Facebook marketing: A best practice guide

Facebook have released a best practice guide to Facebook marketing. It’s in-depth and useful, but also involved, so I thought I’d summerise for you.

Here’s the key points.

Facebook say there are five guiding principles to great social marketing:

  1. Build a strategy that is first and foremost social, and integrated into broader marketing and business objectives
  2. Create an authentic brand voice by being straightforward and consistent.
  3. Make it interactive – always engage in two-way conversations and create content that people will be excited to pass along.
  4. Nurture relationships. Stay in touch, reward loyalty and keep content easy to consume. Think long-term.
  5. Get feedback in real time and use reporting tools to learn about your fans.

They then expand upon these areas – I’ve left my thoughts under their points.

Foster product development and innovation

“Facebook allows you to learn about your audience… For this reason, Facebook can be used to generate new product ideas and innovation.”

Know your audience, and allow the conversaion to be led by them – albeit in keeping with your guidelines. I’ve found doing this gives your fans page ownership and the freedom to make some interesting and insightful suggestions!

Generate Awareness

“Once you have created a Facebook page, it is time to generate awareness.”

In a nutshell, Facebook want you to buy their ads. They are cheap, effective, and can be highly targeted. It’s a shame they don’t let you book in $NZD or access non-standard ad types without an agency, but it’s still a cost-effective way to build your brand.

Don’t forget to put links to your Facebook page throughout your website – turn your visitors into subscribers with a click of a button.

Drive preference and differentiation

“On Facebook, people discover your brand through trusted referrals from their friends.”

This is one of the big positives social media has over traditional – personal endorsement much more public, and users are much more likely to engage with brands their friends have recommended. Keep sharability in mind when writing status updates.

Facebook have got a lot of social plug-ins you can use to socialise your website and brand. Use them where appropriate.

Increase traffic and sales

“A combination of word of mouth and your ability to deepen engagement with your customers at the point of purchase is incredibly powerful at driving traffic and sales.”

Facebook recommend putting like buttons on products, and integrating post-purchase sharing to consumer’s walls. The same could be said for like buttons on articles if you’re a blogger. Facebook also recommends buying Facebook ads to push directly to the point of sale.

Build loyalty and deepen relationships

“Because of the information people share about themselves on Facebook, you can create highly custom and personalized experiences to drive engagement and loyalty.”

Ask questions, listen to the answers, and be responsive. Thank people. Provide exclusive information for Facebook fans. If you’re a multi-national, target updates to users in various countries. I hope that feature will soon extend to cities, but in the meanwhile, try to not alienate users by overwhelming them with information that they can’t act upon.

Amplify recommendation and word of mouth

“Everything you do on Facebook is viral. People expect to discover things on Facebook through their friends.”

Encourage people to like your page – and your status updates. Put the like button on your website. Have fresh, sharable content on your Facebook page. Make everything clickable, shareable, hyperlinked and tidy (check how your links appear in Facebook when put into the URL feature… Is it clean or does it need editing?)

Gain Insights

“Insights can help improve your business by helping you stay aligned with the people you serve.”

Insights: Where would you be without them? Probably shouting into a dark room. Use Facebook ad campaign reports. Use Facebook insights – both on your page and for web. Read your Facebook wall… And when I say “read” I mean “read between the lines.” Sometimes what people don’t say says more than what they do.

Finally, use these tools:

Guide to Facebook ads: facebook.com/adsmarketing
Guide to running competitions on Facebook: facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php
Social plugins for your site: developers.facebook.com/plugins
Facebook insights: facebook.com/insights