The best Facebook marketing strategies for 2017
As well as being the world largest social network, Facebook is a powerful marketing platform for brands, and its latest features make it even more appealing.
Facebook seems to be in a mature phase, where the platform is not just about connecting people anymore, but also about bringing brands closer to their audience. Its marketing power along with its advertising potential has turned it into a profitable platform for brands trying to capitalize on their online presence.
There may be many challenges in Facebook marketing strategies, but there are also many opportunities.
Here are the best ways to take advantage of Facebook marketing in 2017.
Facebook videos seem to have a prominent place on our newsfeeds, and it’s no surprise that more brands are including them in their content strategy.
More than 100 million hours of Facebook videos are watched every day, which creates an opportunity for an appealing creative format.
Brands are now encouraged to create video content in an attempt to be relevant and engaging with their audience. Another factor that they need to consider is the rise of mobile usage. As more users consume content through their mobile devices, video content needs to be short and appealing.
Moreover, there is the trend of adding captions in video content, as the majority of users tends to watch videos without sound.
Native videos seem to be preferred over any other video type on Facebook, as they seem to more effective. In fact, they seem to have 1055% higher share rate, comparing to any other video.
Buzzfeed was among the first pages that realised how short and interesting video content can lead to increased engagement on Facebook, with Tasty being the best example.
This has helped more brands to understand how video content is consumed on Facebook, and we are expecting even more creative examples through the rest of the year.
Video content is already popular on Facebook, but Live videos are even more effective.
It is estimated that Facebook Live videos are watched 3x longer than regular videos, which pushes brands towards embracing their spontaneous creative moments through live streaming.
Live videos are more appealing for their audience, as they can build an instant connection between the brand and the users. This can be achieved by using livestreaming to showcase your personality, in an attempt to go beyond the traditional promotion of a product.
Storytelling is also successful, as Facebook marketing can become more effective through an engaging narrative. Once a brand is associated with an experience, a memory, or a sentiment, users are likely to feel closer to the products.
Facebook Pages have turned into an effective platform for communication between a brand and its consumers. As more people visit Facebook, it is not surprising that they also reach their favorite brands through their pages.
This creates a challenge for brands that want to offer the best possible experience for their audience. Responsiveness and good communication are critical, especially as the audience becomes more impatient.
Facebook is facilitating customer service through Pages with many useful additions, like the ability to send automated responses once a user messages a brand, or the option to set ‘away messages’ for the time that you’re unavailable.
Pages can now become the shopfront for businesses, offering all the details that a potential customer needs to know. This means that every business owner needs to pay attention to the opportunities that may arise, using Facebook as another powerful way to improve the customer experience.
Personalization is important when posting on Facebook, as this increases the chances for a brand to reach the right audience. One of the best ways to achieve is it is the ability to use targeted audiences for each post.
Once you access a Page, there’s an option to make a new post visible to a specific audience. This gives the audience more opportunities to engage with the post, and it can be fine-tuned using a series of habits and options.
This reminds us that reach is not always important on Facebook if it’s not relevant enough to lead to further actions. There’s no need to seek out a larger audience if this reach won’t bring the desired return on investment.
Facebook allows brands to create ads that target “lookalike audiences” – audiences which are similar to ones they are already targeting. This allows them to reach new people who are likely to be interested in their brand.
It’s easy to upload a custom audience and then allow Facebook to find the most relevant users to create a new lookalike audience.
This feature blends personalization with increased reach, which can bring new customers closer to a business.
According to Facebook, it’s better to add a source audience that derives from a brand’s best customers, as this increases the chances to create a more relevant audience.
Carousel ads were introduced by Facebook in an attempt to help brands promote their products in a more appealing way. A carousel ad is series of images and videos that moves along the top of the screen, showcasing more information and making the ad more visually appealing.
This format can help brands tell a story using up to ten images and videos, with every one of them having its own link. The additional creative space offers new marketing directions, and many brands are already using it successfully.
According to Facebook, carousel ads perform better, as they are more interactive and flexible and they can be useful when trying to promote multiple products.
Facebook followed in Instagram’s footsteps by introducing Stories as a way to explore the trend of ephemeral posts. The original idea of Stories was pioneered by Snapchat, but they found a growing interest through Instagram.
The idea of ephemeral posts highlights a new type of content that focuses on the moment, rather than a longer plan. This helps brands understand how users change their perspective on social media to discover the best ways to reach them.
Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook’s new Camera Effects platform at the recent F8 Developers Conference, showing how Augmented Reality fits into his wider plan for the future of Facebook.
The Camera Effects platform aim to allow everyone to create effects that will “turn smartphone cameras into the first AR platform”. It has two main components: Frame Studio and AR Studio.
Frame Studio, a web-based tool allowing anyone with a Facebook profile or page to design creative overlays for use on profile pictures in the new Facebook Camera, was designed along very similar lines to Snapchat Lenses.
For now, Facebook won’t allow any branding or advertising in Frame Studio unless it’s pre-approved, but it’s easy how to see how the feature could be monetized further down the line, especially given the huge success of Snapchat Sponsored Lenses in driving brand awareness and purchase intent.
AR Studio, meanwhile, will offer a set of fully customizable tools that can create AR experiences. Although it’s still in an invite-only beta version, Facebook is already showcasing the creative ways that these new tools can be used.
Can Facebook make AR even more popular? This has been a big challenge up to now for AR’s early pioneers, but Facebook may be the key adopter to establish its creative potential.
Brands already examine the idea of including AR in their marketing campaigns, and the first results offer the right preview to what we should expect.
Facebook’s Messenger is turning into a very useful tool for a business. As more than 60 million businesses are now on Messenger, Facebook wants to improve the customer experience they can offer.
There are numerous bots that can facilitate customer service, by providing quick answers to common questions, accepting orders, or sending the latest news.
According to Facebook, there are currently more than 100,000 monthly active bots and they can be used to:
Facebook introduced Messenger Platform 2.0 at F8, a new suite of tools that will help businesses explore new capabilities for their bots.
A Discover section will help people browse and find the best bots depending on their own needs, while chat extensions can bring bots right in a chat, the time that they’re needed.
Moreover, Messenger Codes can bring offline traffic online, helping businesses understand which codes saw the biggest success.
Although the recent developments haven’t been implemented yet by a large number of brands, they seem interesting enough to deserve a place in the top marketing trends for Facebook this year.
They can take the idea of ecommerce marketing on social media to the next level, and Facebook has clearly recognized the big opportunity it currently has to develop Messenger into a more versatile product.
Facebook seems to be determined to expand its influence along new paths, helping businesses to create a complete online experience directly on its platform.
It’s not just about creating a Page that measures the reach of content anymore; it’s about offering a unique marketing strategy that can appeal to people of all lifecycle stages, from awareness to loyalty.
Creativity is crucial in this year’s marketing strategies and it’s a good reminder for all brands to think outside the box to feel closer to their audience.
New technology, video, customer service, Stories and Messenger are probably the key terms when trying to think of the latest trends in Facebook marketing.
The challenge is to find how to use each one of them in the best possible way for your business.