Facebook remains the undisputed Goliath of social networks. It offers marketers creative flexibility and sophisticated targeting options.
Yet with recent changes including prohibition of “like-gating” and dramatically decreased organic reach, some brands are questioning the value of the platform.
How can marketers best respond to the loss of organic exposure? What Facebook marketing tactics are most effective today? Which page apps are most helpful? What are the best tools and tactics for Facebook advertising? Or is the best course of action to focus more on other platforms?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in two dozen of the best Facebook marketing guides, tips, and rants of the past year.
Facebook Marketing Guides and Tips
8 Brilliant Facebook Marketing Tactics to Use Right Now by Social Media Today
Betsy Kent explains how to use some lesser-known Facebook marketing tactics such as copying and pasting a post to use elsewhere by clicking on the timestamp and getting the URL (“Now you can repost on other Social Media sites [such as LinkedIn] or shorten the URL and use it on Twitter”), and determining the best time of day to post by looking at your Facebook Insights.
The End of the Facebook Like-Gate Era: What Marketers Need To Know by V3 Integrated Marketing
Shelly Kramer lists several of the most common “like-gating” tactics no longer allowed by Facebook (including offers to free access to special content in exchange for a “like,” sweepstakes or contests, giveaways, or polls where visitors have to “like” your page in order to vote), and provides guidance on what to do in place of these now-banned activities.
Essential Facebook Marketing Resources: A Complete Guide by Social Media Examiner
Want to learn how to market your brand on Facebook? Lisa D. Jenkins here collects more than three dozen categorized resources to help everyone from newbies to experienced Facebook marketers up their games. The articles are grouped into categories including getting buy-in, marketing with your personal profile, creating a Facebok business page, using Facebook’s tools, running contests, and understanding Facebook advertising.
Organic Reach on Facebook: Your Questions Answered by Facebook for Business
Facebook’s Brian Boland contends that organic reach is not “dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money,” but rather because 1) there is now much more content being shared on Facebook, and 2) Facebook has responded by changing the way News Feed works—using “thousands of factors relative to each person” in order to surface the most valuable and engaging content for each user.
Infographic: How to Get More Facebook Likes by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal
Jim Dougherty shares an infographic outlining several tactics for increasing page likes, such as using email: “Invite your email subscribers via email, provide them with a description and an incentive to like your page” (being careful not to violate the rules outlined by Shelly Kramer above)…”According to HubSpot, 80% of social media users like to connect with brands via Facebook.”
How to Compare Your Facebook Page With the Competition by Social Media Examiner
Frequent best-of honoree Ian Cleary reviews five tools “to help you compare your Facebook Page against competitors and identify tactics to help you improve your Facebook marketing,” including Fanpage Karma, a freemium tool that provides a wealth of competitive Facebook stats like fans, growth, ad value, response rate, post interaction, and page performance (which “is calculated using a combination of the growth of fans and engagement and is scored out of 100”).
What 11 Experts Are Saying About Facebook Marketing by Louder Online
Aaron Agius shares tips on how to get more out of your Facebook marketing efforts from top experts including JD Lasica (“To attract customers and generate sales, you first have to show customers that you aren’t just interested in selling them something. You have to build that trust”…[so, for example] “Highlight your vendors’ successes and talk about good customers. Stick with JD’s rule of thumb above-4:1 status to promo ratio [and] focus on providing value”) and the brilliant Mari Smith, who explains why and how to post effectively outside of regular business hours.
A four-step antidote for declining Facebook reach by Ragan’s PR Daily
Mairead Ridge offers practical tips illustrated by an accompanying infographic “to help you reclaim your brand’s digital reach lost to Facebook’s changing algorithm.” Among the recommendations here: test a variety of content types (“Monitor the differing engagement levels of status updates, photos, videos, and links”), share links, and diversify your channels (e.g., “Create Web versions of your emails, and include ‘share’ buttons”).
How to Make Your Facebook Marketing Work for B2B by Social Media Examiner
Ben Harper details four tips to help maximize results from Facebook marketing, such as creating and curating thoughtful content: “When you understand how your B2B audience reacts to content on Facebook, you can start creating content they want to share—the kind of content that lets them reinforce their own interests and expertise.”
Guides and Tips for Facebook Pages and Apps
New Facebook page layout: 18 things you need to know by Agora Pulse
Richard Beeson steps through 18 key page layout changes implemented by Facebook in the summer of 2014, among them three changes to the ways apps are displayed (“Apps tabs are still present on your page, but they are below the fold…All apps are still in the top menu, but hidden behind the ‘more’ dropdown…[and] You can have one app featured on the main menu, above the fold, but only one, and no sexy visuals here”). He explains the details behind and ramifcations of each change.
The new layout for Facebook brand Pages: what you need to do by Smart Insights
While the post above focused on what was changed, this article from Marie Page details four areas in which marketers should make changes (or at least check to be sure all is still working) in response to Facebook’s page layout changes. For example, with regard to your Facebook page cover image, “Although the dimensions of your cover image are still fine, you may well find that content is now hidden by some of the new features.” She shows how elements can be rearranged to take advantage of this modification.
15 Types of Facebook Apps to Enhance Your Facebook Page by Social Media Examiner
Noting that “Facebook apps let you customize your Facebook page in many ways,” Andrea Vahl shares “15 ways Facebook apps can enhance and customize your Facebook page.” Among her categories of useful apps are custom tab apps (“you can use them to create so many different things. For example, you could include an image, a restaurant menu, a video, and an opt-in form on a single custom tab to basically install a mini-website on Facebook”), email capture forms, blog / RSS feed apps, and job listing apps.
Facebook Advertising Guides and Tips
15 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Ads by Social Media Examiner
Rocco Alberto Baldassarre details 15 techniques for getting better performance and ROI from Facebook ads, among them keeping mobile and desktop ads separate; installing a conversion pixel (with instructions on how to do this); and testing bidding strategies (“Test different bidding methods to find out what reduces the cost per conversion but still gets enough volume. I recommend starting with CPC and conversion optimizer”).
Facebook Getting Closer to Being an Entirely Paid Media Site for Brands? by Strut Marketing
Yes, everyone knows that organic reach has been greatly diminished for brands on Facebook, but what’s really behind this? Steve Goldner speculates that there are several reasons (including Wall Street pressure), but believes “If you lump all of the issues together, the key fact that emerges is that most Facebook users are turned off by brand interruption in their social platform.” He explains four important impacts of these changes on how you should approach social media marketing.
Here’s What Happens When Facebook Advertising Fails by KISSmetrics
Expanding on Steve Goldner’s post above, Sherice Jacob observes with regard to diminished organic reach that “The brand wants the viewers’ eyeballs, the viewer wants the brand to give them something more relevant.” She then offers three approaches designed to please both sides, incuding link posts: she cites recent research which found that “of posts made by fifteen different major brands, text-based updates dropped 65%, video and photo-based updates stayed about the same, and link-based posts jumped 30%.”
How to Use Facebook Ads for Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide by Content Marketing Institute
Noting that “Successful content marketing isn’t always just about the content. Sometimes the marketing aspect (i.e., WPO) needs to take center stage,” James Scherer points out that Facebook ads remain “one of the cheapest ways to increase brand awareness” and details how Facebook ads work, how Facebook’s ad auction works, how to use Facebook’s targeting options, how to generate leads from your content, and how to retarget lost readers.
Ben Harper (again) details how a three-step process combining data insight, smarter targeting, and aggressive optimization can lead to as much as “70% reductions in CPA through Facebook adverts.” The process begins with a data phase in order “to gain a deep audience understanding so that you can more effectively target your campaigns. By drawing out audience insight, you can identify where your audience are active, and identify lower competition targeting segments.”
Guest author Amanda Webb reviews three useful Facebook ad tools (two of which are free), explaining how each works; for example, Social Stats “assesses how much you should spend on your advertising campaign, depending on the size of your audience…When you are planning a Facebook advertising campaign, one of the hardest questions to answer is how much should you spend, and there is no simple answer to this. If you are very specific with your targeting, a little can go a long way.”
9 Facebook hacks that will blow your mind by iMedia Connection
David Zaleski explains how to use several interesting capabilities of Facebook many users may not be aware of, such as how to embed a Facebook post onto your website (also noting that “Visitors can also like your page right from the embedded post”), how to use Facebook Insights to determine the best times to post (based on when your fans are online), and how to track the level of “like” activity on competitor or friend pages.
Easier, More Effective Ways to Reach the Right People on Facebook by Facebook for Business
This post explains how to use four main targeting types: location, demographic, interests and behaviors—plus Partner Categories in the U.S.—to target Facebook ads more effectively. Within location, for example, “you can build campaigns around any combination of geographies: country and city (France and London), country and state (Canada and New York), state and city (California and Las Vegas), state and ZIP code (US only), etc. It’s also easier to exclude certain areas i.e., New York City, except 11211, or the UK, excluding Cambridge.”
Brian Carter calls Facebook Ads “the biggest marketing opportunity ever,” based on their exposure potential (“they can reach as many people or more people as radio or TV, and in whatever country”), sophisticated targeting options, and low cost. While the economic of Facebook ads have changed a bit since this post was written, the essential points still hold.
And Finally…Not Fans of Facebook
‘Facebook Zero’: The End Of Social Media Engagement by The Holmes Report
Arun Sudhaman analyzes the changes to organic reach implemented by Facebook in the spring of 2014, reporting on research showing “marketers can now reach just 6% of their fans via organic reach, a decline of 49% from last October’s peak” (and the situation’s gotten no better since then). He quotes Forrester that “Facebook has abandoned social marketing” in favor of an ad-driven model, and notes Ogilvy is now “encouraging clients to look more closely at other social networks, particularly Twitter and Instagram and, for B2B players, LinkedIn.”
Why You Should Forget Facebook by LinkedIn Pulse
Jeff Bullas (who knows a thing or two about social media) quantifies the drop in organic reach on Facebook, and points out that brands like Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, and Charity Engine are either quitting Facebook or focusing more on other content and social channels. He then outlines “two key strategies that you can pursue” in response to Facebook’s declining reach, and three tactics for earning free traffic outside of Facebook.
Is Facebook afraid of its future? by iMedia Connection
“Facebook has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately,” according to Brian Easter. He speculates about the motives behind the giant social network’s recent moves, and wonders if the company’s leadership will find their higher purpose, or if instead of “trying to build a great company, Facebook leadership decided to monetize everything they could, in every way they could, before they join AOL and MySpace as ‘has been’ tech giants?”