With 1.79 billion monthly active users on Facebook logged in the third quarter of 2016, you may find the network to be a treasure trove of new customers.

In this all-encompassing guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of Facebook and brand examples you can be inspired by.

Check out Your Current Facebook Page

One of the first steps in grasping Facebook marketing is making sure you’re taking advantage of all of Facebook’s features.

If you’re just getting started on creating a Facebook Page for your business, take a look at our setup guide.

If you have a current Page, take a moment to perform a 10-minute audit on it. The important thing to remember when performing an audit is that you need to write down your notes. Don’t stop and fix items that you see are wrong. Note and move on.

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Take advantage of Sprout Social’s Facebook reports to see which posts are performing best, your post engagement rate and your posting frequency.

Set up a custom date range, such as the past six months, to simplify your auditing process.

Important Items to Note:

  • Posts: Write down publishing frequency, variety and what kind of post is receiving the most engagement.
  • Imagery: Is the cover photo and profile photo on-brand? Are the photos and videos you share on-brand?
  • About: Is the About section completely filled out? Are you missing important info, like a phone number? Do you have awards or milestones that could be important for your audience?
  • Call-to-Action Button: What do you want people to do right now? Is your ultimate Facebook goal to drive new newsletter signups? Is your CTA button a newsletter signup?
  • Current Analytics: How many fans do you have? What is your audience engagement rate?

Integrate Your Services

There are a variety of services that partner with Facebook to create a seamless experience. For example, if you own a restaurant, you would consider integrating your online reservation system with Facebook.

The idea is to make sure the customer doesn’t leave your Page to search elsewhere for information.

Set up Shop

The Facebook Shop feature allows customers to shop directly on your Facebook Page. This feature is still rolling out for Pages and to those based outside the US. If you use Shopify, the integration is seamless and sets you up with a click of a button.

Advantage: Once you load in products, you’ll be able to tag them in your Facebook Post.

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Add Your Other Social Networks

Using a service like WooBox, you can add your social media streams as tabs in your Page. The Sill in New York has several of their social networks established as tabs: Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Advantage: Those who are active on other social networks can easily click to follow you from your Page instead of manually navigating to another app.

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Newsletter Signups

If your newsletter is part of your digital marketing strategy, you should provide a way for your fans to sign up from your Page. There are a couple options here. You can change the Page’s CTA button to “Sign Up” and redirect it to your newsletter sign-up page. Or you can see if your newsletter service offers an integration with Facebook.

Popular mailing services like Constant Contact and MailChimp offer integrations. Charm City Cakes added a tab to their Page with a simple “Join My List.”

Advantage: You provide another way for fans to stay in touch with you.

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Display Your Menu

For restaurants, bars and cafes, displaying menu information can be helpful for your new customers. If you select Local Businesses or Restaurant/Cafe as your Page’s category, you have the option to add a menu.

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar incorporates their menu seamlessly into their Facebook Page.

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Advantage: Customers are readily given access to information that they might’ve already been searching for.

Figure out Your Content Strategy

The easiest way to establish and analyze your content strategy is to write everything down. Use the audit from earlier to note what has been working for your Page and what has not.

Create Your Own Voice

Your online voice is a digital extension of your brand. The company’s voice should “speak” to your target audiences. For example, don’t use a lot of American slang if you have a global audience or else you risk alienating them.

The Sprout Social Q3 2016 Index showed that 71% of consumers unfollowed a brand due to embarrassment.

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The Main Components of Establishing a Voice Are:

  • Personality traits: Are you fun or serious? Are you sarcastic or punny?
  • Common phrases: Are there brand phrases that you use? Perhaps your brand sells snowboards to professional athletes and you’re able to use industry terms without explaining them.

This year, Wendy’s made headlines by sassily replying to customer Tweets.

And if you navigate to their Facebook Page, you’ll see that their personality remains consistent.

Advantage: Documenting your voice helps you decide if that post is “right” for your company. You’ll no longer need to second-guess yourself. If you have multiple people on your social team, you can train them on the company voice and then use our handy message approval system to ensure they’re on the right track.

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Design Your Image Guidelines

Voice and imagery go hand-in-hand for your digital strategy. When you land on a company’s Facebook Page, the biggest digital real estate is the cover photo.

  • Does the cover photo convey your brand’s values, mission or goals?
  • If it has a CTA, does the caption include how to take action?
  • Does it blend smoothly with other photos your company has posted?

If you find that your images need resizing, use our free handy Landscape tool to easily resize images across social networks.

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Soma Water’s Facebook Page clearly showcases a minimalist, neutral and easy attitude that lines up with the company’s values.

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Advantage: When you have clear image guidelines, your customers can identify your company through your photos and videos. Think about large brands like Kate Spade and Nike and how you can recognize their images without finding their logos.

Decide on When to Post

We’ve found that the best time to post on Facebook falls around 1 p.m. on Thursdays. Once you decide on a frequency and ideal times, utilize a scheduling product like Sprout to easily fit your posts in throughout the week.

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Advantage: Posting on a consistent basis lets your audience become used to your frequency.

Identify the Post Types You Want to Use on Facebook

There are six main Post types on Facebook and each one has its own advantage.

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Our Facebook Reports can analyze what types of posts work best for your brand. Try us for a free 30-day trial to set up your Facebook Business Page for success.

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1. Status

Seen more commonly from your friends than Pages, the simply worded status can easily convey website status failures or quick news updates.

2. Link

Use links to share company blog posts, news or even products.

Almost all parts of the linked posts can be edited:

  • Headline
  • Body
  • Image
  • And if you have a carousel post, you can incorporate multiple links into one post

3. Video

Video posts uploaded directly into Facebook are gaining momentum. In January 2016, Facebook announced that it had hit 100 million hours of video watched a day on its network.

Just like in YouTube, you can create playlists that your fans can easily access.

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And if you’re feeling brave, use Facebook Live to connect more directly with your audience.

4. Photo

Like videos, photos are still a popular way of grabbing your audience’s attention. You can incorporate them as part of your post or add them to an album.

5. Products

If you created a Facebook Store, you’ll have the option to add the products into your posts. This can be especially helpful when you want to subtly identify products.

6. Take Action: Sign up, Get Messages

Most popularly used in conjunction with advertising, these CTA posts encourage your fans to take action immediately. These types of posts should be used sparingly since they’re considered to be more standard marketing material than they are in starting a conversation.

Determine Your Engagement Strategy

Much like creating your content strategy, how you respond to comments and questions is another vital part of your Facebook marketing.

  • How will you respond to a customer’s angry post?
  • How quickly will you respond?

Listening

The first step of knowing your audience a little better is listening to them. Our Smart Inbox can compile all of the posts tagged with your branded hashtags into one place. This makes it easy for you to respond when necessary.

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Replies

Despite the number of messages that require a response rising by 18%, brands still reply to only 11% of them.

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Social Customer Care

Facebook offers Messenger as an easy customer care solution. When 34.5% of customers choose social media as their communication route to businesses, establishing a service solution is important.

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This also includes making sure you respond and read reviews. Crema’s reviews are displayed prominently on their Page, allowing visitors to see what others have enjoyed.

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Get Started on Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising takes on three types of goals: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. Depending on your goals for this network, incorporating ads into your Facebook marketing strategy can be useful. We’ve broken three common types of ads down into levels.

To set up an ad, head to Facebook’s Ad Manager.

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Pro tip: Save your custom audiences. You do not need an ad to create an audience. Creating custom audiences that include demographic and interest targeting will cut out time later when you’re creating ads.

1. Beginner: Boost Your Posts

To work around Facebook’s algorithmic timeline, Pages use the Boost Post advertising feature to expand their brand visibility. Some Boost to their Page’s current audience while others promote to their newsletter subscribers.

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Boosting a post can be easily done through the post itself or through Ad Manager.

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2. Intermediate: Collect Leads

Let’s say that your biggest goal for Facebook is to increase the number of email subscribers you have. These CTA posts have a handy button that will track clicks. You can be billed per click-through, per impressions or any other available metric.

3. Advanced: Increase Conversion

Adding a Facebook pixel to your website can help you track conversions on shoppable products. This also allows you to retarget website visitors on Facebook, getting your ad in front of people who are more likely to click through.

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Pro tip: If you see an ad you like in your feed, you can use the dropdown to create a similar ad.

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Analyze Your Strategies

You’ve created your strategy and you’ve executed it. Now it’s time to analyze it.

Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

Use the Pages to Watch feature to keep an eye on industry competitors.

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Our Facebook Competitors Report breaks down your competitors’ performance over a custom period of time. You’ll be able to track how you compare to other Pages on sent and received messages, post types and engagements per post.

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Review Your General Analytics

Our Facebook Pages Report gives presentation-ready graphics on important statistics. If you set a goal for increasing your post engagements over time, you’ll be able to easily see if you hit the target.

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Use our handy Engagement Report to understand how quickly you’re responding to customers and how many messages you might be missing.

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Marketing on Facebook can be challenging. Make sure you’re keeping up with the latest network updates by reading our blog. If you find that managing messages is overwhelming, take advantage of our 30-day trial to see if we can help lessen the load.