How to Overcome Your Facebook Marketing Challenges
By Tannette Johnson-Elie
The behemoth of social media with 1.9 billion monthly users, Facebook is a marketing must-have. If used effectively, it can be a cost-effective way for B2B marketers to reach potential customers. But what if Facebook isn’t working for you?
What to do about Facebook? It’s a dilemma faced by many marketers these days, causing them to question the ROI on the time, money and resources exhausted to reach Facebook users.
“Many marketers are struggling to generate consistent, measurable results from their Facebook efforts,” says Mari Smith, a leading expert on Facebook marketing, author of “The New Relationship Marketing” and co-author of “Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.”
“The bad news is Facebook has adjusted its news feed ranking, and this has resulted in less organic reach for Facebook page owners. With this drop off in organic distribution of posts, it means marketers will have to pay for reach,” says Smith, who is known worldwide and recently was named one of Forbes’ “Top Ten Social Media Influencers.”
“This means businesses simply must set aside a budget for paid promotions in order to reach more of their target audience,” she added.
Heather Waters is among a growing number of marketers who are uncertain about the real benefits of Facebook. Waters is marketing and communications manager for FreshAddress.com, a 30-employee, email database services provider based in the Greater Boston area.
“Facebook is more about people sharing ‘selfies’ and updates about their grandkids,” says Waters. “We help companies clean, correct, grow and leverage their email databases. There’s not a whole lot that I can take photos of that I can put up on Facebook. Our main goal is to drive traffic to our website. Facebook is not working for us. I’d love to get some answers before I abandon it.”
There are no simple answers and marketers like Waters certainly don’t want to be rash about ditching Facebook. That’s because Facebook has become too big to be ignored and most marketers nowadays understand that they need a Facebook presence as part of an overall marketing strategy.
“While Facebook marketing doesn’t always convert to sales, there are strategies that can help you boost your reach, engagement and ultimately your conversion, too,” says Smith. Here are some of her top suggestions:
First, be sure to regularly test the time of day, day of week, frequency, length, type and content of your posts. You especially want to check the peak times your fans are online and be sure to post within 30 minutes. She also recommends posting your most important information on days with the most activity.
Track, measure and tweak
Monitor your Facebook Insights daily to see what your fans and visitors are responding best to. “This may seem counter intuitive, but you should pay to promote posts that are doing well,” says Smith.
Drive traffic back to specific Facebook posts from other Internet sources.
To accomplish this, Smith suggests clicking on the time stamp of the posts you want to share, create a short link and invite your audience from other sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and email to come join the discussion.
Embed Facebook posts on your blog
To embed a post, go to your newsfeed on the Facebook home page, click on the gray, drop-down arrow at the top right of the post and select ‘embed post’. A page will pop up showing how the post will look and a code will appear. Copy and paste the code in the place where you would like to embed the post such as your website or blog.
“This is a relatively new feature, but can help to bring more traffic to specific posts,” says Smith.
Set aside a nominal budget for advertising
Smith advises marketers to maximize free organic reach and results on Facebook before they pay to promote, but even with a nominal budget, the results from paid advertising can be incredible.
“The idea with a sponsored post in the News Feeds is you don’t want it to stand out like a disruptive and annoying ad with a strong marketing message,” Smith says. “Ideally, the post makes the viewer feel a bond with your brand and wants to engage the post.”
For marketers like Waters, who work for niche businesses, it’s all about building and nurturing relationships. If Facebook can drive the kind of engagement that leads to improved sales in the long-run, then ultimately, “it’s a win-win,” she says.
“We’re a vibrant company. We have a great staff,” says Waters. “I want to put our best foot forward.”