Facebook is still the most valuable social media platform for online marketing. With almost 1.2 billion active users, Facebook offers unprecedented access directly to consumers. Using Facebook for brand awareness requires that you understand how the platform works as well as how consumers generally use the platform. As a primarily social platform, there are some challenges that online marketers face when attempting to market their brand.
Building brand awareness from scratch.
All brands start out small. It’s important that you begin building brand awareness by laying down a solid foundation. You should put a lot of work into building a solid brand identity before you move into social media. Once you begin using Facebook, you can start reaching out to the community by targeting the demographics that are most likely to use your product. You can view the people that are following your competitors, those that have expressed interest in similar products or those that are in your geographic location.
Your brand will only be able to grow if you plant seeds properly and care for them well. Initially building brand awareness on Facebook takes a significant amount of time, and it requires momentum. If you stop building your brand, for any reason, you’ll quickly find yourself losing steam. For this reason, you need to have a good idea of where you’re going and how to get there from the very beginning.
Using incentives to increase brand awareness.
Incentives may increase brand awareness by almost 40 percent on Facebook. The social nature of Facebook requires that there be a reason for consumers to share information. Having incentives attached to a campaign leads consumers to the feeling that they are sharing something valuable. Incentives depend on the company involved: discount coupons, free shipping, samples or trials are all examples of valuable incentives that are likely to be shared often.
To properly use incentives, companies need to identify a low-cost offer that they can provide to their customers that will be compelling to new consumers. However, it’s also important to note that a company should already have a fairly strong brand identity when offering incentives. Companies also need to be prepared for their incentives: online companies may experience a large influx in traffic should their incentives truly take off.
Leveraging content marketing for social sharing.
Content marketing is exceptionally important today because it builds brand awareness while encouraging consumers to share content on their own–thereby doing much of the marketing leg work themselves. Content marketing is the art of creating content that is compelling and unique without being overly self-promotional. The core of content marketing is to develop your brand as a trustworthy resource that people go to for information regarding your industry or your product. Proper content marketing articles are usually well-researched, targeted to the brand and linked directly to authority resources.
Successful content marketing eventually increases your overall exposure through sharing. You can create content that is specifically designed to be compelling to those on Facebook, and thus will be shared among many members. This eventually draws consumers back to you and your brand. Content marketing is a valuable social media tool that can be used on any platform, but Facebook is where it really shines; a properly done content marketing piece will grow legs of its own. Content marketing also isn’t usually expensive: a single original piece a week can be an effective brand awareness tool.
Running contests rather than straight promotions.
There’s something about contests that simply drive people wild. Incentives can be quite costly to a company, but a contest usually allows you to control the amount of money that you put out directly. Creating a simple contest, such as free coffee for a year by Dunkin’ Donuts, will rapidly gain you a consumer base. All you need to do is put in the initial work in getting your contest out there, and consumers will immediately begin participating.
Contests can be even more successful if you ask those signing up for the contest to refer friends to get more entries. This type of promotion tends to grow quickly, especially through a social media platform that is as active and accessible as Facebook. This type of contest may not always translate directly into dollars for the company, but it drastically improves brand identity and exposure.
Using Facebook advertising for brand awareness.
Facebook has been promoting its paid advertising features lately, and for at least a few companies it has worked dramatically well. Paid advertisements on Facebook have an unprecedented amount of control: they can be targeted directly to a very specific subset of Facebook users, and thus they allow you to cut right to your core demographic. While a paid Facebook advertising campaign may be more expensive than a purely social media campaign, it may very well pay off in the long run for a company that is trying to build its brand awareness.
As with all types of brand awareness campaign, Facebook advertising requires that the company have a solid brand and understand the platform very well. The advertising can be geared not only towards increasing brand awareness but also conversion, and this makes it very useful for companies that want to increase both brand awareness and sales.
Encouraging repeat visitors on Facebook.
Success on the Facebook platform requires that those advertising on Facebook be extremely knowledgeable about how the platform works. Adding “pages” on Facebook and keeping them updated frequently is a fantastic way to ensure that people visit them frequently. The more often someone visits your page, the more likely they are to either purchase from you or share content on your page with another person.
Groups are another way to encourage repeat visitors, and often work very similarly to a message board system. An open group that has compelling information and active company representatives is extremely attractive to those that are interested in learning more about your particular brand or even your industry. As mentioned, quality content is the best way to keep visitors coming back for more.
Engaging your audience in communication.
Social media truly shines in the ability to engage your audience on a regular basis. With social media, you can directly speak to your consumers or prospective consumers about the issues that matter to them. Don’t neglect this extremely important component to a social media campaign. Many companies receive positive press for speaking with their consumers openly and candidly about their company and their products, and there is nothing better than positive press for building a brand identity.
Moreover, you can also study your consumers to see what they’re saying about your brand on Facebook. This offers the unique ability to gather information regarding what would make your brand more attractive and which of your social media strategies are actually working. It may even give you insight into different directions you could take your social media campaign.
Sharing other content and keeping active.
Sharing other pictures, news stories and links is a fantastic way to essentially get content for free. Keeping your Facebook account active is extremely important for any social media campaign, but there are times when it may simply not be cost-effective to produce your own content. Instead, you can link to valuable content that ties into your brand. This does a few things: it establishes you as an authority in your industry, encourages readers to view you as a comprehensive resource and increases the amount of material on your account.
When keeping your account active, you sometimes need to get creative. You can post updates about projects that your company is still working on, or highlight consumers that have nice things to say about your company. The most important thing is that you thoroughly examine the sources of any content that you choose to share: the last thing you want to do is drive consumers to a competitor, or inadvertently connect with a company that has a controversial reputation.
Keeping tabs on your statistics.
It’s important that you keep an eye on which strategies are doing well and which strategies aren’t. You want to put an emphasis on content that will be shared. 70 percent of consumers will trust brand recommendations that originate from friends, but only 10 percent will trust those that come purely from advertising. For this reason, it’s essential that you focus on quality content that will be shared. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to predict in advance which content will prove to be more popular.
The Internet can be an extraordinarily complex place. Keeping track of your statistics is the only way that you’ll be able to identify the best campaigns and figure out which are working best for you. In the beginning, it may feel as though you’re trying a lot of different things and not getting significant results. Slowly, however, you’ll find that you develop a feel for what will be popular and what will keep people coming back for more.
Remaining consistent and developing a company voice.
Today’s consumers are extremely savvy about advertising, and they tend to be skeptical of anything that is overly promotional. As a primarily social platform, Facebook attracts consumers that may react negatively to attempts to sell products to them. For that reason, a company needs to focus on maintaining quality content and creating a company voice that feels authentic and natural to their consumers. Responding to and otherwise interacting with consumers in too formal a fashion on a social media platform is a fast way to turn many of them off.
At the same time, it’s critical that a balance be struck: a company that is too casual in their conversational tone may be seen as unprofessional. A company will need to decide on its voice early on and remain consistent throughout. A company’s social media account should always be controlled directly by media professionals, as a single issue with company correspondence can quickly spiral out of control. There have been many examples of a single, unprofessional company response that went viral and thus plummeted the company’s brand identity within hours.
While Facebook is by far the most popular online platform, it isn’t the only one that’s important. A comprehensive brand awareness campaign requires multiple platforms working together to create a cohesive and targeted strategy. Which platforms are most important to your brand will often be determined by your brand’s targeted demographics: different platforms are more popular among different sectors of the population.