This is a guest contribution from Stacey Cavanagh, Digital Marketing Manager for Tecmark. This is Part One, which discusses setting your Facebook strategy and building your audience. Also, check out our post on what you need to know with Facebook’s switch to Timeline for brands.

Facebook boasts a global audience of over 800 million users from all over the globe. When you consider that number, it’s easy to see why brands and businesses of all sizes are trying to leverage the platform within their digital marketing activity. There are some immense examples of brands using Facebook incredibly well. Heineken, Pepsi, Ford, Dominos, Papa John’s, Corona… But at the opposite end of the spectrum from the globally recognised brands you have smaller businesses with less recognised brands and it’s many of these Facebook Business pages that sit dormant, ‘unliked,’ not engaged with and frequently not even updated.

‘Build it and they will come,’ does not apply to Facebook. Instead, it’s more like, ‘build it, update it frequently, identify and reach out to your audience to tell them about it then incentivise them to engage with it and they might come – but only if you do it well enough.’

That’s nowhere near as catchy, is it? But that’s the only way, for those of us not fortunate enough to have the brand power of Heineken or Dominos, that Facebook will work for you.

There is not hard and fast set of rules that will make a Facebook page an instant success. How you should build and engage with your audience will depend on who you audience is. But certain practices can and indeed should be applied across the board.

Set Objectives

Realistically ask yourself what you want to achieve through Facebook. If this is a marketing effort, it needs marketing objectives. Are you looking for:

  • Traffic to your site
  • Newsletter signups
  • Sales through your site (whether as direct visitor to purchaser or as an assisted conversion)
  • Brand awareness

Whatever the objective, it should be set at the start and you should have the means to monitor your progress toward it.

Identify and Build Your Audience

With 11% of the world’s population on Facebook there’s a good chance your audience is there, too. Your audience online is the same, in many cases, as your audience offline. But how do you find them and get to your page?

Facebook ads

Be prepared to invest in building up your Facebook Page fan numbers. You’re effectively building up a social networking pool of people you can, in the future, market directly at (carefully!). Facebook makes it easy to reach out to the specific users you want through their cost per click ad system.

Through Facebook ads you can target users by:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Employment status
  • Education
  • Interests

That’s incredibly powerful and using these ads to advertise your Facebook Page (as opposed to your own website) is an excellent and effective means of building up relevant users.

Your Website

Advertise your Facebook page on your website. Having your Facebook page on your official site authenticates the Facebook page – users know for sure this is your official Facebook presence. Make it easy for users to ‘like’ your page. Those already signed in to Facebook should be able to one-click like you from on your own website.

Other Marketing and Advertising

Consumers have become accustomed to hearing people share Facebook URLs verbally whether in person, on a radio ad or TV ad. If you’re doing any of that type of marketing or any other offline or online efforts, market your Facebook page with it.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part Two, to learn how to engage with your audience. In the meantime, like Eventbrite on Facebook for all the latest updates!

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