Facebook elicits all sorts of responses. Some hate it - they've deactivated their accounts, vowing never to go back, insisting it's unnecessary, even evil. Some love it - they swear by it, live by it, barely dare to be away and never, ever log out.
But for you, all that matters is this:
What this graph shows is that Facebook drives traffic. More traffic than Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and all the others combined. As 'virologist' Emerson Spartz, the genius behind Spartz media, has said, 'Facebook should be eighty per cent of your effort, if you’re focussed on social media.'
If you've decided to unlock the vast potential of content marketing that we investigated last month, then Facebook will be indispensable to you.
Here's how to do it, in four steps.
1. Make a Facebook Page
In order to create a presence on Facebook, you'll need to make a page for your business. This will allow potential customers to 'like' your business, which will give them access to everything you post. And, it will allow you to use Facebook 'as' your business, so you don't have to post, 'like', or comment from your personal account.
Simply click 'Create Page', and follow the steps.
2. Post your content
To build a following, you need to post content that engages people. And in order for your content to engage people, you have to frame it effectively.
When you post a link onto your page, it will automatically generate a display. Take this example:
Here there are four editable regions:
The status at the top
The bottom text
By editing those four different parts of the link, you have a huge amount of control over the way in which your content is displayed. This, in turn, will dramatically effect how likely a viewer is to engage with it.
Beautiful photos, enticing headlines, snappy statuses - these will be the difference between your content being clicked or ignored. Here are a few useful pointers:
i) Full Stops
See if you can change commas for full stops. That will create short, snappy writing that is easy to digest.
The word 'you' will jump out at the reader, as you'll be directly addressing them.
Words like 'now', 'here', 'this' convey a sense of immediacy, and words like 'should' and 'need' create a sense of urgency.
The internet loves lists.
Unanswered questions, confusing remarks, extreme responses - this will pique the curiosity of your readers.
There can be no doubt that you can take all of these too far, and just become annoying. But they are principles that should always be present in your mind when writing posts.
3. Be a friend
As we explained in last month's blog on content marketing, you want to turn strangers into friends, and friends into customers. At this point, you've got a whole lot of strangers, so you're going to need to make a lot of friends before you can start thinking about finding customers.
Make sure your page isn't just self-serving - be generous. Give people some things they want - industry-relevant information, or just something cute or funny.
Innocent Smoothies' post is deceptively clever: it focuses on fresh ingredients, spring, local farmers and yet it doesn't do anything overtly self-serving. No links to their site, no adverts, no offers.
However you judge it, don't make it all about you.
4. Schedule your posts
You don't want to have to be sat on Facebook every day coming up with fresh posts, posting them then and there. What you want is to schedule them, so you can send them all off in one session and let the page views roll in.
To do that, just click the arrow next to the 'Post' button on the bottom right, and then click 'schedule'. This will open a window that will let you schedule it any time you think is right. Try to time the posts when you think they'll be most relevant to your audience, and at the time when most of your audience will be on Facebook. This might be on the way to the tube, during their lunch break or just before bed.
5. 'Boost' your content
In order to increase the amount of people you reach, you can 'boost' your posts. This entails paying an amount - anything from one to a million pounds - in order to send your content to more people. And, because Facebook users give so much information about themselves, you can target an incredible specific audience, to make sure the right people are seeing your stuff.
Targeting types include:
- interests (conferences, parties, weddings)
- device type (desktop, mobile, tablet)
To access this you will need to set up a business account with a debit or credit card, and you can 'boost' posts as and when you choose on a self-serve basis.
These are the foundations of Facebook marketing: high-quality, generous content, and a bit of a boost.
You can see the full breakdown of the Venue Marketing Series here - Online Marketing For Venues - Agenda, and view previous posts below: