A Modern Guide to Social Media Content Marketing, Part 4: Facebook

Opinion: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the service and tools offered by Facebook

This is the fourth installment in a five-part series of articles focusing on best practices to up your content marketing game on the “big four” of social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Catch up on the first, second and third  installments, and stay tuned for the final Instagram installment. Share your own favorite tips in the comments—we’d love to hear from you.

Facebook is the Goliath of social media networks. It has the broadest reach of any social network—79 percent of Americans use it, and more than 1 billion users globally log in every day.

Here it’s crucial to cut through the clutter. That’s something you can achieve with consistent messaging and branding, by leveraging Facebook’s unique features, and with effective ad targeting.

Images and video are more important on Facebook than status updates, with more than 100 million hours of video watched every day.

Some products and services lend themselves to visual marketing more than others, but there is always an angle. Even if you aren’t selling something tangible, show someone using or explaining it.

Many brands are also starting to incorporate Facebook Live to reach larger audiences in real-time with live question-and-answer sessions, webinars or product demos.

The features beyond likes that can work for you

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the service and tools offered by Facebook, but these are a few unique features that can help marketers make their brand stand out:

  • Social customer service: Nothing looks worse on a brand’s Facebook page than a series of unaddressed complaints from users. Failing to address questions and complaints frustrates customers and leaves a detailed record of how poorly you performed. Facebook’s Bots for Messenger is a social customer-service tool that helps to answer questions quickly, freeing up staff resources and making customers happy. Marketers can program chat bots to answer common customer questions, essentially creating an automated customer-service page.
  • Dark posts: Although they sound ominous, “dark” just means that these posts don’t appear on your Timeline and only get inserted into the News Feeds of users you picked based on the demographics you’re interested in. This provides the opportunity to create highly targeted messaging to each of your segments without spamming followers with a multitude of posts. For example, even in a general segment of “qualified sales leaders,” you can split that segment into subsegments by gender, age or geography, and create ads designed for each group. You can then test multiple versions of ad copy and imagery to determine which version performs best with whom.

Ad objectives

There are many metrics that Facebook offers to show you that a post or ad campaign is “working.” Reach, click-throughs, impressions, comments and likes are all metrics used to evaluate social media success. However, rather than just chasing likes, it’s important to ensure that your ad objectives are aligned with what your actual business goals are.

As far as targeting goes, Facebook’s pixel and custom audiences allow you to gain rich insights about how people use your website, measure results better and build audiences for targeting. After installing the pixel on your site, Facebook will start building a pool of people who have visited your site. These audiences are created separately from your ads, so you can choose when and who to advertise to.

Facebook also allows you to input a user list or pull data from people who interact with your page and find others who are just like them—this is called a lookalike audience. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of ad targeting, but you should make sure to compare the results from lookalike campaigns with other types of targeting.

Note: be wary of interest targeting, which is essentially the social version of a cold call. Likes and clicks can be made by a user for any reason—it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are interested in those particular pages or ads.

Ad formats

Facebook offers a variety of creative ad options you can select. Here’s a rundown of which option to select based on your campaign goals and the audience you’re trying to reach:

  • Carousel ads: This ad offers up to five clickable cards per ad, providing the opportunity to play with imagery, copy links and calls to action. The best part is that you can select the option to automatically put the best-performing images first.
  • Single image: Single-image ads are simple, straightforward and get results. They are also a fast way to draw attention and require little production.
  • Single video: 47 percent of a Facebook video’s value is delivered in the first three seconds, so you have to make an impression fast to hold a viewer’s attention. Also, 85 percent of videos are watched without sound, so focus on telling your story through compelling visuals.
  • Slideshow: This ad option allows you to use stock images, sound and text, and it is a great way to produce a video without equipment or editing experience. Slideshows also require less cellular data to play, which makes them a good choice if you’re targeting users in areas with slower wireless connections.
  • Canvas: These mobile-optimized ads are immersive and interactive, and they expand to the entire mobile screen when clicked on. If you have the design resources, here’s your chance to truly make your brand stand out on mobile.

Whoever you are and whatever your brand seeks to sell or do, if it isn’t on Facebook, it might as well not exist. When it comes to social, Facebook is king. How will you use it to your advantage?

Next up: Instagram.

Ulrik Bo Larsen is founder and CEO of social media management software-as-a-service platform Falcon.io.