By Eric Taylor
There a wide range of businesses that attempt to use social media to boost their brand and ultimately their profits. However, some businesses historically do better than others with any type of marketing. While many believe this is due to a limited market size, it may actually be explained another way. It may just be the marketing medium.
For instance, if you look at a market like ebooks or literature in general, you will see that this market is broken up into many subsets. So while “books,” as a general market, might not appeal to as many as, say, smartphones, you can look at a subset like weight-loss or work-from-home literature and find markets that are incredibly vibrant.
No matter what your business or your niche, you can use a site like Facebook to tap directly into the market and to find that vibrant niche. You can compete on a larger level even with a smaller niche.
For another great article touching on book marketing, check this out. For current examples of how to use Facebook to market to your niche, keep reading below.
Making the Best Use of Ads
Using Facebook to market is all about making the best possible use of ads. It may not be something many want to hear right out of the gate, but paid advertising demolishes organic reach any day of the week — not that the latter shouldn’t be used, however. So it becomes a strategic approach of knowing which types of ads to use. With a third-party app like Qwaya, you can easily create ads, split-test them, target them to different demographics, etc. But for right now, let’s talk about only two types of ads that may help your business: Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts.
Sponsored Stories are typically found on the right-hand side of the page, and they are ad units which describe friends’ actions, such as checking into places, liking a post, liking a page, etc. A Sponsored Story originally starts out as a post that, for instance, comes through a person’s News Feed from one of their friends. Unfortunately, this type of post may or may not show up in a person’s News Feed, and if it does, it may get lost in the fold rather quickly due to the sheer amount of content constantly streaming through. As a brand, however, you can decide to promote things such as likes and check-ins, etc, so now every time someone performs that action with your brand, it will show as a Sponsored Story rather than getting lost in the shuffle. What Johnny sees is that Jimmy liked a page or took some type of action with a brand, so it has a very organic-feeling appeal about it. It’s friends influencing friends, and this level of trust is different than in-your-face ads, which can really boost your brand’s trust factor and overall reach.
Once sponsored, this process can become an invaluable part of your marketing campaign if you want to spread awareness. You could use one of these for an ongoing contest, discounts and other offers, use it to promote likes and shares, or anything else you may feel is beneficial to your brand-building.
Promoted Posts are essentially Facebook posts that you decide to promote like ads. By promoting your post, the unit will appear higher in your audience’s News Feeds, thus giving them much more visibility. Using a third-party ad-management application to handle your Promoted Post will also give you greater control over the post’s visibility at the end of the day. By treating it like an ad and controlling the targeted audience, figuring out a budget and optimizing your demographics and other parameters, you can reach many more News Feeds with increased visibility.
This is a unique feature in that you have more options to consider and can even save a lot of money. Say you already have a post that’s been working well for you (a contest offer, a cool video that’s been engaged with, etc) but is starting to get stale, well, this becomes an ideal candidate for a Promoted Post. With some budgeting and the power of optimization behind it, you can give it new life and actually make it much stronger than before. This is a great way to get your brand out there.
Spreading Your Message Around
When you use Facebook for business, the idea is to play to the social theme of the site, and this means that you want to reach well beyond Facebook. One site isn’t the be-all, end-all of your marketing. However, with Facebook’s new Embedded Posts feature; you can now embed a popular Facebook post on any one of your websites. This not only helps to tie your entire network in together, but it can really encourage people to follow your brand on Facebook.
What type of post should you embed on your site? Well, if you’re trying to promote a new eBook, book of poems, weight-loss guide, or anything that you’re trying to sell, you could embed real user reviews from Facebook on your site to let people know how your material is received. You can extend on this and post different polls, cool and funny status updates, interesting graphics and images, or anything that’s performing well on Facebook that you want others to see and share.
Catering to Your Niche Market
In order to cater to your niche, you have to find your niche. Twitter created something that’s really amazing for categorizing popular search terms that many marketers use for a variety of benefits: Hashtags. These little #SometimesAnnoyingBlurbs of text create an instantly-checkable catalog of posts also using the same hashtag, and Facebook has recently jumped aboard. #ChooChoo!
How does this work in your favor? For starters, you can forget about using keyword-finding tools in an attempt to compete in the long haul with SEO keywords and can instead focus more immediately on hashtags that are trending in your respective niche. Say that you’re catering to the non-fiction murder mystery genre in literature. You can find related hashtags, use them in your status, posts, and even ads, and the customers searching that hashtag in their niche have a much higher likelihood of finding you.
Leveraging the Site’s Algorithm
How exactly do you leverage a site’s algorithm when no one really knows exactly how the algorithm works? Facebook explains their EdgeRank algorithm in fairly good detail, pointing out the Weight, Affinity and Time Decay variables, but it’s like KFC in the sense that they can’t tell you the whole recipe. You know the chicken’s fried, has salt and tastes amazing, but good luck making it at home.
With EdgeRank, all you have to know is this: Quality and engagement put you in a good position.
For instance, aspects of the algorithm like Affinity and Weight focus on one-on-one interaction between users and your material, while also focusing on how much effort put into your material via likes and shares. Now, you could get really complicated here when talking about specific examples of how to leverage EdgeRank, and there are articles out there explaining that very well, but let’s just stick with a few principles here.
Make sure every post you put out is aimed directly at the market you’re attempting to target. No scatter-shot logic here; keep it niche-specific. Also, ensure that you’re always putting out posts and other materials that are of pristine quality. Offer something of value to your niche — give them a reason to engage with your material. And, last but certainly not least, mix things up and entertain your audience. Text can get tired in a hurry.
If you can do these simple, affordable and effective things when marketing on Facebook, you can start to build an audience and carve out a space in any niche.
Eric Taylor is a business developer and writer for Qwaya, a technology company specializing in Facebook marketing.