These days people are often questioning the relevance of Facebook as a social media marketing platform. With ever changing Newsfeed algorithm updates, people are often questioning whether it's even worth the time it takes to create and implement a strong Facebook strategy.
First of all, I think it's always good to question any type of marketing tactic you employ. There is no set formula for marketing your business. Every small business is unique and has a different set of challenges and a different target market. You know this best.
When you have determined if you are going to get your business on Facebook and/or are deciding to revamp your current Facebook strategy, you should take the following steps:
1. Closely examine your target audience. Take a look at your buyer personas. Get in the mind set of that target market and try to understand if Facebook is a place where they are "hanging out." With over 1 billion users, chances are they have a Facebook page. That being said, how are they using that Facebook page? Don't just look at if they are using it, look at how they are using Facebook.
2. Now that you understand how your target audience is using Facebook, determine your objectives. What are you trying to achieve with Facebook marketing? Raising brand awareness? Generating leads? Generating sales?
3. Set up some tracking metrics. Once your objectives are determined, make sure you have the collateral and tracking systems in place to track whether or not you are achieving those objectives. For example, if you are trying to generate leads, do you have a unique landing page that is tracking the leads that convert from Facebook specifically? If you are trying to generate sales, do you have a special sales Facebook code? For each objective you should also immediately think of how you will measure that objective.
4. Based on your objectives you will then want to optimize your Facebook profile. When optimizing your Facebook profile you need to have consistent branding in your images and your copy. Make sure your profile copy is including targeted keywords and your images reflect the imagery from your website and are the correct size.
5. Create an overview of types of content you will post inline with your objectives. This is what I like to call a general editorial calendar. I like to take six to twelve months and list out any and all types of relevant posts I can think of. Again, this is a good time to really get in the head of your buyer persona. What types of content will they find engaging and entertaining? At the same time consider what types of content you want to post to help reach your objectives. It's also at this time that I like to include any holidays, special sales/promotions, etc. Obviously, other creative posts and events will arise, but having an idea of all types of general posts will make step 7 much easier.
6. Determine how frequently and when you want to post. This will be a learning process that will come with time and trial and error. Try to asses when your target audience is on Facebook. Try to determine how frequently they are on Facebook. If they aren't using the social platform very frequently and don't have many connections on Facebook, you are going to want to take that into consideration so as to not flood your users' newsfeed. In addition, consider how much time you have to dedicate to implementing your Facebook strategy. Utilize your Facebook page's insights to determine what works best.
7. Create a weekly editorial calendar. Using the ideas you generated in step five and the times and days you determined in step six, plan out your content for the week. Some people prefer monthly editorial calendars or bi-weekly. Whatever time frame fits best with your schedule is what I suggest. Schedule out your planned content. Whether it's for the week or the month, take some time to sit down and schedule out your Facebook content.
8. Set aside some time to check in daily, even if it's just for 5 minutes and especially if you have a post scheduled for that day. You will want to try to respond as soon as possible to any comments or questions. A great way to monitor this is to install the Pages app on your smart phone and allow for push notifications. This will instantly notify you of any comments and allow you to respond right there from your phone.
9. Consider advertising. Take a look at whether or not you are meeting your objectives. Could you add some advertising to speed things up? Facebook's ad platform has become much more user friendly. It's very easy to create campaigns to generate leads and/or gain Facebook likes using things like target audiences. Furthermore, the analytics are very insightful. Advertising on Facebook is a great, and almost necessary way, to enhance your campaigns.
10. Create monthly analytical reports. They only have to be as detailed as you want them to be (or, in my case, as your client wants them to be.) Make sure you are including the metrics that show whether you are or are not reaching your objectives. Furthermore, take a deep dive into Facebook insights. They provide some awesome analytics about who follows your page, how your posts perform, etc.