Last week, I began working on my first commercial Facebook marketing project, but faced difficulties deciding where to begin. After doing some research and brainstorming, I came up with 10 questions that I feel all initial Facebook marketing plans should address. Should you find them not useful, let me know in the comments below.
In no order of importance, the questions are:
1) What are your philosophies behind Facebook marketing?
Thinking through and communicating your philosophy behind Facebook marketing is crucial. Doing so aligns your interests, visions and beliefs with your teammates and those you are working with in the company. It helps both you and your company understand your marketing efforts better and gives you a direction to move towards.
For instance, in managing my client’s Facebook, I proposed a more experimental and consistent approach. Like scientific experiments, our Facebook marketing begins with goals-setting, hypothesis-testing, observing, tracking, monitoring, reporting and then making changes to the implementation. These efforts should be regular and consistent so that our efforts do not go to waste and can build on to become something better.
2) Who are the stakeholders and audience we want to reach out to?
Before I dived into goal-setting with my client, I needed to make sure that we know exactly who we are trying to reach out to. Without knowing who you want to build relationships with, it’s hard to define your goals and actions.
It is also very common to have multiple audiences. My client defined 2 different audience segments and further divided a segment into 2 different groups, before subdividing them into another 3 sub-groups. For illustrative purposes, this is what it looked like:
With the above diagram, our target audience segments became clearer. For example, we might write a message targeted at current exchange students or incoming local students. Having a clear and defined target audience segments gives you parameters to tailor your message to the specific target audience.
If you have a brand with an existing social media presence, I would also suggest analysing your current audience’s demographics using Peek. Peek offers insights into your social audience and returns very detailed breakdown of your audience’s demographics. This exercise visualizes your current social audience and allows you to compare them with who you were trying to reach with your previous social media efforts.
3) What are your reasons for choosing Facebook?
Also, I questioned (in good nature) the decision for my client to market on Facebook. Regardless of how ubiquitous Facebook might be, it is not for everyone, and certainly not for every brand. The same goes for Youtube, Twitter and any other popular social media platform.
Reasons for your brand to adopt any social media platform should be customer-led. If your customers, audience and prospects are not on Facebook, then don’t invest in Facebook. Go find them where they are and participate in that community. The returns will be higher in the long-term.
The next thing to consider is your brand’s ultimate goal for choosing Facebook. For my client, the ultimate goal was to increase its long-term brand value. Your goal could be promotional in nature or increasing sales, etc. It could be an increase in 500K sales via Facebook in the next year, or 1 million new fans who become aware of your company or cause. Either way, you need to define them and this will become your overarching direction guiding your ongoing marketing efforts.
4) What is your goal for each target audience?
In the question above, I asked “what is your goal” and not “what are your goals”. The reason is simple. It is easier to focus on just one goal at a time for each target audience. This singular focus also simplifies the actions and steps you need to take to accomplish your goal.
5) How will you achieve your goal for each target audience?
This is the pre-execution phase. You’ll need to map how you think each goal can be achieved. I suggest breaking down each goal into mini-goals. Key to achieving each mini-goal are clear actions and ways to measure your efforts and progress. Decide what to measure to find out if a mini-goal is achieved. Here are some common metrics used already in the industry:
- Share of Voice (SOV)
- Number of shares per post
- Number of comments per post
- Change in number of likes/comments/shares per admin post over time
- Number of people talking about/Number of fans
- Percentage of positive comments
- Percentage of admin posts replied to by the public
- Percentage of posts by the public on your fan page
6) What are the tools you need to set up before you can accurately measure your Facebook marketing efforts?
It is almost no longer possible to convince your board to give you a fat budget and time to invest in social media without providing or promising some form of returns. As I was talking to some of the more experienced Facebook Marketers, there are a number of social media marketing pet peeves that seems to please the board, such as the increase in number of likes over time.
As social media marketers however, I’d caution you against using such metrics in the long-term. Instead, look to educate your board or decision makers and help them understand the true value of social media marketing.
Having said that, you need to decide:
- Admin Roles: Who will be in charge of posting and when? There’s more to planning just your Facebook updates. Check out this useful editorial template from Pam Moore.
- and Monitoring Tools: Which tools will you use? Facebook Insights might not be enough. What other tools are required to supplement your needs to measure your efforts? What are your needs? Check back with your goals. Pam Dyer contributed a comprehensive list of 50 monitoring, and management tools on SocialMediaToday.
- and Monitoring Roles: Who will be in-charge of checking the statistics gathered? Who will interpret them and report to the board?
- Design: Other than your Facebook updates, could your Facebook design potentially hinder your efforts? Is your cover photo engaging and interesting or are they dull and deflating? Will it change on a thematic basis or will it remain the same throughout the year?
7) What are the types of content you should use?
I don’t have a definitive answer to this. Sometimes it could be images, videos, or even audio. Other times, it could be just plain text.
For my client, I proposed to experiment (that is the philosophy behind my approach!) with different content types. For a start, I decided to analyse my client’s competitors, observing what content types they employ and how well they are received. You can use this free report generated by SimplyMeasured to see what kinds of content work with your competitors’ audience most. But go beyond that - analyse those pages with a target audience similar to yours and see if the same content types also resonate with them.
8) What are the things that need improvements?
Assuming that you’re not creating a new Facebook page for your brand, you might want to first analyse your current Facebook fan page. Obtain the present day from Facebook Insights and establish it as your baseline before you execute your “new strategy”.
Just as important as establishing your baseline, I suggest doing a customer interview or survey with the current Facebook page. For my client, I asked 10 of my friends to navigate and use the fan page, which they are already existing fans of. I listened to their feedback and observed them while they used the page. Although Facebook fan pages are pretty much standard in the way it looks, your design, in terms of the kind of cover photos you use, the posts you pin, the pictures you upload, the tone you write with, affects your audience’s brand experience, which then affects their impression and engagement instincts with your fan page.
9) What are your engagement guidelines for Facebook marketing?
Moving on from what I mentioned above, you need to define your brand persona. Of course, as cliché as it sounds, keep it real, genuine and authentic. But your brand should never act exactly like the person administering it. In other words, it should be rid of mood swings or changes, and be consistent. At this point, you don’t need extremely detailed guidelines for your admin roles to manage your fan page.
For a start, specify these and give a few examples to help your admin staff relate better:
- Frequency of updates
- Response templates for different situations
10) What are your Golden Rules?
Golden Rules refer to an overarching set of rules that nobody managing your brand’s fan page should break. For one, I’ve seen certain brands post back-to-back updates, which became very annoying and spam-like because they take up my entire newsfeed. My client was also guilty of it, although we found that they were simply posting RSS feed updates from their website due to their lack of investments in Facebook. Whatever the reason, such “offences” are unforgivable because they turn away fans of your brands, leaving them with poor impressions of your brand.
So I began with a Golden Rule for my client: “Not more than one post within the space of an hour.”
Answer these and you’re ready to go
Social Media Marketing is still a relatively unchartered territory for many brands out there. While there is no clear template how to start and proceed, this void also presents you with an opportunity to experiment and find out for yourself what works and what doesn’t. I hope you found these 10 guiding questions useful in helping you kickstart your Facebook marketing efforts.
If you would like a template for organising your responses to these 10 guiding questions, drop me a comment below and I’ll email it to you.