How to use Facebook? Even the founders of Facebook grappled with this question when they first began.
It started off as a platform “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” and evolved into one that wants “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” What began as a medium to help communities share and connect, gradually became a virtual world they came to inhabit. The Facebook community count stands at 2.19 billion monthly active users (as at first quarter 2018) and is still growing with every passing day.
Mark Zuckerberg began Facebook with the singular focus of wanting to increase audiences despite the ambiguity around ways in which he could monetize it. Since then Facebook has come a long way from being a sharing platform, events organizer, messaging app, ad space, news bulletin stream and gone on to become a lot more. It has become the harbinger of the new-age world that goes online to get updates on news/events and express or withdraw support to ideas and opinions expressed globally.
What’s the Current Problem?
Businesses are perpetually looking to build interest around their product/service. They are looking for eyeballs. With customers moving online, businesses too have followed suit else the opportunity cost could be crippling.
- Facebook is Competitive: Creating a Facebook page for your brand and staking a speck of claim in the vastness of the virtual world will simply not work. The default visibility of a Facebook page is as good as positioning your brand in a mall that has everyone from your biggest competitors to budding brands. Unless you market it correctly, it is nearly impossible to make a mark. The rules in offline marketing are very different from that of the digital domain. Thus a business that has managed to crack the code in the offline space may still be very unsure of its success with Facebook.
- Beware of Vanity Metrics and Monetary Ads: If a business believes its online marketing is going great simply based on skyrocketing vanity metrics (registered users, downloads, page views) and monetary ads then it is in for a rude and rather expensive (monetary ads don’t come cheap) shock. These trap agencies, new businesses, and freelance professionals into believing that these metrics and ads will garner huge support and translate overnight into ‘likes.’
- Quality Content Leads to Conversions: Metrics that matter includes active users, engagement, cost of getting new customers. These will impact your bottom line i.e. revenues and profits. Spending money on ads and buying ‘likes’ is not going to ramp up those conversions. But the type of content you choose to identify your brand with on Facebook most definitely will.
The Way Businesses Need to Use Facebook
To make complete and good use of Facebook, there are certain strategies that need to be considered while you gauge the potential of this platform from an entrepreneurial standpoint.
An Assisted Conversion Channel
It is very important to understand that Facebook is a medium to a destination and not the destination itself. It assists as a conversion channel that helps you land-up users on your website. Thus, businesses must have their own space beyond Facebook where the potential customer can examine the business and make his purchase decision. The problem with selling on Facebook is that we think of Facebook as a platform to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones in the process.
Build Communities, Not Sell
Follow the process. Be the friend that Facebook gives you an opportunity to be. Don’t just keeping selling; earn the customer’s attention with care. It is of utmost importance to keep their curiosity always piqued and your unpredictability perpetually high! The more they hang out with you online, the easier it is to convert the lead.
Distribute Entertaining and Engaging Content
People should look at a brand’s Facebook page to seek new and engaging information and content. Thus staying spontaneous and unpredictable is a mandatory Key Responsibility Area for businesses planning to hop on to Facebook.
9 Strategies on How to Use Facebook
Sharing the hack for those who have a knack!
There are several strategies that we must look at while using Facebook as a medium for marketing. Let’s break them down to see what lies at the foundation of a successful Facebook business.
1. Look at the Best practices for Facebook (AdEspresso Data)
AdEspresso analytics are built to suit the needs of every kind of user, from the novice to the expert.
It helps you compare different campaigns, check the engagement score and bifurcate the targeting as per the interests of users, giving you hourly reports of how your posts are performing.
It is important to understand that there is no ‘correct time’ to publish your posts. Every business must understand the type of users they have and at what time their attention can be captured.
Also, post less but never get monotonous, i.e. publishing a limited number of posts with high content quality is any day better than random posts at irregular intervals.
To build engagement and keep the length of the post to a minimum of a 5-minute read so that it can deliver value and build engagement for the business.
2. Research your own posts
It is extremely significant to understand whether your content is being accepted or just blatantly rejected. Thus, it is a healthy practice to analyze your posts and check their ‘likability’. Once you clear your table and know what needs to stay, assess the competitor’s posts as well. Check how they stay unpredictable and how much of what they post is different from your content. Do an analysis of a user’s paradigm and see which of their content is your favorite and why? Engagement of > 2.5% is something every business should strive towards.
3. Post Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Content
The nature of your content needs to be both informative about your business and simultaneously build engagement and excitement among the users. Thus, classifying the content into three major categories:
- Primary Content: This is primarily what you do as a company and all that you have to offer to the potential target market. You must clearly talk about what your company has to offer to the customers and how can you add value to their lives. The content has to be very specific to your company and its objectives.
- Secondary Content: This content is related to the industry that you belong to, i.e., talking about the happenings of the industry as a whole and the advancements that will benefit the users. Secondary content helps you scale and engage with the users that might not know about your business but are aware of the industry as a whole.
- Tertiary Content: Creativity is the key. It is important to talk about the interests of the users and link it back to what you’ve to offer to them, as a business. However, it is important to do it subtly and not always be proactive when it comes to sales.
Chumbak has been religiously following this Marketing strategy making it one of the few startups that has a huge online presence even before they went online with their products.
4. Jab Jab Jab Right Hook
It is important to understand the concept of a jab, jab, jab, right hook. The concept states that one must give, give, give before you ask for a favor. Thus, the content that is posted must be of immense value and by no means look like an advertisement or glorification of what you want to sell to the customer. Provide value to the users and with time, the eyeballs at your Facebook page will be directed to your website, thus, acting as a medium to the destination.
5. Focus on Shares and Comments, Not Likes
Focus on getting more engagement through comments and shares. This will not only save you from the Facebook ecosystem that reduces the reach as the number of members in a group increases but will also help you understand the opinions of your target audience.“Like-baiting” is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive. Facebook will now bury those posts that explicitly ask us to do so.
6. Don’t Post Content That Looks like Ads
The easiest way to lose customers is to sell them something that they are not convinced enough to buy. In times like today, where customers are the key to any business, it is eminently important to sway them off their feet. Shoving ads in all your posts will eventually adversely impact both the likeability and the unpredictability of the page.
7. Use the Latest Facebook Features
Customers can now give feedback specifically for a business/ product/ service that they purchase or experience. Utilize the feature and build lasting customer relationships. This brings about a sense of belongingness in the customers and leads to better converts.
Facebook Stories> Facebook Live > Facebook Video > Facebook 360 > Gifs > Images > Text
Instagram Polling Feature
The feature is a major highlight on Instagram and builds engagement. It will allow companies to ask questions and get instant feedback for its target market. A feature like this comes along once in a century. This feature is now available on Facebook through their ‘Messenger Stories’ poll stickers. Will you use it meticulously? Yes or no?
8. If You Are Using Ads, Use Lead Ads, Re-Targeting, and Look-Alike Audiences
Based on running ads for multiple startups and handling over $25,000 monthly marketing budgets, the ads that are most successful in terms of conversions are Lead Ads, Retargeting Ads and targeting demographics based on lookalike audiences and custom audiences. Personally, the conversions start getting really expensive if it’s based on interests and other types of targeting.
To ensure that Lead Ads are successful it is significant to see that the campaign set up is formed correctly. The steps to ensure that are:
- Setting up the right bidding and decide on a good budget.
- Keep the ads simple.
- Implementing the Facebook Pixel on the Website.
9. Create a Sense of Exclusivity with Your Community
The idea is to make your community feel special at all times. Gratitude is one of the most effective ways to show that your community is of utmost significance to you. Exclusive clubs like ’60 seconds club’ that entrepreneurs build to engage with their community is a smart move to draw attention from those who aren’t a part of the same.
Tried and Tested Strategies by Indian Startups
1. Chumbak (B2C)
Chumbak, a well-known name in the social world never lets the user experience go for a toss. They use Facebook to create the buzz around their latest sale/ trend by rolling out engaging contests and using contrasting images for their cover pictures and posts. Here are a few reasons why they have been able to create a community of 500,000 members on Facebook. Check out their Facebook page here.
- They use a lot of contrasting colors.
- They post variations of primary, secondary and tertiary content.
- They update their cover images based on what’s the latest sale/trend which increases their engagement a lot.
- They run a number of contests while getting the community involved.
Facebook has been one of the biggest marketing channels for Chumbak. In an interview with SocialSamosa Vivek says,
“We don’t look at Social as something that requires an ROI. It’s about engagement and effective content. We are on Social Media to have fun.”
ZOHO is a technology platform (with a suite of products) that helps businesses improve their productivity. Started in 1996 as a simple networking management software, Zoho today offers a range of products across Sales, Marketing, HR, Finance and IT to help businesses run their business better. As per Dec 2017, Zoho does $400 million in annual revenue and has over 30 million users worldwide.
And it all started in the heart of Chennai.
ZOHO uses Facebook in the following ways:
- A Content Distribution Platform: New products that are released, blog posts are written, webinars with thought leaders are all disseminated on Facebook.
- Product Promotions: Any new product released along with development updates are placed on Facebook.
- Promote their Events/Workshops: Example ZohoShowTime will be at #cipdLDshow @olympia_london on May 10th & 11th. Visit us at Std 512 & get one-on-one demos. zoho.to/CIPD
- Customer Support: For example one of their posts for customer support would look like this. Apologies for the service disruption. Few of our services seems to be down. We’re on top of it, will keep you posted
- Other things to notice: You’ll notice that in each of their posts, they use #hashtags which can be used for identifying the posts if someone searched on Facebook using hashtags. #zohorecruit for their product zohorecruit #zoho for all Zoho related posts, #HR & #recruitment as their product is focused. They use a combination of illustrations, high-resolution images while posting at least twice a day and not posting over the weekends.
3. Urban Clap
UrbanClap is an online marketplace to hire any local service. From photographers, plumbers, beauticians to yoga instructors, all these services can be leveraged on demand and at the convenience of your home.
Currently, UrbanClap is reckoned as India’s largest service marketplace. Founded in October 2014, UrbanClap has raised close to $60 million since it was founded. Urban Clap has over 100,000 handpicked expert professionals who help get almost anything done.
Some of their strategies involve:
- Posting at an average of 1.5-2 times a day.
- Every piece of collateral that goes out has UrbanClap branding.
- It has an explanation between 50-100 words with hashtags that are obviously very relevant.
- One is the dedicated hashtag of their business which is – #yourserviceexpert and others relevant to the post itself.
Crowdfire is your smart social media manager. It’s a tool that tells you who to follow, how to create audiences and the type of content to post. Started as Just Unfollow in 2008 and rebranded as Crowdfire later, Crowdfire has over 19 million active users worldwide.
Their Twitter game is really strong and every company should take inspiration from it. These strategies can easily be mirrored on to Facebook.
The content they focus on is:
- #CFstoriesUnearthing The Stories Of Different People: #CFstories is Crowdfire podcast where they feature individuals who have successfully grown their business online. The theme of the podcast is to keep it fun while inspiring others to start their own business.
- Product Updates: For product updates i.e. new features being developed, or things are back up and running, Crowdfire makes the messages on twitter fun. Usually businesses like posting out content like “10 reasons why you should try our product” but Crowdfire at every step focuses on humanizing the interaction.
- Motivational Messages: Who doesn’t need a dose of motivation? Our parents and friends motivate us but seeing messages from a brand that inspires us to kick ass in life. I want to see that. Keeping their tone of humanizing interactions, Crowdfire’s motivational messages range from Happy Mondays to creating awesome daily habits.
- Creating Conversations With Communities: Crowdfire believes in engagement over anything. To keep the community engaged, Crowdfire has a#CFCHAT series where they pick a new topic weekly and have conversations around those topics. The topics range from healthy living, lifestyle, entrepreneurship with almost very little connection with their product.
- They also share content around productivity.
iXiGO is an online travel search engine that was founded in 2006 by Aloke Bajpai, Dharmendra Yashovardhan, and Rajnish Kumar. You can book flights, hotels, trains, using Ixigo. In April 2018, Ixigo does 3.5 million visits a month and have raised $25.5 million. In August 2011, MakeMyTrip acquired a majority stake in Ixigo.
Ixigo’s true scale is actually attributed to their video marketing on Facebook. Ashish Chopra was awarded “Content Marketer of the Year” in 2016 by Direct Marketing Association of India (DMAI) with their videos that have created over 100 million views.
Their Facebook strategy is all about creating viral video content in the form of April Fool’s Day pranks along with a ton of other content.
Jaypore is a lifestyle brand that focuses on bringing products from Indian artisans and craftsmen to their customers. Jaypore believes that every product has a story behind it and they tell beautiful stories through each of their products.
Jaypore was founded in New Delhi in February 2011 and has gone on to raise $8.4 million dollars. With more than 120 employees, they have become synonymous with luxury Indian home brands.
The way Jaypore uses Facebook is quite similar to Chumbak but slightly better:
- If you ask Jaypore – who they are? They call themselves storytellers, not a lifestyle brand. And that trickles down to their social strategy including Facebook.
- The posts are associated with the brand, the products they sell and the artisan behind the story.
- They post at least once a day while humanizing interactions.
8. Urban Ladder
Founded in 2012, Urban Ladder is a platform that you can buy furniture online. Over a period of six years, they have built a community of over 700,000 members. Here is what their Facebook strategy revolves around:
- Their product promotions, but they keep it fun and personal.
- Pictures of dogs and pets.
- Motivational Mondays and Fun Fridays.
- Home decor, home furniture, home gardens. Basically everything related to home.
- Posting twice a day.
Tools For Facebook:
- Hootsuite and Buffer: Automating Facebook posts
- Crowdfire: Gives you suggestions on who to follow and the type of content to post. For twitter as well.
- BuzzSumo: Read your competitor’s most popular post and see if you can post something similar
- Canva: Use Canva to create ads and high engaging images for Facebook users.
Create the community and let it feed out of Facebook. Jab, jab, jab, right hook!
There are numerous techniques to build engagement, however, a sustainable community will only emerge gradually. So, have short-term willingness to give your best everyday and long-term patience and wisdom to know that people will take time to notice you no matter how hard you work.
If you haven’t begun as yet, this is a great place to start – How to create a Facebook Page.