Facebook marketing has been a growing priority for a lot of businesses for the past decade, making the competition for user attention fiercer by the day. As the demand has increased, organic reach has taken a nosedive, making it harder for brands to connect in meaningful ways with their target audience.
In 2019, that competition is only going to get tougher. There’s no room to rely on half-hearted strategies and just post a few times a week when inspiration strikes. Brands are going to need to have specific, dedicated strategies that all appeal to what users want to see most: authentic, valuable connections with the brands they want to trust.
We can help you do that. These 9 Facebook marketing strategies are going to be essential in helping you get the results you want in 2019 and beyond.
1. Build Communities with Groups
Facebook groups were originally created so that users of like interests could connect, coordinate, and communicate. The group features have grown exponentially in the past few years, and creating a branded group is now one of the best strategies out there.
We’ve seen a big shift in recent years in what users want from brands. They don’t just want updates on upcoming sales; they’re looking for authenticity and transparency. People want relationships, and joining branded groups gives them an inside, exclusive feel that opens the door for that relationship they’re looking for.
Groups are an excellent opportunity to establish communities around your brand too, making it more powerful. Users aren’t as likely to swap to a competitor over a simple 10% discount if they get value from the group.
Purple Carrot, for example has a group exclusively for subscription members.Through the group, people are able to reach out to and get responses from the brand’s customer support team. Customers share pictures of the subscription meals they make, swap tips for vegan cooking, and get help when needed. There’s a lot of value there, making the subscription more valuable, too.
When creating groups for your brand, remember that the key is that value. You want to be immediately accessible to your customers here and foster conversation that isn’t only centered around your brand. This will keep people coming back for more than just basic customer service.
2. Partner Up with Other Businesses
Influencer marketing is great, but sometimes a better bet will actually be to partner up with other businesses. Teaming up with businesses who share your target audience– either in location or in interests– is a strong strategy for gaining new followers and getting more engagement on your content.
This tip is particularly powerful for smaller, local businesses. When one posts about how great another local business is, their audience will see it as a trusted referral. Few businesses, after all, are willing to stake their reputation on one they don’t trust themselves.
Partnerships with other businesses could include:
- Hosting contests requiring participants follow both businesses, with both partners contributing to the prize.
- Sharing each other’s content and events on Facebook, adding additional comments on why it’s valuable to your audience.
- Hosting events together in-store, or participating in a charity together.
- Going live together to answer questions that customers may have.
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3. Go Live
Live video is an important strategy in Facebook marketing. Your followers will be notified when you go live, instantly demanding their attention even while organic reach on other content decreases. They’ll also have the chance to engage with you during a live broadcast, asking questions and leaving comments that you can address in real time. There’s relationship building opportunities there, and the fact that you’re actually right there, live and accessible, counts for a lot.
The “live” part of the equation is key here. Social Media Examiner recently found that very few people were watching replays of live videos, so you need to get as many live viewers as possible to see an impact from these campaigns. Conversional live content had higher viewer retention rates and triggered a lot of engagement.
No matter what you choose to go live for, make sure that you have a clear agenda. Popular options for live videos include:
- Interviews with influencers, customers, or members in the industry
- Big announcements
- Sharing industry tips and news
Before you go live, announce it and let users know what you’re going to be talking about, and even schedule lives in advance. If it’s going to be a Q&A, you can even take questions in advance so that you’ve got some content prepared even if it takes a little while for people to show up and start engaging. This way, you can even pepper in some of the “questions” you’d like people to ask so you have your own answers.
You should also always prepare. Know basically what you want to say and how you want to say it. You don’t need to be scripted, but you should be comfortable knowing what you want to go over so you don’t freeze one the broadcast starts.
4. Boost Posts to Leverage Social Proof
Most businesses think of Facebook Ads only as a tool to help them make more direct sales, but promoting organic posts has strong benefits, too.
When you promote organic posts either through the “Boost Post” option or by creating Engagement campaigns through the Ads Manager, you can pay to have a live, organic post promoted to users within your designated audience. That post will be featured in its entirety– social proof and all.
Pay to promote high-performing organic posts that your audience has responded to, especially if there are positive comments. People seeing your ad for the first time will see all that social proof and be more inclined to check out what you have to say and trust it the first time around.
This strategy will also help you accumulate more social proof, too; the extra likes, comments, and shares you get on the ad will all benefit you, and you’ll be able to build more momentum overall.
5. Invest in Video
Even though Facebook has been inflating video ad metrics for awhile, native video is still valuable and should be a priority in 2019. Users are going to be more willing to sit through a thirty second video than they are to read a block of text, and video is much more efficient at quickly and intuitively conveying emotion, tone, and even branding than text.
Video has a lot of uses, including product promotion and conveying big announcements. One of the best uses for video on social media, however, will be utilizing storytelling to build and strengthen your brand.
Create videos of events you host, showing behind-the-scenes events or the attendee’s experience. Walk customers through your store or your office, or introduce them to your employees.
An excellent strategy is to create a branded video sharing your business’s story and pin it to the top of your Facebook feed for maximum impact. This will help new users get to know you quickly, and you’ll get to control one of the first things they see when they land on your page.
When creating videos on social media, keep in mind that shorter videos will have the best performance. You want to keep them to under two minutes, as people won’t typically watch long-form video on Facebook the same way they do as YouTube.
6. Offer Exclusive, Transparent Insight Into Your Business
Even though business is all about transactions, no one wants to feel like they don’t matter when they’re spending money with you. They like to see their money going to support real people, and they want to know more about who they’re purchasing from.
Transparency is a big theme in a lot of the strategies we’re discussing in this post, and being as transparent as possible (and as is smart) will benefit you on social media. Share those pictures of your family, post a picture of the morning briefing where everyone’s got a donut in hand, and feature “how it’s made” content that shows users exactly how you create the products you’re selling.
This is the sort of content people can’t get elsewhere, and it’s what they want to see and engage with on social media. These posts are also going to emotionally resonate with your audience, creating a stronger bond between you and them in the process.
7. Show the Good You’re Doing
With so many options available to them and the state of the world in a sometimes perilous position, customers are wanting to do good with the money they have– even when they’re getting products and services in return.
Increasing numbers of consumers are willing to spend more with ethical businesses who are trying to do good in the world, whether they’re raising money to fight child hunger or just focusing on sustainable shipping practices to help the environment.
Showcase the good that you’re doing with your business. Share photos and videos detailing what you’re doing and explaining why it matters. If you can, tie it back to your brand’s mission.
In addition to helping you get plenty of engagement on social media, this will help you to bolster your brand and sell more, too.
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8. Use Pages To Their Fullest
Your Facebook Page can do a lot for you. Are you using it to its fullest potential?
In some cases, the best move for your Page will be to simply fill out the “About” section and link a website, but many brands might benefit more from using additional features, including:
- Storefronts on Facebook, giving you the ability to sell on-platform or feature your products and send users to your site to purchase. This ability lets you tag product in pictures and videos.
- You can add tabs showcasing your other social channels, including Pinterest and YouTube, increasing your following across multiple platforms and using the content there to engage users on Facebook, too.
- Having customized tabs or information available based on your industry. Restaurants, for example, can upload menus to detail their current offerings and entice customers.
- Enabling reviews so that people can sing your praises publicly. This can improve your visibility in search rankings and establish valuable social proof.
- Utilizing the job postings feature to find the right applicants and get them to apply.
If there’s something that you’d like your Facebook Page to accomplish, look and see if there are any features that you might be missing. There’s no need to add on information, tabs, or features that don’t benefit you, but use the ones that do.
9. Center UGC In Your Campaign
User-generated content is widely trusted, and in my experience it always performs exceptionally well when shared on Facebook. People like to see that you’re engaging with your community and valuing their contributions to your business.
User-generated content isn’t typically shared on Facebook as frequently as it is on Instagram, especially in photo form. To counteract that, pull images that you get from other platforms and share it on Facebook. You can also add text from reviews that were left to an image of your own, thanking and tagging the user who left the raving testimonial.
Engagement-oriented posts are also an excellent way to collect UGC in the form of customer stories. Every gym and fitness studio I’ve ever participated in has had posts asking questions like “What’s your why? Share your story with us.” People eagerly respond with long, emotional stories about how the studio changed their life, which is a fantastic way to promote your business. A portion of their friends will likely see that comment in their feeds, acting as a powerful testimonial, and anyone coming to your page and considering doing business with you will be persuaded more easily after reading that.
In many cases, sharing UGC will encourage the creation of additional user-generated content from your followers, helping you to sustain an entire UGC campaign. Make sure that you frequently put out detailed, specific calls for user-generated content and how you want your followers to share it with you.
Important Facebook Marketing Best Practices for 2019
We’ve now looked at 9 different essential strategies that you should consider using heavily in 2019, but what about general best practices? As we move into the new year, take these Facebook marketing best practices into consideration for best results:
- Don’t just share the same exact post across multiple platforms. This just doesn’t work for brands. Each platform has its own best practices, after all, and with it being so difficult to show up in users’ feeds, you don’t want to waste an opportunity to share new information with them. Create different versions of each post for each platform, and you’ll get better results.
- Hashtags still aren’t a thing on Facebook. Keep them to Instagram and Twitter.
- Customer service expectations are high. Really, really high. Users are expecting near-immediate responses, whether they’re messaging you privately or complaining very, very publicly. Keep that in mind, and know that Facebook should be a customer service channel before a sales channel.
- Best posting times still matter. Even though the algorithms throw content all out of whack, if you post at peak activity times for your audience, it can get more momentum early on, gaining traction and helping it get more visibility overall.
Watch your competition. Even Facebook’s native Insights have a feature where you can track how you’re standing up against your competition. Remember that vanity metrics aren’t as valuable as engagement rate; if your competition is posting more often than you and has more followers, but you have a higher engagement rate, you’re still likely winning that race.
Facebook marketing has been important for awhile, but the strategies have changed drastically over the past few years. Brands can’t rely on just spitting out updates a few times a day and hoping that alone is enough; you need to have specific, actionable strategies that prioritize value creation, establishing relationships, and building communities. The strategies and best practices discussed in this post will carry you into 2019 and set you up for success.