Facebook is an online platform for connecting, engaging & interacting with various audiences. When businesses use it for online marketing, their campaigns need to incorporate the same fundamental principles underlying traditional marketing, but adapted to the online mode.
This post lays out the Facebook strategy & concept for any company as six distinctive stages, categorized into planning, implementation & measurement, designed to achieve the marketing objectives.
Stage 1: Research, analysis & goal setting
The first stage is to understand & define the marketing objectives of the company. These can be varied, ranging from Brand awareness, Publicity, Lead Generation, Online Sales (e-commerce) Customer feedback, Customer service or a combination of all of these.
Also, the various avenues of integrating Facebook marketing with traditional marketing will be explored. E.g. Putting the link for the Facebook page on the product packages, promotional literature & also on promotions through above the line marketing channels like TV & Radio, creating & implementing QR codes.
Social marketing activities of competition should be analyzed & best elements incorporated into the strategy map. Key performance metrics should be determined & set at this stage to avoid pitfalls during performance measurement.
Stage 2: Planning the campaign
This involves planning the various elements required for the Facebook audience building advertising campaign. The suitable target audience on Facebook should be determined, as defined by their preferences. Preferences will be a combination of various factors such as Location (Mumbai, Delhi), Age group (25-40, 41-60), Gender, likes to similar pages or products and so on. The budget for the campaign should be determined & allocated right at the beginning.
The next most important step is to identify the type of content that the target audience will like to consume. This will help in creating the ‘hook’ & also the conversational starter to the page.
Also, the day-to-day operational elements of the campaign should be finalized, such as no. of posts per day, type of content to be shared periodically, designing the content plan, resource planning for content development.
Various contest ideas will be shortlisted e.g. Like the Facebook page for discounts, refer a friend, share your user experience for gratification, submit a recipe & win prizes and so on.
Stage 3: Audience Building
Once the planning is done, a Facebook fan page should be created. The planned Facebook advertising campaign should be taken live, wherein Facebook ads to encourage the selected target audiences to like the Facebook page should be carried out.
Along, with the advertising campaign, the link to the Facebook page will be posted to various online forums & similar Facebook pages, encouraging the forum members & page fans to visit the company page or website for getting answers to their product related queries.
The various avenues of integrating the Facebook campaign with the physical campaign should go live simultaneously, such as printing Facebook links, QR codes on product packaging & promotional material.
Stage 4: Audience engagement
The audience engagement process should occur concurrently with the audience building process. To facilitate engagement & interaction with the target audience, suitable content should be shared at predetermined intervals through various forms like photos, videos, articles and text updates. Content sharing is critical, as it helps generate word-of-mouth for the fan page & also for the product promotion that will follow.
A connect with the audience can be established through live Q&A sessions & daily interactions. An attempt should be made to address the genuine needs of the fans of the page by tapping into the company’s network of resources.
Stage 5: Product promotion & other marketing objectives
This stage is about converting the fans into customers & advocates. As a general rule in social media, you need to engage & connect with the audience before selling products & services to them. Hence this stage is a culmination of the effort put into all the previous stages. Happy & engaged audiences will be more likely to consider the company’s products or to advocate them to their friends and family.
To achieve the marketing objectives set at the beginning of the campaign, various means will be adopted such as creating Facebook apps or landing pages with tools and content that helps the consumer try or buy the product. Various contests determined during the research and planning stage will be executed.
This will ultimately have an impact on the product’s top line & to create a connect with the brand.
Stage 6: Performance measurement
The key metrics set for the program should be periodically evaluated & measured. Corrective actions should be taken wherever necessary. The key metrics should be reviewed with company from time to time.
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