Understanding Facebook Marketing and its ROI

Today we’re taking a break from talking about Salesforce, Cloud computing, and Cloudingo and instead are focusing on the importance of Facebook Marketing.

Understanding Facebook Marketing is tougher than rawhide. This is partly because the success of a Facebook Page is measured in cycles, rather than the short campaigns your boss is familiar with – the same guy who ok’s a $100,000 budget for the marketing team won’t even spend $1,000 on content development for Facebook, and then asks you questions about Facebook ROI. We hear ya. To educate your boss, we’re outlining why Facebook is different, and explaining how your audience, visibility, engagement and growth work together in what we call the Facebook Marketing life-cycle. Remember these short, but sweet tidbits for the next time your boss questions Facebook’s ROI.

For starters, we should point out that each stage of the Facebook marketing cycle (audience, visibility, engagement, growth) directly depends on the one before it – there can be no engagement without visibility, because content has to be seen before it can be consumed and shared. A good rule of thumb is to use the Facebook data available to you to determine the weakest stages first. The success of your company page hinges upon a strong marketing cycle.

 

Audience:

We all know that reaching a brand’s target audience and converting them into paying customers is challenging. Many companies that under-invested in Facebook Pages attracted millions of fans outside their target demographic – from the stay at home mom who likes to window shop, to the 7th grader who only liked the page for a chance to win an iPad. To put it bluntly, these fans are just taking up space and the brand’s message is wasted on people who will never convert.

Instead of just looking at audience growth in terms of likes, use your Facebook demographics to compare your Facebook audience to your target audience, and set goals for growth only within the target. After all, for a company selling fancy watches, junior high school aged fans won’t drive real growth, but reaching just 3% more of their middle-aged parents could make all the difference.

 

Visibility:

This is kinda a no-brainer to people in the social media business, but for the boss who just doesn’t have time to learn all the in’s and out’s it’s helpful to outline the 3 major ways people “see” your Page.

#1 Organic Distribution. The Holy Grail of visibility. While it may be true that only a small percentage of Facebook Page’s fans see your post organically, this percentage is largely skewed due to a complex algorithm that scores relevant content and displays it according to how often the user engages in “activity” on your Page. So, engage with your audience more and as they respond so will your organic visibility.

#2 Paid Spending – Facebook Ads. When used in conjunction with your target audience parameters you’ve set up from stage one, paid advertising can be a great tool to added visibility. If you tailor your ad to be seen by people of a targeted zip code and age range, for example, this ad could really get you some great visibility.

#3 Viral Reach. When a Facebook user sees a story about a friend liking, commenting or sharing a Page’s content, this counts as Viral Reach – the number of unique people who saw the Page’s content through a story published by a friend. Viral Reach represents the “snowball effect” that sticky, sharable content has, and is one of the strongest signals of successful content.

The use of these three channels, can increase your organic visibility while still targeting your market.

 

Engagement:

It’s easy to create content for your Facebook page – but a lot more difficult to create engagement; that is likes, comments and forwards from your fans. Instead of asking yourself, “Will my fans find this article interesting?”, you should be asking, “How can my content drive my audience to share with their friends?”.  The analytics are clear: many pages show that their contact is being read but not shared, so how do you up your engagement?

Test, Analyze, Optimize. Dig out your high school science book because to raise your engagement you need to follow a variation of the Scientific Method: create a hypothesis (content), test it, measure the results, and edit and optimize accordingly. When taking these steps, you should see the engagement across your audience has gotten better and, in turn, your organic visibility is improved!

 

Growth:

It’s only natural to look at growth as the first and only measurement of success for Facebook Pages. I’m sure you’re under pressure from your ill-informed boss to get more “likes”, but Social Media experts know that “likes” isn’t the only measurement that displays success. The smartest marketers spend their time not on how to get “likes”, but rather through brainstorming questions like these:

Where is our growth coming from? For most pages, new fans don’t come from the timeline: they come from stories that appear in their friends news feeds through good engagement, or from a well written blog that has fans of its own.

Is this growth within our target audience? Yeh, it feels good when people “like” your page, but unless you break down your new audience by the targeted parameters you set up, they could just be wasting space.

Are we spotting any demographic surprises in terms of audience growth? Through running analytics you can find out if your product is doing surprising well in an area that you hadn’t really even targeted. This opens up a window or opportunity to growth your business by developing or including this new demographic into your marketing plan.

 

We hope this outline has helped you and will give you some meat to bring to the table the next time your boss asks you why he should invest in Facebook.

Next week, we will probably go back to covering Data Quality!

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