Creating a Facebook content strategy is an important part of any company’s marketing plan. With an estimated 2.4 billion active users monthly, it’s not hard to see why businesses consider Facebook essential for finding new customers. This step-by-step guide will help you create content that drives engagement, fills out a content calendar, captures leads, and builds customer loyalty.
1. Define Your Facebook Content Goals
Start by clearly defining your Facebook marketing strategy goals and expectations. Before going too far, decide what you want to accomplish, where it fits in with the rest of your digital content strategy, and what tools it might give you to achieve your goals that other platforms don’t.
For example, ask yourself questions like who would you like to reach that you are or aren’t already reaching on other platforms? How do your customers like to interact with you on social media? What type of connections can you make with customers and prospective customers on Facebook that you can focus on and maximize there?
Those questions will help you evaluate the best way to approach Facebook as a marketing tool. For example, some companies use Facebook to enhance a core customer base for repeat business and create a tighter bond with its existing community or fans. Developing loyalty is especially useful for smaller brands with more niche followings versus brands looking to dramatically scale up their brand awareness, fan base, and breadth of sales.
A few common marketing goals for Facebook include:
- Targeting specific customer audiences: Facebook offers tools to help you target certain customer segments with content that’s catered to them. For example, Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to reach specified customer segments—like customers who belong to specific email lists or website visitors—with ads you’ve created just for them.
- Attracting new customers: Facebook allows businesses to reach new audiences by, for example, generating post shares, encouraging user-generated content, advertising on Facebook before target audiences and those that are similar to them, engaging in influencer marketing, and getting involved in industry conversations.
- Increasing brand awareness: Facebook can be used to deepen brand awareness among new and existing customers by first showcasing key attributes that make the brand unique—like the company’s logo, images, voice, and color palettes—and then developing a content strategy that showcases the company’s culture, values, products, and team.
- Developing and fostering community: Key among the Facebook features that foster community around a brand is Facebook Groups. Companies can get involved with already-existing industry groups or create their own. These communities allow businesses to showcase their expertise, culture, and products via features like learning units, live and pre-recorded videos, conversation threads, and brand and fan posts.
- Solving customer support issues: Customers express sentiments about a brand by private messaging the brand, posting a review on the brand’s Facebook page, posting on their own page, or posting comments directly to the company’s Facebook wall. Monitoring the company page and using social listening tools to monitor brand mentions allows businesses to offer timely resolutions to customer concerns.
Your Facebook content plan can help you cultivate new customer or relationship leads while also keeping your existing customer base connected to your brand. Regardless of the goals you choose, it’s important to define them upfront so that you can craft a strategy that supports them.
2. Define Your Audience
Learning about your audience is one of the most important steps to making the most of Facebook for your business. The key is to take the necessary time to do your homework. Begin by researching your customers and creating a profile of your ideal customer and target market. This, along with your specific goals, will help you to clearly map out a strategy that helps your business reach your target audience and, in turn, your company goals.
For example, consider the following attributes of your audience:
Demographics are audience attributes like gender, age, geographic locations, median income, and occupation. For this, Facebook has its own tool they call Facebook Insights; it lets you learn more about your target demographic—including who they are, what they like (literally and figuratively), their hobbies, their hometowns, and what they buy. Start by evaluating who your target audience is, where they live, and what stage of life they are currently in.
Next, explore your target audience’s online shopping and browsing habits. Answer questions like: how and where do your customers spend time online? When do they tend to browse most, and, importantly, what other brands do they like and how are they interacting with them? Using Facebook tools and features like user interests, likes, activities, and other liked brand pages are all ways to target potential customers and gain followers.
Researching competitors is another key way to understand your existing customers and how to reach them online. Exploring your competitors’ Facebook channels will not only help guide you on what marketing tips work well, but also who their (and, by extension, your) customers are, when they interact and how often, when competitors post for optimum engagement, and the types of content you should consider creating for your own channel.
Needs & Challenges
Beyond Facebook’s proprietary tools and industry standards like Google Analytics, go a few steps further to learn about your target audience and your industry. White papers on social content consumption habits are everywhere and offer ever-changing statistics and insights to help you understand your target demographic’s social media behaviors.
Even if a study doesn’t apply to your target demographic, reading up on industry trends and the latest in the dynamic media landscape will make you better informed about how to maximize your Facebook content strategy and prompt ideas about how to communicate with your customers in new ways. Even a casual Google search can bring up studies from places like Deloitte, agencies like Chiat/Day, and organizations like the Pew Research Center.
3. Decide What Types of Pieces You Will Share
When devising a Facebook content strategy, an often-challenging task is determining what types of content to publish. The answer is, of course, determined by your goals, your target audience, your marketing strategy, and your unique brand. For example, if your goal is to build awareness, Facebook Live videos are a great option. Other content types include photos and prerecorded videos, sponsored content, and long-form posts.
Here are a few different types of content you should consider including in your strategy:
Facebook Live helps businesses forge a personal connection with existing and prospective customers by offering a proverbial “pulling back” of the curtain to make your brand feel more authentic. People who watch Facebook Live videos can engage and comment with others and enjoy real-time responses. Facebook Live event pages can offer similar transparency about who plans to go or watch, even among people who have never heard of your brand.
Photos & Videos
The most common types of posts on Facebook are photos or pre-produced videos. These allow you to highlight aspects of your business, including your products, services, or key team members. Each post is a chance to share your brand values, backstory, and products or services in a beautiful and engaging way. Quality is key here. No matter how many times you post, each one should reflect your brand at its best to maximize its appeal.
Another way to think about your content and interact with and get to know your customers at the same time is to solicit their photos, videos, and posts as a relatively free marketing strategy. Photo and video contests are one path to user content generation, while softer calls for sharing can have a more communal feel. In either case, be sure to celebrate your Facebook users with posts, products, or any other type of benefit that might make sense to your customers.
Finally, while most social channels were built with visual media in mind, blog posts and longer Facebook posts can sometimes build a connection with consumers that passing photo posts can’t. It may seem counter-intuitive, but compelling, more in-depth posts (three to five paragraphs) or links to blog posts, if executed well and in line with your brand identity, can cut through the digital noise and help users and prospective customers connect with your brand.
Paid Facebook Content
Facebook is the second-largest advertising platform after Google, meaning businesses should consider paid content as a part of a content strategy. This content type guarantees your content’s visibility before key audiences, despite Facebook’s deprioritization of organic business content in news feeds. Facebook’s paid content options include sponsored posts and ads. You should choose the right type based on your goals and target audiences.
The difference between organic and sponsored posts is that you pay for a sponsored post to appear higher in audiences’ news feeds (instead of being buried like business posts increasingly are). Though it is marked “sponsored,” it has an organic feel and people can engage with it like any other post. This type of ad is most effective if your goal is to increase engagement. The downside is this ad type offers only one format and few targeting options.
Facebook ads appear before prospective customers on Facebook and Instagram desktop news feeds, mobile news feeds, the right-hand column of news feeds, and on Facebook partners’ apps and websites. They offer many demographic targeting options and formats like carousel, video, images, and slideshows to help you achieve goals like increasing brand awareness or raising event attendance.
Pro tip: While Facebook allows you to set a campaign budget for paid ads, it is easy to lose money on ads that gain clicks but don’t convert. If you are just starting out, or do not have the time or resources to monitor your ads’ performance on a regular basis, considering hiring a Facebook ad agency like Hibu to help manage your paid content efforts.
4. Create a Content Calendar
Once you have defined your goals and your audience, establish an initial editorial calendar, up to a month ahead to start, to plan your posting schedule. A content calendar is key to helping your brand offer a consistent social media experience. In turn, publishing consistency is one of the best ways to build an audience and establish your business page as active and engaging.
While a lot of companies rely on tools as simple as Google spreadsheets, free social calendar templates are available online. You can also use software like Monday, which has project templates for managing your content calendar.
Here are a few things to think about when designing a content calendar:
- Frequency: It’s far better to publish fewer posts on a consistent basis than to post a lot, and then disappear. Decide how often to post on Facebook, and use your content calendar to guide your efforts.
- Content mix: Most businesses that are successful on Facebook share a mix of different types of content that work for their brand and audience. Your content calendar should give you an at-a-glance view of when you’re sharing different types of content.
- Collaboration: Each item on your content calendar should be assigned to a specific team member who is responsible for creating that piece of content. This will allow you to stay on top of all of the pieces you publish while knowing where they’re coming from.
- Timing: The types of content you share should be related to what else is happening in your business and your customers’ lives. For example, keep in mind events and holidays, as well as when to schedule posts for the most effective reach.
Pro tip: Once you have a template or Google document ready, lean into your research from above on general time frames in which posts have performed well for your competitors. In addition, take into account time frames that industry research has revealed work best for Facebook (for example, weekday afternoons between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., or 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., depending on your source), as well as your own observations from previous digital campaigns for your brand.
Another great idea is to use Facebook’s scheduler tool (or a third-party tool like Hootsuite) to preschedule posts. You can find this on your Facebook page, under Publishing Tools, and Create. From there, copy and paste your preplanned posts, adding the date and time of your photos and visuals.
5. Interact With Your Audience
As you start posting content, your next priority is to be proactive. That means staying engaged and monitoring your posts closely for user comments and questions, and responding in real-time as much as possible. In this way, you’ll reap the most benefit from the nature of the platform and the investment in your posts. You’ll not only be providing excellent customer service, but also helping customers feel more connected to your brand.
Here are a few great ways to drive engagement by interacting with your audience:
- Reply to comments: Most people go to Facebook to engage with their tribes and so feel a sense of community. Their tribes may be their families, friends, faith-based organizations, key local community members, fellow hobbyists, and, hopefully, your business. By having person-to-person conversations with those who engage with your brand, you contribute to this community and so become more valuable to consumers.
- Address support issues: Approximately 82% of consumers expect an instant response from the brands they contact, even on social media. And, increasingly, consumers are reaching out to brands on social media, both by posting about them on their pages and on company pages. Businesses can easily use a tool like Mention to ensure no brand mention goes unnoticed, which helps them provide the immediate responses consumers crave.
- Respond to direct messages (DMs): Responding to DMs is often easy for brands during business hours, but can be tricky when consumers contact them at 3 a.m. Still, consumers expect an immediate response. Small businesses are being proactive about this without blowing their budgets on 24/7 staff via messenger chatbots, which answer common questions and schedule responses for more complex ones.
One tool to help you be responsive and helpful is Facebook’s bot. On desktop, it pops up like a personal note from Facebook Messenger, but is automated and preprogrammed to offer specific information (like store hours, phone number, and directions), and to answer specific questions, like how to make returns or buy tickets. This can be a place to express your brand’s personality as much as any traditional post or blog.
Pro tip: Like most aspects of the medium, its social nature is a double-edged sword. Facebook may feel casual, but treat every interaction like you would any other mode of business communication: with intention and professionalism. Showing personality should still be thought out and in line with your brand identity, style, and demographic.
6. Measure ROI & Refine
As you evaluate your content strategy, look at how your content performed over the previous month, including likes, time spent, click-throughs where applicable, and conversion based on the original goals you set. Create metrics so that you’ll know if you’re reaching those goals, and whether or not you need to adjust your content strategy to better target your audience.
Here are five commonly tracked metrics that should be chosen based on your goals:
- Increase in audience size: An increase in audience size demonstrates progress towards building brand awareness.
- New leads generated: Determine how many people clicked on your posts, then followed through with offering contact information in exchange for taking advantage of a lead magnet (like downloading an e-book or signing up for a free trial).
- Post engagement and comments: Post engagement and comments help you determine if you are deepening your brand awareness among existing and potential audiences while also becoming valuable parts of consumers’ Facebook communities.
- Sharing and audience reach: When people share your posts, they expose your brand to new potential customers and build brand awareness among them. A share also offers a social endorsement for your brand content which, in turn, entices people to learn more and, thereby, deepen their brand awareness.
- Audience sentiment (mostly positive or negative): Audience sentiment is supremely important to advancing goals like brand awareness and a positive online presence that’s visible to local consumers. It can also serve to help you deliver better customer support; insights derived from these sentiments can guide your improvement strategy.
In addition to Facebook Insights, Google Analytics is a great tool to use to track everything from time spent to business page traffic patterns. You can slice and dice the data in numerous ways, from time of day to location to age. No matter which tool you use, though, the key is to glean meaning from the data and respond accordingly. Flexibility is essential.
Facebook Marketing Strategy Best Practices & Tips
Facebook is all about offering content and social experiences that are valuable to Facebook users, upholding a sense of community, and sparking meaningful connections. Brands that contribute to these goals are often favored by Facebook’s algorithms, meaning their content earns greater visibility before target audiences. They do so by applying current market research to their content, creating a community, and encouraging meaningful conversations.
Follow these three best practices and tips for the best Facebook marketing results:
1. Keep Up on Your Market Research
You should be conducting quarterly research on both your competitors and your audience to guide your next quarter Facebook content strategy. To start, remember that your competitors’ audiences are likely much like your own target audiences.
So, first learn who your competitors are by opening a free SEMRush account and typing your domain in the search bar. Scroll down to access their “Main Organic Competitor” report, which offers a list of your top competitors. Then, head over to BuzzSumo and open a free account. Type in each of their domains. Take note of competitor Facebook content that has received the most engagement, including what they’re about and how they’re presented.
Mimic what competitors are doing and create content that answers questions their followers leave in comments. While doing this, keep an eye on your Facebook analytics to determine what works for your company and what doesn’t. For example, what posts create the most engagement and positive feedback? This will help you start learning about your audience, their needs, and their preferences. Refine your strategy to accommodate these insights.
2. Create a Community
While you’re on Facebook to promote your business, consumers are there to engage with their “community.” Companies that don’t make the effort to be a valuable member of their community are often ignored. To become a community member, make an effort to connect person-to-person in real-time with followers. For example, Live Videos, in which followers ask questions and get real-time responses, are a great way to build authentic connections.
3. Find Ways to Be Visible Despite Facebook Algorithms
Mark Zuckerberg announced in 2018 that Facebook’s algorithm will prioritize posts from family and friends, rather than businesses, in Facebook news feeds. This means companies must find ways to be visible to followers, despite the algorithm changes.
To begin, share content that encourages comments; this type of engagement helps brands remain visible in news feeds by earning favor from Facebook’s algorithm as it presently operates. This is another reason why live videos and posts that include questions are popular now among brands. Other ways include engaging in Facebook Groups, as Facebook’s algorithm also favors Group content. Finally, paid content guarantees greater visibility.
Benefits of a Facebook Content Strategy
The biggest reason most businesses look at developing a content strategy for Facebook is that many of their existing customers are using the platform, and it’s a great way to target new customers. In addition, Facebook can help you to increase overall awareness of your brand among individuals who are most likely to become customers.
Here are a few specific benefits to using Facebook content marketing for your business:
- Brand awareness: Paid ads and retargeted ads help brands reach new audiences and spark interest in their brand offerings.
- Community building: Facebook allows brands to create a community around their brand via conversation-inducing content and a growing positive brand reputation.
- Buzz: Once they’ve developed a community around their brand, Facebook’s marketing tools—like their Live Video, Live Event, and paid ads—allow brands to drive participation and positive engagement around their events, sales, and product launches.
- Lead generation: Facebook offers tools to help you build a following, and then generate leads via paid ads and content engagement. For example, brands can create content that entices Facebook users to click to claim a lead magnet, like an e-book or a product demo.
- Market research: Facebook offers brands the ability to look into the everyday lives and interests of their target audiences, as well as observe how competitors interact with their target markets. In turn, brands can apply learned insights to better meet the needs and preferences of their target audiences.
Bottom Line: Lead Generation Strategies
Simply put, a Facebook content strategy is all about creating a positive brand experience with target audiences where they are—both the customers you have and the ones you want to cultivate. To make the most of your Facebook efforts, think of every interaction, every post, and every tool you use as another opportunity to reinforce a positive community around your brand and increase engagement with your existing customers as well as new leads.
It takes time and manpower to implement a content strategy. For best results, you must post consistently, engage with your community on a daily basis, measure results, and apply insights to future posts. For time-strapped businesses, Fiverr experts can help. Fiverr experts can do anything your content strategy requires, from creating graphics and setting up ads to engaging with your community, all starting at $5 per task. Click here to get started with Fiverr.