Facebook.
Be sure to check out the following elements:
You’ll want to see what type of content (the items above) your audience is most interested in on Facebook. Pay attention to what your target audience interacts with. That means, what items do they “like” or “share”? What photos or comments garner the most interaction from other users? This is how you can tell if a piece of content is popular.
Type of Marketing Tool
Can your business use Facebook successfully?
To answer this question, let’s talk about Facebook and what type of marketing tool it is.
Facebook is Social
As a social media platform, Facebook is made for social interaction and media consumption. In other words, Facebook is best used as a way to connect with your audience through rich media like photos, videos, and comments.
Facebook is Visual
Like many social media platforms, but certainly not all, Facebook works best with visually appealing content.
Viable Marketing Tool… for YOUR Business?
Quick Review: 1) Facebook has a huge amount (…billions…) of people using it every day; 2) Your target audience and competitors may be on Facebook (find out); 3) Facebook is social; 4) Facebook is visual.
Next, how can your business use Facebook as a viable marketing tool (if at all)?
Facebook is Free
You can create a Facebook business account for no cost and use it for free, too. Here is a very helpful guide from Facebook that includes written instructions and a video: How to Set Up a Facebook Business Page.
Facebook Offers Advertising
Businesses have the option of paying for ads on Facebook, which gets your brand in front of a targeted audience. Huge benefits of advertising on Facebook:
- Hyper-specific Targeting
- Low Cost
There are a few challenges with marketing on Facebook as a business – namely, do you have the time to make Facebook a viable marketing tool or not? And if you have time, do you also have content (meaning, do you have photos or videos to post to Facebook)?
As mentioned, Facebook is a social platform; it’s made for social interactions. That means it’s made for people to interact with other people. The challenge with this is time. Do you have time for Facebook? More importantly, are you able to commit time to interacting with your audience on Facebook, on a regular basis?
This is a serious challenge for many businesses. If you don’t have time to check your business page daily, then Facebook may not be a great option for you.
The reason for this is, again, the social component.
As a social tool, Facebook is all about relationships and communication. In fact, many consumers use social media platforms like Facebook for Customer Service. This isn’t always intentional by brands or businesses, but instead is a result of the level of comfort and frequency of use many people have regarding social media.
Another major hurdle to using Facebook as a marketing tool is the need for content. Your business must have great photos and videos to share with your followers, or there is no point.
The challenge with content is having enough of it to share on a regular basis. And it can’t be just “any” content; the content needs to be interesting to your audience. Remember, also, that your Facebook audience is very visual, so the appearance of your content can make or break your page.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great solutions to the challenges with Facebook. Your business can use Facebook to market to your audience, and it can be easy with a little help.
The first tool you’ll need to look into is automation. Your business can find several tools online to help you schedule posts, like Hootsuite or SocialBee.
When you use one of these tools, you can stop worrying about your next post – the tool will take care of it for you!
Of course, you still have to create and schedule posts, but you no longer have to remember to post three times a day.
Another way to make Facebook a successful tool for your business is to find creators to help you produce content. Work with artists, writers, or YouTube celebrities to develop and source unique content for your audience. A steady stream of engaging, attractive photos and videos are essential to making Facebook work for your business.
An easy way to use Facebook to market your business is to work with a digital agency. Your marketing agency team will help you determine the best way to use Facebook for your business and to reach the people who matter. A digital agency can use the free features on Facebook or manage a Facebook advertising campaign for your business.
At Artonic, we use Facebook to market our clients (and our business, too!) as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Interested? Watch the quick video below to meet Angela, Artonic’s Marketing Manager, and find out what it’s like to work on an integrated campaign with our team.
Give Artonic a call or e-mail us if you’re interested in website design, development, or marketing.