Facebook’s star continues to rise as a powerful social network with a very large and active user base. It was built on the idea of connecting people and their ideas, and provides a place for users to connect with each other and the brands that they care about.
Facebook officially created a space for brands on its social network in 2007, and since then, has continued to evolve the ways that marketers can engage with their audience.
This cheat sheet helps you understand how to use Facebook for lead generation, and gives you some quick action items and best practices that you can use in your marketing right away.
Build Your Brand Presence
Your Facebook presence is made up of multiple components, each of which should provide value or entertainment for your audience and strengthen your brand. Here are the areas you’ll want to pay specific attention to and how to get started with them:
Your Brand Page
Your Facebook Page is the central hub of your brand. Creating a Facebook Page for your company has many benefits: it makes your business discoverable in Facebook search, it allows you to connect one-on-one with your followers, it helps you reach large groups, and gives you deeper insights into your audience.
Your page is an extension of your business and there are many ways you can customize it to represent you—let’s take a look at how:
Cover Photo: This image sits at the top of your company profile page and rests behind your logo as a backdrop. The cover photo is typically a more flexible space and lends itself to creativity and frequent changes. Because of the larger size, brands have more real estate to work with to be creative. Your cover photo could include brand messaging, campaign promotions, or product images—the options are endless.
Profile Photo: This image sits on the bottom left of your cover photo and is how Facebook users are able to identify who you are. It’s a small thumbnail that is attached to almost any action that you will take across the platform—rom posting in a group, to posting on your own timeline—this image appears next to all of your posts.
Often, this image is your logo—choose an easily identifiable image that includes little to no text because of it’s small size. Your profile picture, like your actual logo, will rarely change.
- About Section: The about section is a tab in the navigation bar that resides under your profile photo and cover photo. This section includes two elements. The first is your page information, which is your opportunity to share details about your company. This section includes a variety of elements like a description, your awards, products, and contact information. The second element is milestones, which lets you commemorate and share important events and the history of your brand with your followers.
- Timeline: Your Facebook Page gives you the ability to post updates for your followers. Posting on Facebook is a key way to build followers and fuel your paid advertising efforts (which we will talk about later in this cheat sheet). These posts can be comprised of text, images, links, non-native video (like a YouTube link), native video (a video posted specifically and originally on the Facebook platform), slide decks, and photo albums. We’ll go into the types of content that you can post later in this cheat sheet.
- Tabs: Tabs now sit in two places on your Facebook Page, on the left side of your timeline and in the navigation bar under your cover photo.
Tabs can also be used to host a variety of apps, which help a business extend their capabilities directly on their Facebook Page, including running contests, connecting to your other social accounts, hosting an ecommerce storefront, and more. To see what is available and choose apps to add to your page’s tabs, visit the Facebook App Center.
How you use your tab space is a question that should be answered by your social strategy, and the goals you hope to achieve. The benefit of using tabs instead of directing a user right to a landing page is that the Facebook user is able to stay within the Facebook ecosystem and does not navigate away.
- Insights: Visible only to the page admins, Facebook Pages come equipped with an Insights tab. This tab allows marketers to see the analytics associated with their activity on their Facebook Page. These analytics help you identify your audience more specifically, see which posts get the most engagement, and track the volume of your traffic and fan building activity.
Build Your Fan Base
For marketers, building your fan base is one of the key activities they do on the social network. There are a variety of techniques marketers can use to build their fan following, and we’ll explore them in this section.
Creating regular posts is an integral part of building and maintaining your Facebook Page audience. You want your audience to seek out your posts because they are entertaining, engaging, and informative. At the same time, it’s important to not over-post—while it varies by organization, the best practice presented in a Socialbakers study indicates that one to two posts per day is a good posting cadence for optimal engagement without overwhelming your audience.
To find the right content mix for your posts, follow the 4-1-1 Rule, which was originally introduced by Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. The 4-1-1 Rule states that for every four early stage, light, and informative content offers you provide, you can have one soft-sell offer and one hard-sell offer, like a demo.
For your Facebook post offers, be sure to have a mix of fun, un-gated (without a form as a barrier) assets and more educational, gated-assets (using a form as a barrier to the asset).
Like we mentioned earlier in this cheat sheet, there is an almost unlimited variety of post types that you can share on Facebook.
Facebook does adapt some of its posts automatically, to be more friendly to the viewer—for example, when you insert a link into the publishing field, Facebook will auto generate a preview that includes an image, a description and a title from the link.
For most posts, Facebook best practices indicate that including an image increases engagement and clickthroughs. So, think about the images you choose to accompany your blog, because they will likely be the image that accompanies your Facebook Post.
Additionally, if you plan to use your post for advertising, you will need to consider how much of your image includes text. Facebook adheres to a fairly strict policy that doesn’t allow ad-images to be more than 20% text. To work within this requirement you can entirely avoid text in your images, or use the Facebook grid tool, which will check your text to image ratio for you.
Pinning to Top
To shine a spotlight on a specific post, Facebook gives Facebook Page admins the option to “pin” a post to the top of the page. Doing this effectively ensures that the post is seen before the other posts on your timeline, even if it is not in chronological order. It can help increase engagement with the post and the content. For example, if you are launching a large campaign, program or event, you may want to have your corresponding post pinned to the top of your page.
Native video—a video posted specifically on Facebook and not a link from a different platform—has become an increasingly popular way for users to express themselves and share moments with their friends on Facebook. This movement of user preference and engagement with video is not isolated to individual Facebook users and can be leveraged by brands. Native video often gets higher organic reach than videos that are hosted elsewhere because users automatically view the video as they scroll through their timeline, versus taking a click-action to engage.
Because native video starts playing in a Facebook users’ newsfeed as they scroll over it, to be successful creating this type of content, you need to grab your users attention right away. To do this, try these tips:
- Make it interesting enough to be engaging with or without sound.
- Make a statement with your first few frames—you need to get your viewer to stick around.
- Use smart copy—the text that you post with your video will help create interest, curiosity and set the stage for your video for your audience.
Facebook Advertising & Optimization
Having a complete Facebook Page profile with regular updates is an important step to build your audience, but to take full advantage of Facebook’s large user base and advanced targeting, you may want to consider running advertising and paid promotions.
Facebook offers a variety of advertising solutions that can support different type of campaigns. These options are organized around helping you achieve the campaigns’ goals—for example, Facebook advertising can help you drive:
- Clicks to Website: Sends people to your website.
- Website Conversions: Increases conversions on your website. You’ll need to add a conversion pixel to your website before you can create this type of ad.
- Page Post Engagement: Boosts the posts from your timeline to a broader audience.
- Page Likes: Promotes your Page and helps you get Page likes by showing the ad to more of the people who matter to you.
- App Installs: Drives people to install your app.
- App Engagement: Increases users’ engagement in and with your app.
- Offer Claims: Allows you to provide offers to people that they can redeem in your store.
- Local Awareness: Helps you reach people near your business to drive awareness or foot traffic.
- Event Responses: Raises registration and attendance at your event.
- Video Reviews: Ads that get more people to view a video.
Based on your goals, the content mix to support your ad campaign should change—this helps your campaigns excel because they are specifically based on the buying stages of your target audience.
A special type of ad that helps marketers hit their objectives on Facebook is the dark post. These ads are unique because they support and promote campaigns and messages that a marketer does not want to publish on their timeline. You can create dark posts and put paid advertising behind them without having to publish them.
Using dark posts offers marketers the ability to create very targeted ads and avoid alienating their hard-won followers by sharing too many broad messages on their timeline. Additionally, they allow marketers to discreetly A/B test the campaign or ad without having to post it multiple times. This lets marketers easily test variations in image, copy, and targeting.
Facebook has robust targeting abilities—you can target people based on a variety of information shared in their profile, and the activities they perform on the platform — from interests and behavior, down to zipcode and more.
You can also create “Custom Audience Lists,” which allows you to target users a few different ways:
- By Customer List: match emails, phone numbers, Facebook IDs to people on Facebook
- By Website Traffic: create a list of people who visit your website or specific webpages
- By App Activity: create a list of people who have taken a specific action in your app or game
If you have a marketing automation platform that integrates with Facebook advertising it’s possible to tightly intertwine your paid Facebook advertising directly with your ongoing digital marketing campaigns. For example, it could help you better target “known” customers based on information from your marketing automation platform. Or, it could help you engage unknown audiences by using personalization data from across channels to send targeted Facebook ads to users.
Adding detail to the level of targeting that Facebook provides, you can retarget users based on activity on your website, upload a list from your database, or use your ‘custom audience lists’ to create a “lookalike” audience. “Look-alike” audiences are an extended audience of people that have similar characteristics to your defined audience.
All Facebook ads work on a pay-per-click basis, but to optimize your advertising investment, implement these tips:
- Run a Few Different Campaigns: Take advantage of the detailed demographic targeting provided by Facebook by running a few different campaigns. This allows you to tailor your messages and content to a specific audience. The more relevant you content is to that audience, the higher your click, conversion, and engagement rates will be.
- Change or Add New Content At Least 1-2 Times a Week: Keep your ads fresh and don’t exhaust your audience by running the same ad with the same message over and over again.
- A/B Test: Use A/B testing to test the elements of your ads and determine your best practice. Some aspects that you can test include: images, subject lines, ad text, etc. A/B testing helps ensure that you are spending your money wisely.
- Experiment With All Ad Types: Facebook has several types of advertising options such as sponsored posts, event responses, offer claims, etc. Evaluate and try each type to see which works best for your business, target audience and goals.
- Provide a Mix of Content Offers: If you are using Facebook for lead generation, try mixing gated content with un-gated content, which will help keep your target audiences engaged, and help you identify where your audience is in their buying lifecycle.
- Images are Very Important: The images used on your Facebook campaigns matter—they can significantly impact the engagement and click-through of your ad, so be creative with the art.