Facebook marketing: Is it right for your business?

Is your company-branded Facebook page starting to feel like a ghost town? Have your page views dropped to near zero? Are your posts not getting any more likes and shares?

It is not necessarily your fault.

The amount of free exposure Facebook gives to company pages, called “organic reach,” has been dropping steadily over the years­. In 2012, the organic reach was 42% of posts. By 2016, that figured had plummeted to 2%. This means if you are not paying to promote your posts, 98% of your followers are not going to see them, unless they have manually adjusted their notification settings to do so.

The free marketing ride we all enjoyed during the early years is now over. Facebook has matured and if you want to stay on this train, you must buy the ticket. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing­ because Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing tools we have available, if you use a strategic plan.

Here are five questions you must ask yourself before you continue investing the time and money in Facebook marketing:

1. Do your customers use the social media network?

The pressure may be strong to have a presence on Facebook simply because it is popular, but the reality is that it’s not for everyone. For example, business owners who obtain their clients entirely from direct referrals, face-to-face networking or who sell in niche industries, may find that social media marketing robs them of valuable time that would be better invested in proven sales activities.

The first deciding factor should be whether your customers are using the social network daily. The demographics of Facebook are rapidly evolving and it is important to review them periodically. You may check these usage statistics by visiting www.pewinternet.org or logging into your Facebook audience insights panel and examining your market.

2. Do you have a marketing and sales plan?

Facebook may get your brand name out into the market, but that means little if you are not eventually converting that attention into revenue.

The marketing and sales functions at your company must work together to develop campaigns that move prospective customers through the phases of attention, awareness, interest, consideration, purchase and advocacy. Create action steps that customers may take, such as downloading a resource or setting up a consultation, that you can track to improve and fine-tune your campaigns over the long term.

3. Who will oversee your Facebook marketing?

Whether it is you, a social media manager or a team of employees, someone must be in the driver’s seat of your Facebook page every day. For some companies, this is a full-time job that entails writing/designing content, posting, sharing, responding to customers and managing a budget for their promoted posts and ads.

4. Do you have something interesting to say?

Always remember this—people do not go on Facebook to interact with companies. They log on to keep up with their friends. This means you must interrupt them to be heard. Therefore, your message should be something relevant, educational, interesting, personal or inspiring. Facebook is not the place for shameless self-promotion.

5. Have you set a marketing budget?

Facebook has one of the most powerful advertising and promotion platforms online, rivaling Google Adwords and supplanting all other social media sites. Provided you have checked all the boxes above, your money will be well invested here.

How much you budget is up to you, however, the typical starter media-buy is $2,000 per month. This amount will allow you to create a baseline level of marketing activity so that you may experiment with various combinations of promoted posts and ads and find out what works.

Bottom line: If you are unwilling to invest in a Facebook strategy and give it the time and energy it requires, you may wish to reallocate your marketing efforts to another activity. However, if you commit to mastering Facebook as a marketing and sales generation tool, there is no limit to what you can achieve!