Facebook is too big to ignore. Currently, the social media platform has over 1.8 billion monthly users. It’s an incredible marketing tool for both small and big businesses alike because it allows them to instantly and consistently connect with consumers. If you want to write a marketing plan, you need a Facebook strategy.
Over 60 million business pages have been published to date, yet only a small proportion of these businesses have acquired the digital marketing knowledge to leverage Facebook’s gigantic user base.
So, how can you capitalize on Facebook’s ubiquity without a six-figure marketing budget? It will take a good deal of market research and patience on your part, but it is by no means a hopeless endeavor.
Research your customers to get a feel for the market
The key to marketing on Facebook is pinpointing your audience. With such a massive user base, businesses have to be wary of posting content mindlessly in hopes of catching a few dozen likes or shares. It’s important to avoid this trap.
Courting loyal customers and fans is the lifeblood of your business, so it follows that your marketing campaigns must be built around them.
Facebook advertising allows you to pinpoint your reach by defining age ranges, gender and interests so that you can more easily reach them. Your organic content should be sculpted around these attributes as well as you will see a more significant return on investment from content with strong intent and purpose than hollow posts aimed merely at promotion.
Ask questions to define your target audience
Here are a few ways to help define your target audience on Facebook:
- Collect data on your current customers
- Survey potential customers
- Ask questions like:
- What age group do they fall into?
- Are they in a specific geographic location?
- What is their lifestyle?
- What message communicates what they want and need?
- Ask questions like:
- Research what your competitors are doing to capture the market and integrate them into your marketing strategy.
- Use existing research, like findings published by Pew, to evaluate consumer sentiment and adjust your tactics accordingly.
Craft a brand message based on market research
The average American spends only about 40 minutes a day on Facebook. While It is by far the most amount of time devoted to any social media platform, it is really a quite narrow time window to entice them to engage with your business.
For this reason, it is of paramount importance to create a strong brand image. The written content and visual web design on your business page should reflect your business’s personality.
Every post, whether promoted or entirely organic, should echo the brand’s voice. On Facebook, sharing image and video posts is very important, but they should remain relevant to your business’s image.
Outshining your competition means not only sharing and creating high-quality, unique content but ensuring that the content is relevant. In order to be relevant, you’ll need to always keep your target market and your brand’s image in mind.
Set a budget before you begin spending
You won’t reach your marketing goals with quality content alone. In fact, organic reach has sagged to a lackluster 2%, as promoted posts continue to dominate the platform.
Even if your content is of the absolute highest quality and relevancy, you will be consistently outperformed by those willing to shell out massive amounts of cash.
There is no reason to fret, however. You can still succeed without draining all of your funds into Facebook. You will, however, most definitely be required to spend a little, at the very least.
Set a budget during the planning phases of your marketing campaign, and strictly adhere to it. Set goals that are realistic within your budget, and be wary not to stray too far from them. As little as $5 a few times a week can help you achieve your goals, so there is no reason to overspend.
Large companies may have the resources to pump in virtually unlimited funds into paid advertising campaigns on Facebook, but this hardly constitutes as a marketing strategy. Furthermore, it is strictly impossible for smaller businesses to adopt the prodigious spending habits of multinational corporations.
Effective Facebook marketing is essentially about precision. You must precisely define your target market, precisely craft your posts around a carefully-constructed brand and (even more) precisely allocate your budget. Digital marketing takes patience; steadily growing your reach and your audience takes hard work.
This work cannot be circumvented by flooding cash into Facebook’s advertising platform, either. You need to work to hone your digital marketing campaigns and bolster those campaigns with quality content and a bit of cold hard cash, too.
If you do invest the proper time and energy, however, you will be well rewarded. You very well could win at Facebook marketing — and win big.
Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change group. Her works have been featured on Yahoo! , Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel. You may connect with her on Twitter.