It is 2019 and Facebook is not the super-value marketing buy it was from 2014 to 2016. Despite the scandals in the news, the talk of users abandoning the platform, and changes coming, it is still an established social network. This may seem counter-intuitive, but if your target market includes consumers of products or services in localized markets, Facebook should get a large percent of your marketing budget this year. Here’s why.
Yes, Internet media markets have grown and changed dramatically. People have a lot of choices for staying connected or finding entertainment or news. Consumers are often so overwhelmed with ads, when they sign into Facebook and elsewhere, that they may feel like they’re being stalked (i.e. remarketing*). But you can still use the platform effectively, and your audience will love you. How? It’s simple. Don’t be a jerk. Provide value. Tell a story. Respect your audience, and they’ll respond to you.
To rise above the noise, consider changing your strategic approach, visual formats, and overall content tone. Even if what you did six to twelve months ago was working, do it differently now. I’ll get into the details about what you should do in a minute, but first, here’s some important background.
Facebook still has value as a marketing tool because:
1. All the data Facebook collected about users is still there. It hasn’t gone anywhere.
- It’s true that many users are responding to the negative news, adjusting their settings, and even abandoning Facebook altogether.
- Yet the users who stay are very viable prospects to hear your message, if it is handled correctly.
2. The platform has some of the best audience targeting abilities of any marketing outlet.
- You want to find more customers like your existing ones. As an advertiser, you can upload your client list to build “Custom Audiences” on Facebook. This is how you find your clients – and target people similar to them – through your posts.
- This tool is still available. What’s new is that as an advertiser, you are now more accountable for where the list came from and if you actually own that contact. This is especially true if you partner with an outside list broker (meaning, what they are selling you is people who said it is okay to advertise to them).
- The agency, such as C3 Advertising, or the broker is also accountable and has to guarantee that they took steps to verify the list used. (I know, this seems so obvious. As professional direct response marketers, we have always done this. Yet the actions of robocall companies and other unscrupulous players have shined a light on bad advertising practices)
- Now, when you turn a Facebook post into an ad, there are links attached for “transparency” showing an information pop up about why the ad is showing up in someone’s newsfeed.
- And, even if the contact is told they are an existing customer, they can choose to block that ad or even block you ever advertising again to them on Facebook. Users have more control, as they should.
- If you follow Facebook rules, you can continue advertising without being labeled a bad actor. More trust can lead to better response rates.
3. Yes, Facebook is adding restrictions and requiring more transparency on who is advertising.
- To stay in business in 2019, they have to do this.
- As Mark Zuckerberg told Congress when asked how his company could be sustainable as a ‘free’ service, “Senator, we run ads.”
- If you radically change your approach, the requirements can actually be an advantage for you.
So, what are the best moves today for a small to medium size business (SMB)?
1. Be more strategic: Revisit and change how you think about and target your prospect audience. What’s old is not new again.
- Have you really identified who your best customers – the profitable ones – are currently?
- What do they value most about you or your business? Don’t assume. Ask them. And keep asking them. And reward them for their answers.
- Build a fresh profile of who you need to reach.
- Then, apply the “new model” to how you use Facebook.
2. Position yourself and your team as very knowledgeable in your category.
- Trust: Am I being authentic and true to myself, my team, and clear on the businesses core value? Stop selling. Start advising and giving value.
- Don’t be afraid to give “free advice”, even if advice is part of your business model. Most people do not know how to act on the information themselves, and will not try. But they will know that you are the expert who can help them.
3. Target, target, target.
Targeting still matters, whether you sell locally, nationally, or internationally.
- Your audience location should change how you use your budget. If you’re in a metro suburb or outside of a commercial or tech hub, be sure to also target where your customers and prospects work, not just where they live. These days, people search for personal needs while they’re at work, and for work needs while they’re at home.
- Unless you are an internet e-commerce retailer, think of far-out distance from your location as broader branding at a lower unit cost.
- If you’re a service or retail business that is targeting a local audience,
- Get specific about your demographics.
- Spend a bit more.
- Find your best new customers.
- Rinse and Repeat.
4. Think Billboards
- Social Media is becoming more focused on images and short messages. That doesn’t mean abandoning longer content entirely; it just means that leading with the shorter message will be more effective than a longer post. For example, your Facebook post might be shorter and snappier than before but lead to more info or detail on a page on your website.
- For videos and photos, the goal is to grab attention quickly, in a way that’s intriguing and on brand. In the 21st century, the most expensive personal commodity anybody possesses is their time. Make them glad they’re spending it on your content.
5. Repurpose Your Content
Do not create ANY marketing item only for Facebook. Always be thinking about how to reuse your content in more than one place. Ask yourself these questions:
- If I create a 3 to 12-minute expert advice video or brief customer story, where else can I use it?
- Can I use this content, with minor reformatting on Instagram and YouTube and in LinkedIn articles?
- Is my audience also on Snapchat or an emerging social creators platform like TikTok or something else? (Yes, adults 25 and over are using these alternative platforms more often now)
Repurposing content will help stretch your budget and expose your business to more prospects. And the more you test on additional social media, the more data you will gather.
The important takeaways are:
- Revisit your marketing message. Is it still getting traction?
- Look at your audience. Are you going after the right prospects?
- Give away useful information for free. New customers will seek you out because they see your value as a trusted advisor.
So, should I market my business on Facebook in 2019?
The answer is: absolutely.
Facebook Remarketing: From Facebook to your website and back again. Use it strategically and sparingly. (How to do it right and…ahem, not be a jerk)
Google’s definition of remarketing, from the business owners’ perspective:
Remarketing is a way to connect with people who previously interacted with your website or mobile app. It allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse Google, or partner websites, thus helping you increase your brand awareness or remind those audiences to make a purchase.
Becky Remy is the Senior Strategist and Social Media Director for C3 Advertising. A strategic, data-informed, integrated-marketing professional with wide experience, Becky helps craft marketing and media plans for C3 clients, handles direct mail production products, and manages C3 Advertising’s digital ad campaigns in search and social media.
Becky’s advertising experience includes work for United Airlines, Inuit, Looped LOGIC, Pacific Pro Realty, and many more clients that range from financial institutions to video game companies. She is also a licensing expert, with experience developing, producing, and marketing licensed products with Disney, Hasbro, and the University of Notre Dame, among others.
For the C3 Advertising team, Becky’s depth of knowledge means that often the shortest path to getting something done is to say, “Ask Becky”. She either knows the answer off the top of her head, or she knows where to find it. She is unflappable in a crisis and great at keeping the rest of the team on schedule and in the loop. Most important, of course, she gets the client’s objectives and always makes innovative and creative recommendations to meet them.