You can spend a lot of time on social media and Facebook marketing. This post can help you better understand and focus on important indicators in your social media marketing efforts, from algorithms to zealots, and everything in between.
This post originally appeared on The Design School Blog at Canva. Reposted with permission.
Facebook wasn’t the first social network, but it has been around since 2004, which makes it fairly ancient by Internet standards. As such, Facebook has been through changes and growth and has become one of the more complicated social networks, and it doesn’t offer much by way of automation.
But there’s no doubt that Facebook marketing can help you build your band’s brand and reach, so keep reading to learn about the many components that go into a successful Facebook marketing campaign — from A to Z!
For over five years now, Facebook hasn’t shown its newsfeed to users in chronological order. Instead, Facebook has been perfecting an algorithm for selecting the updates that appear in the newsfeed.
This is important because every time you log on to Facebook, between 1,500 and 15,000 new updates have been created by your friends and pages you follow. You can’t possibly scroll through all those updates every time you log in, so Facebook uses key factors like engagement to determine what is shown to each user.
After you post an update to your personal or artist page, you have the option to boost it. Boosts can be an effective means to reach and grow your audience when used correctly. Sometimes, if an update is particularly successful, Facebook will prompt you to boost it to reach a broader audience.
Your call-to-action button is among the series of buttons at the bottom of your page’s cover photo (left of the Like button). It won’t be there by default, you need to set it when you are configuring your page. You can drive your Facebook page visitors to purchase your latest CD, download a single, sign up for your newsletter, or perform whatever action you are promoting.
It is important to engage and encourage discussion in your community, either by asking questions or making statements that incite commentary. Indeed, comments can be one of the most enthralling parts of a Facebook update. You can even be provocative and create a bit of healthy controversy just to get people talking.
As mentioned in the discussion section above, engagement is king on Facebook. While the algorithm function helps, it will only show your update to a subset of your total fans. You have to earn a greater organic reach by proving that your updates are engaging, inciting likes and other reactions, comments, shares, and clicks. Put simply, the more your fans engage with your updates, the more people will see them.
Frequency is an important and largely underappreciated statistic that you can find in Ad Manager. It tells you how many times, on average, the users you’ve targeted have seen your ads.
You don’t want it to be too low, as people might miss your ad the first or second time they get an ad impression. On the other hand, you don’t want your frequency to be too high, because that means same people are repeatedly seeing your ads. AdEspresso recommends making changes to your campaigns when your frequency hits 5, and never letting it go above 10.
If your fans are taking the time to engage with you — commenting on your posts, writing on your page, or sending you messages — you should acknowledge the time they took to write to you and respond in some way. Facebook actually puts a visible metric on your response rate. If you have a response rate over 90% and an average response time of 15 minutes, you will earn the coveted green “very responsive to messages” badge.
Humor is a great unifier. Don’t you want to be the brand that puts a smile on someone’s face? Not every update ought to be a joke, but memes, funny quotes, and hilarious videos are something we all appreciate from time to time. These types of updates, used with moderation and focusing on a type of humor your particular audience can appreciate, are great for earning engagement and shares.
Insights are Facebook’s version of analytics. Learn from your successes and failures by analyzing how your updates performed after the fact. You can access Insights by clicking the tab for them at the top of your page.
Pay special attention to your recent updates that earned especially high reach and engagement. When did you post them? What kind of posts were they? Use this information to inform future posts.
Use your best judgment to determine what is and is not appropriate for your audience. Be cautious of being labeled a copycat, as over-using holiday themes, current events, and passing trends for your marketing campaigns can backfire. Be choosey about which bandwagons you jump onto, and be willing to blaze your own trail from time to time.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator, which are the metrics that tell you how your Facebook page is performing, and it goes beyond just your number of likes. How big of a reach are you managing on the average post? How much and what kind of engagement are you getting? How much traffic is Facebook sending to your website? These are important numbers to understand if you are relying on Facebook marketing to build your brand.
This is perhaps the most predictable statement in this entire post: likes are important. Likes are the social currency of Facebook. Don’t dilute your numbers with fake fans: it’s disrespectful to your true fans, and it will likely backfire. By filling your roster with fake fans, your reach and engagement will drop because the supply of people who will actually see and interact with your updates will be smaller. Earn your likes and fans by posting valuable content.
Close to half of Facebook’s users only ever use Facebook from a mobile device – a phone or tablet versus a computer. This is why it is increasingly important to have a mobile-friendly website, phone-friendly updates, and embrace newsfeed ads which can actually reach users on mobile devices.
The newsfeed is the primary location from which most of your fans will interact with your posts. It is so easy for a Facebook user to find themselves just mindlessly scrolling down the newsfeed. The Facebook algorithm determines what is shown a newsfeed, balancing all the posts from a user’s network of friends with the occasional post from a page or ad. If you are earning more engagement with your updates, they are more likely to appear here.
Open graph meta tags help you control how your website content appears when shared on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. You can get as granular as setting a default photo to load in when someone shares your URL, as well as an article title and description specific to Facebook. If you are running your site on WordPress, the free plugin Yoast SEO has a tab for setting Facebook’s open graph meta tags built in.
Share the most eye-catching, unique, and relevant images you can. Original imagery is more likely to garner attention than the same stock photos everyone else is using, but you want to make sure those photos are high quality. Whenever possible, always post an image with the updates you make as they will increase the screen real estate your update occupies in the newsfeed, making it more likely to be seen. If you don’t like the default image that is being pulled in from the URLs you share, you can replace them by clicking the plus icon and uploading a new image.
Quality vs. Quantity
Posting on Facebook is a balance of quality versus quantity. On one hand, your updates do not reach a very large subset of your followers, so posting more often should conceivably help you connect with more of your fans on a regular basis. However, when you constantly post content, it is difficult to maintain the quality you want associated with your brand. Strike a balance early on, and while you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment, when you find something that works, stay consistent.
Organic reach is the number of people your updates are shown to for free. It is surprisingly small, and getting smaller all the time; one study puts it at 2.6% on average in 2015. Paid reach is the audience you pay for with ads or boosted posts. To increase your reach, post engaging updates that people are more likely to react to, click on, comment on, or share.
Inspiring your fans to share your posts is one of the fastest ways to get an update to reach a larger audience. If your fans share your update, some of their friends will see it, and those friends may in turn pass it on to their own fans. But it isn’t as simple as just asking your audience to share, you need to post something that people want to share with their friends. That could be something useful, something unbelievable, something funny – it varies with every audience. Again, you need to experiment, there’s no exact science to it.
Facebook has some of the most sophisticated targeting options in the marketing world. Choosing your audience properly can be difficult, but it is of vital importance. Go too broad, and you may reach people who are not interested in your message, which is a waste of your money. Go too narrow, and you will pay more than necessary, or miss your ideal audience entirely.
Your updates need to be user-centric. Don’t post something self-promotional every time you update. Whether it’s inspiring images, interesting videos, or the latest news in your industry, your fans want to see more than just links to your website. Whatever you post, make sure that first and foremost, you are thinking about what your fans will get out of it.
Thanks to the fact that videos on Facebook auto-play, videos are perhaps the most engaging type of update. Videos regularly reach a greater percentage of fans on the pages I manage than other types of posts, like photos or links. In 2015, Facebook users watched over 100 million hours of video on Facebook.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to grow an audience naturally. People trust the opinions of their friends. You can benefit from this social proof by targeting some of your ads to your fan’s friends. These ads will stay front and center, and indicate which of their friends like the page, which is a really powerful motivator.
X Marks the Spot
No, there is no secret treasure map that will tell you exactly how to target your ads, or when to post your updates to catch most of your fans online. It will take careful analysis of your Insights, and experimentation, to discover what works. One of the best things you can do to chart your course is to take notes on your most successful updates and ads, and see if you can replicate them in the future.
Your updates should always address the “you,” not the “me.” Use second person, not first person, to make a stronger connection with your audience. This is just good copywriting!
Where your Facebook marketing is concerned, you absolutely want a fanatical following of brand zealots who comment positively on your updates, share your posts, and spread the good word to their friends. These are your SuperFans. Do your best to cultivate your fans, turning them into raving fans. They are some of the best assets a brand can have.
Adrienne Branson is a freelance writer who contributes to The Design School Blog at Canva. She grew up enthralled by the Internet and social media. She loves a well-organized Pinterest board, walking her dogs, and following the music scene in her city.
Five facts about your favorite social media platform: Part 1
Setting up a call to action on your Facebook artist page
Permission marketing and the new music business
How to measure success (with key performance indicators)
The musician’s social media checklist