How should brands use Facebook as a marketing channel?

Today’s question is from Richard Bayston of RBCopywriting.com.

‘Given that they keep changing the rules and the focus is moving away from small content creators, how should brands use Facebook as a marketing channel?’

What do you think?

Ok get ready for a rant :).

Years ago, I said don’t over-invest in social media platforms. Meaning, don’t think that by having a huge Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram following you’ll have your marketing licked.

The most important following you need to build is your email list. Or lists.

First of all, if people actually subscribe to your email list, you have something worth their while. It’s a great litmus test. Especially these days. No one subscribes to email lists, unless they really don’t want to miss out from you. Now, I’m not talking about email lists built by doing giveaways, freebies or sneaky tricks. I’m talking about people who legitimately want to hear from you.

Additionally, if your email marketing sucks, you’re going to lose subscribers (real followers!). So you know if you have people’s attention or not. Real attention. That’s marketing gold.

You can have a 50,000+ Twitter following that get zero response when you tweet something out. I’ve seen that happen myself.

The second important thing is: You control your email list. It’s yours. You own it. You don’t own your social media profiles. You can get banned in a flash, you can lose access to your accounts, their rules can completely change over night, they one day may become a ghost town (like MySpace).

When I ran my ecommerce site years ago, I invested heavily in MySpace marketing. I had 4 computers running all day long, sending out comments and automatically adding friends. It was a full time operation. I think we had something like 100,000+ friends. And it did create sales. And it also annoyed the hell out of people.

But within a couple years, MySpace was practically dead. And there wasn’t a great way to bring those followers over to something else. It just kind of evaporated.

Guess what I didn’t do?

I didn’t build an email list.

Ok, sorry for the rant. Let me answer your question.

Ok first thing. IF the brand CEO, president, face of the company – has a personal Facebook profile, then considering using that as marketing channel. It can be risky, so it really depends on the type of business. But personal Facebook profiles deliver 1,000 times more punch than a Facebook page. This is one of the reasons why influencer marketing is so big right now.

The second thing Facebook is good for is asking your followers questions. To me, that’s where the most engagement happens. It’s a great way to get feedback. It’s also a way to get people’s attention and pitch something during the thread. If you’re going to do a question, then pitch – just be sure to do it tactfully.

Here’s a quick and dirty example. Say I’m running the Ben and Jerry’s Facebook page. Engagement is down on anything we post because of the new Facebook update. So, instead, I just pose the question: Vanilla or Chocolate? Boom – 10,000 responses that day come in. I follow up with a digital coupon for all the people engaged on the thread. Stores across the world sell out and they’re placing more orders the next day.

Hooray!

I think what a lot of B2B marketers forget is that Facebook can be fun. Blindly posting articles probably isn’t the best way to engage to the platform. Instead, try asking questions and running polls for a while.

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