The ABCs of Facebook marketing

Adrienne Branson
Adrienne Branson

A lot goes into a Facebook marketing campaign.

Facebook wasn’t the first social network, but having stuck around for such a long time and changed in so many ways, it’s definitely one of the most complicated. It’s not a social network where you can take advantage of much automation.

Keep reading to learn about the many components that go into a successful Facebook marketing campaign — from A to Z!

Algorithm

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Michal Sycz

Facebook hasn’t shown its newsfeed to users in chronological order since roughly 2011. Since then, they have been perfecting an algorithm for selecting the updates that appear in the newsfeed.

This is important because every time a user logs on, between 1,500 and 15,000 new updates have been created by their friends and the pages they follow.

They can’t possibly scroll through all those updates every time they log in, so Facebook uses key factors like engagement to determine what is shown to each user.

Boosted Posts

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Mario Eskenazi

After you post an update to your page, you have the option to boost it.

Used correctly, boosts can be a very effective tool for growing and reaching your audience. Sometimes, if an update is particularly successful, Facebook will prompt you to boost it to reach a broader audience. These popular updates are a great way to grow your page.

Call-to-Action

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Jessica Hische

Your call-to-action button is in the bottom right row of buttons over your page’s cover photo, to the left of the Like button. It won’t be there by default, so don’t forget to set it when you are configuring your page.

You can drive your Facebook page visitors to a certain page of your site, like a sales page, download page, or a newsletter signup form.

Discussion

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Michael McCarty

Comments are one of the most enthralling parts of a Facebook update. It is important to encourage discussion in your community, either by asking questions, or by making statements that incite commentary. You can even create a little bit of healthy controversy, just to get people talking.

Engagement

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Alex Malkiewicz

Engagement is king on Facebook. The algorithm will only show your update to a small subset of your total fans by default.

You have to earn a greater organic reach by proving that your updates are engaging, inciting likes and other reactions, comments, shares, and clicks. Put simply, the more your fans engage with your updates, the more people will see them.

Frequency

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Ryan Frease

Frequency is an important but largely unappreciated statistic that you can find in Ad Manager. It tells you how many times, on average, the users you’ve targeted have seen your ads.

You don’t want it to be too low, as people might miss your ad the first or second time they get an ad impression. On the other hand, you don’t want your frequency to be too high because that means same people are repeatedly seeing your ads.

AdEspresso recommends making changes to your campaigns when your frequency hits 5, and never letting it go above 10.

Gratitude

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Aron Jancso

If your fans are taking the time to engage with you — maybe they comment on your posts, write on your page, or even send you a message — you should appreciate the time they took to write to you and respond in some way. Even a thumbs-up emoji will do.

Facebook actually puts a visible metric on your response rate. If you have a response rate over 90% and an average response time of 15 minutes, you will earn the coveted green “very responsive to messages” badge.

Humor

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Cat Finnie

Humor is a great unifier. Don’t you want to be the brand that puts a smile on someone’s face today? I wouldn’t make every update a joke, but memes, funny sayings, and hilarious videos are something we can all appreciate from time to time.

These types of updates, used with moderation and focusing on a type of humor your particular audience can appreciate, are great for earning engagement and shares.

Insights

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Jing Zhang

Insights are Facebook’s version of analytics. Learn from your successes and failures by analyzing how your updates performed after the fact. You can access Insights by clicking the tab for them at the top of your page.

Pay special attention to your recent updates that got especially high reach and engagement. When did you post them? What kind of posts were they?

Judgment

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Andrew Fairclough

Use your best judgment to determine what is and is not appropriate for your audience. Many people make fun of brands for over-using holidays, current events, and trends for their marketing campaigns.

Be choosy about which bandwagons you jump onto, and be willing to blaze your own trails from time to time.

KPIs

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Matthias Heiderich

KPIs stands for Key Performance Indicators, and these are the metrics that tell you how you are doing on Facebook.

And make no mistake — it goes beyond just your number of likes. How big of a reach are you managing on the average post? How much and what kind of engagement are you getting? How much traffic is Facebook sending to your website?

Likes

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Adam Simpson

This is perhaps the most predictable choice in this entire post: likes are important.

Likes are the social currency of Facebook. Respect your fans, and don’t dilute them with fake fans. Doing so will backfire — by filling your roster with fake fans, your reach and engagement will plummet because the supply of people who will actually see and interact with your updates will be smaller.

Mobile

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Chris Silverman

Close to half of Facebook’s users are mobile exclusive — that is, they only ever use Facebook from their phone or tablet. That is why it is so important to have a mobile-friendly website, phone-friendly updates, and embrace newsfeed ads which can actually reach these users.

Newsfeed

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Adam Grason

The newsfeed is the primary location from which most of your fans will interact with your posts. It is so easy for a Facebook user to find themselves just mindlessly scrolling down the newsfeed.

The Facebook algorithm determines what is shown on it, balancing lots of posts from friends with the occasional post from a page or ad. If you are earning more engagement with your updates, they are more likely to appear here.

Open Graph

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Jack Crossing

Open graph meta tags help you control how your website content appears when shared on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

You can get as granular as setting a default photo to load in when someone shares your URL, as well as an article title and description specific to Facebook. If you are running your site on WordPress, the free plugin Yoast SEO has a tab for setting Facebook’s open graph meta tags built in.

Photos

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Florian Schommer

Share the most eye-catching, unique, and relevant images you can. Original imagery is more likely to garner attention than the same stock photos everyone else is using, but you want to make sure those photos are high quality.

Whenever possible, always post an image with the updates you make as they will increase the screen real estate your update occupies in the newsfeed, making it more likely to be seen.

If you don’t like the default image that is being pulled in from the URLs you share, you can replace them by clicking the plus icon and uploading a new image.

Quality vs. Quantity

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Giuseppe Salerno

Posting on Facebook is a huge battle of quality versus quantity. On one hand, your updates do not reach a very large subset of your followers, so posting more often should conceivably help you connect with more of your fans on a regular basis.

However, when you need to post new content all the time, it can be hard to keep the quality as high as it would be were you just posting once or twice a day. Strike a balance early on, and while you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment, when you find something that works, stay consistent.

Reach

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Razauno

Organic reach is the number of people your updates are shown to for free. It is surprisingly small, and getting smaller all the time; one study puts it at 2.6% on average.

Paid reach is the audience you pay for with ads or boosted posts. Insights will differentiate these different kinds of reach with different colors. To increase your reach, post engaging updates that people are more likely to react to, click on, comment on, or share.

Shares

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DTM_INC

Inspiring your fans to share your posts is one of the fastest ways to get an update to go viral. If your fans share your update, some of their friends will see it, and those friends may in turn pass it on to their own fans.

But it isn’t as simple as just asking your audience to share – you need to post something that people want to share with their friends. That could be something useful, something unbelievable, something funny – it varies with every audience, and there is definitely no exact science to it.

Targeting

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Miguel Sousa

Facebook has some of the most sophisticated targeting options in the marketing world. Choosing your audience properly is very difficult but also of vital importance.

Go too broad, and you may reach people who are not interested, wasting money. Go too narrow, and you will pay a lot more to reach the same number of people, or even worse, miss your ideal audience entirely.

Users

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Mirko Camia

Your updates need to be user-centric. Don’t post something self-promotional every time you update. Trust us, your fans want to see more than just links to your website.

They want to see inspiring images, interesting videos, and the latest news in your industry. Whatever you post, make sure that first and foremost, you are thinking about what your fans will get out of it.

Video

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Happycentro

Thanks to the fact that videos on Facebook auto-play, videos are perhaps the most engaging type of update. Videos regularly reach a greater percentage of fans on the pages I manage than other types of posts, like photos or links. In 2015, Facebook users watched over 100 million hours of video on Facebook.

Word of Mouth

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Methane Studios

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to grow an audience naturally. People trust the opinions of their friends. You can benefit from this social proof by targeting some of your ads to your fan’s friends.

These ads will stay front and center, and indicate which of their friends like the page, which is a really powerful motivator.

X Marks the Spot

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Sabeena Karnik

No, there is no secret treasure map that will tell you exactly how to target your ads, or when to post your updates to catch most of your fans online. It will take careful analysis of your Insights, and experimentation, to discover what works.

One of the best things you can do to chart your course is to take notes on your most successful updates and ads, and see if you can replicate them in the future.

You

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Jessica Hische

Your updates should always address the “you,” not the “me.” Use second person, not first person, to make a stronger connection with your audience. This is just good copywriting!

Zealots

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Rory Phillips

Sure, in everyday use, a zealot may not necessarily be a good thing. But where your Facebook marketing is concerned, you absolutely want a fanatical following of brand zealots who comment positively on your updates, share your posts, and spread the good word to their friends.

Do your best to cultivate your fans, turning them into raving fans. They are some of the best assets a brand can have.

Your Turn

This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list – there were a few letters where it was really tough to pick just one choice! However, it’s a great primer to the possibilities of Facebook marketing.

Now I turn to you – which ABCs of Facebook marketing did I miss in this list? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.