By Cameron Chapman
As the largest social network in the world, it has more than 500 million active users, half of whom log in on a daily basis. They rack up a total of more than 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month. People share more than 30 billion pieces of content every month, including links, news stories, blog posts, photo albums, and notes.
With numbers like those, ignoring Facebook isn’t really an option anymore for most marketers. The problem is, how are you supposed to use it?
If you’re not an active user, it can be confusing. Sure, catching up with old classmates is easy enough, but how do you turn all of those little messages and profiles into actual results?
Well… it’s simpler than you might think. In this post, I’ll show you the basics of how to use Facebook to your advantage. It’s aimed at the beginner who maybe has a personal profile but has done little else, and it’s restricted primarily to marketing on Facebook, not with all the FB social add-ons recently released.
Let’s get started.
Who’s On Facebook?
Let’s get one common misconception out of the way right off: Facebook is not just for college kids anymore. Sure, it started out that way, as a social network specifically for college students, but Facebook now has millions of members across the demographic spectrum.
The largest segment of Facebook users fall into the 35-54 age range, while the fastest-growing segment is over 55. So regardless of how old your target market is, Facebook can be a great way to reach them.
How Can You Market on Facebook?
Facebook has three tools that can be used by anyone. Each of these options has its own purpose, and can be combined for greater reach.
Facebook pages are similar to profiles, but for businesses, organizations and public figures.
While profiles require a mutual relationship between friends, pages can be liked by anyone, without a requirement for the page creator to accept a fan. They also don’t have the same restriction on the number of friends/fans they can have, unlike profiles (which are limited to 5,000 friends).
Advantages: They’re free and easy to set up.
Disadvantages: Can be hard to get a foothold and build a fan base.
Facebook offers a fantastic targeted advertising platform. You can create ads targeted at specific geographic areas, age groups, and even things like college major. Facebook also lets users like ads or close ads they don’t like, meaning that Facebook is constantly delivering better-targeted ads to their users.
Advantages: Powerful targeting parameters.
Disadvantages: Can get expensive, depending on your goals.
Facebook groups are similar to discussion forums but with additional features similar to what pages and profiles have (like a Wall). You can create groups related to your industry or product offerings as a way to reach out to potential customers.
Advantages: Free and high levels of engagement.
Disadvantages: Can be very time consuming.