Facebook Marketing 101

While organizations take their marketing efforts to social networking phenomena Facebook, here are some practices you can adopt to make your campaign a success.

Marketing to Facebook users requires communicating to them, which works better than simply advertising your messages. In order to communicate with them, you should first understand these users. In the US alone, Facebook has 60 million users. ComScore reports that the average number of unique visitors to Facebook in a month circles around 150 million, of which half of these users return to the site daily. Faccebook projects that 75% of worldwide users will be outside of college.

Based on findings from Nielsen and NetRatings, it has been observed from Facebook's US users that just over half are female, almost 60% have some college education, 14% are non-white, 34% are working professionals holding executive, sales, education or technical posts, 12% are full time students and 12% have children under 16. Not surprisingly, Facebook internal data shows that users have aged over the past year, with a high percentage of older users now.

Therefore, in line with these data, adjust your marketing plans and plan for flexibility according to the anticipation that the demographics will change quickly over the next 12 to 18 months. With fickle college students who might be swept away easily by the next emerging social network hit and the 35+ age group of social network site users who are new to social networking sites, beware of relying on what worked yesterday as it might very well not hold through the year.

With the data portraits that users reveal online, target users beyond their basic demographic details. Instead, look at the psychographics to understand them better. Next, understand what works on Facebook.

The click through rate (CTR) for sponsored News Feed stories is 4 to 26%. Alternately, Flyers give you a degree of self-service control to decide what you want. For sponsored groups, group pages allows a customized navigation, look and feel and usually includes a significant media buy to drive traffic to the sponsored group page. This cost usually figures around six digits for a three month engagement. However, do note that any company can set up a group for free.

Instead of taking the conventional advertising route, maximize the change to create a unique community around your brand and product. An effective example is the Victoria's Secret page. Although its page looks like an ad, the community is, in contrast, highly engaged.

In order to maximize the results from a sponsored Group, consider these practices. You should first understand how similar groups are meeting, or fail to meet, the needs of users. From there, create a unique experience for users that will encourage activity on the discussion board, comments on the wall, and photos. Your approach should be transparent about your organization's role and purpose.

Another way to market your business on Facebook is through applications. Create useful applications that model what users are already doing – that is, sharing information, experiences and using humor. Plan your application such that it has a viral and rippling effect, and get feedback from users once it has been launched.

All in all, bear in mind that Facebook marketing is about communicating to the users, rather than just exposing them to advertising. Facebook creates the platform for communication, so make full use of it. Focus more on your content over passive advertising and think about why and what do friends share on Facebook to create your content. Lastly, as Facebook is still a reliably new marketing platform, keep your eyes and ears open to the interaction and participation that is going on in that space. Adopt a learning attitude and one that is ready to make, and learn from, your mistakes.

 
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