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Ask SMT: What are the Secrets of Facebook Success Today?

Introducing Ask SMT | Social Media TodayWith all the different social media platforms available today, it's impressive that Facebook has maintained their stance at the top of the pyramid. Yes, Facebook remains the dominant social media platform today, and for many companies, Facebook is the most powerful space for cultivating brand awareness, generating leads and building brand loyalty.

It's one thing to acknowledge the value of Facebook, create a Page and post content, but it's a whole other process to develop a branded Facebook strategy that will produce a positive ROI. Even for well-established brands, the constant algorithm changes and feature updates are difficult to keep up with - there are countless methods and strategies with unique variables that need to be considered when creating a Facebook business plan. Given this, we were curious about what basic strategies and advice the experts had to share about succeeding on Facebook today. 

We decided to pass this question on to our SMT influencers; we asked:

“What are the secrets of Facebook success today?

Deborah Sweeney

The best advice I can give to brands struggling with their Facebook presence is not to give up on it. Rather, conduct some A/B testing with your posts to see what your audience (and beyond) respond to the best. For example, in the content you post switch up the types of images you use, the copy that accompanies the post, the times of day (and days of the week) you post on, and even @ mentioning relevant Facebook pages to what you’re sharing. Making these kinds of tweaks will help you better refine how you reach your audience, but it should also be noted that this is an ongoing process too. Utilize A/B testing on a regular basis to see what your fans respond to better and determine if their engagement habits are changing.

- Deborah Sweeney, CEO, My Corporation


Dan GingissFacebook today has become about two things: Paid media support and fan engagement. I've actually advised my teams to stop wasting time with regular organic updates that don't get any traction. Besides, Facebook's extensive targeting capabilities are what make it stand out from virtually any other marketing channel in existence. It's OK to test out a few posts organically to determine which one should get paid support, but in terms of reaching business goals, paid is the only way to go. Of course, the more money you put behind Facebook marketing, the more people "talk back" in the form of comments on your post. While you might hope that those comments are all about how wonderful your marketing is, of course they aren't. When brands interrupt personal Facebook feeds with marketing, it reminds people that they had a question or complaint for that brand, and the marketing becomes the trigger for them to speak out. Brands must engage back with everyone -- whether it's a complaint, a question, or a compliment. By engaging, you show the world that your company is comprised of real human beings who can exhibit empathy and can help solve problems.

- Dan Gingiss, author of Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media


Chad Pollitt


"The “secret” to Facebook success today isn’t really a secret at all – it’s paid media. Facebook’s cost per acquisition consistently comes in at under four dollars for our campaigns. In some cases, less than a dollar fifty. Using third-party software, like the one’s mentioned in The 2017 Social Media Native Advertising Landscape, I’ve seen cost per clicks as low as $0.005. Television advertising executives spend five dollars on distribution for every one dollar they spend on creation. Content marketers do the opposite. This mindset has got to change. Don’t be afraid to spend money on distribution using Facebook."

-Chad Pollitt, VP of Audience, Native Advertising Institute


Barry Feldman

"While it's become very clear that reaching the size audience you want requires buying ads of Facebook, I have seen a couple of trends that are boosting engagement organically.

The first is video, especially Facebook Live. They've poured a lot of effort into building the platform to inspire users to think of Facebook first when it comes to video and increasing the time people spend on Facebook. So they reward those that use it with better reach - no charge (for now).

The other trend that appears to be on the rise is the use of Facebook groups. While a lot of social media channels offer their users the ability to create groups for like-minded people to rally around a specific topic, Facebook groups seem to engage users more effectively. I'm a member of a few groups that act as Q&A forums, so I find a lot good ideas being shared. -- Also, I created a private Facebook group for followers of mine who wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look at my book launch for The Road to Recognition, and the engagement there has been amazing."

- Barry Feldman, Director at Feldman Creative


Bob Carver, Principal Consultant, Carver Technology Consulting LLC"Facebook requires a comprehensive approach. We do some fundamentals that are the same for each client, and marketing is unique to each client. For any of our clients, we rework their profiles, filling them out completely including corporate information, milestones, services, and adding key links to the their “Our Story” section of the about page. We make sure their branding matches their website, and add custom tabs to drive traffic from Facebook to blogs and other social sites.  We update profile pictures to match current content campaigns, and will often use Facebook sign-up and registration buttons to drive traffic directly from Facebook to current offer landing pages.

For marketing content, each client has a unique audience and the majority of our initial work is to create a detailed profile of their Facebook audiences. Who they are, the personas they match, when they are online in Facebook, and what other social channels they use. When we’re architecting our content plan, we identify content pieces that will resonate well on Facebook, or, depending on the size or type of organization, create a Facebook only content plan. We feel a mix of content is the best, short and long blog posts, infographics, and Facebook friendly video is a must. We like explainer style videos that have captioning built in. They play right in the feed, and don’t require sound in order to get the message across the casual viewer.

That’s the one assumption we make about all Facebook audiences – they are casual viewers. We assume they are sitting on the couch, or out on their deck with a beer or glass of wine surfing Facebook while doing something else like watching TV or chatting with friends. Content has to be quick, and compelling to draw people in. Native video is great for that. For blog posts, infographics or curated content we really work to find one or two lines to share with a link that will entice people to click. For example, if we’re sharing a link about the benefits of sales automation, we make sure the article title is visible in the link area, but our text might say something like, “How many more sales could you make if you didn’t have to spend 40% of your week sending follow-up emails? Sales automation might be the answer.” We talk about Facebook content like ambush style marketing. People are looking to be entertained, and they don’t want to engage, we have to ambush them. One thing we are changing currently is that we are trying to have posts and videos be more entertaining. We’re actually starting to take some content and rewrite it to be more entertaining for Facebook. This includes funnier pictures, snarky titles, or snarky questions.

We also believe pay to play is essential. Initially for getting the follower base to critical mass, and regularly once campaigns are going to promote the most popular content offers."

- Bob Carver, Principal Consultant, Carver Technology Consulting LLC


Lucy Rendler-Kaplan

"Facebook is a tricky one, in my opinion. I've occasionally even called it a "necessary evil!" It has algorithms that are constantly changing, and the feed goes by so quickly, your posts can often become buried and never seen if you're only working organically with Facebook. However, and remember - these are all just my opinions from working with FB for many years, it still remains king when it comes to targeting.

Are there any real "secrets?" Probably not, but here's what works best for me:

  1. Make sure you're engaging with everyone (except true trolls!) that have taken the time to share UGC or ask a question on your page. I like to keep myself to an under 5 hour response rate (unless it's overnight and I'm sleeping) to ensure people are responded to in a timely manner.
  2. Find out what's most important to the people that follow your page and strive to give them more of "that." Why should someone come to YOUR page? I'll tell you. Because you're there to personalize your content so that each person that visits, feels like each of your posts was written specifically to them.
  3. Do a LOT of research. Find out the times most of your community is online and make sure you're posting then. Find out what people are looking to your competitors for, and provide them with that info before they even find the time to seek out their answers elsewhere. Anticipate what people want to know and surprise them by already having that info at the ready for them.
  4. See which posts people respond to and like the most - is it video? BTS? Photos? Target people that "should" be visiting and spending time on your page but aren't by researching where they're going instead. Then use Facebook's targeted advertising to excite them about YOUR page.
  5. Once you've started targeting, Audience Insights is your new best friend. You can dig down deep into analytics very easily and utilize that data to stretch your Facebook ad dollars even further. "

- Lucy Rendler-Kaplan, Founder of Arkay Marketing & PR

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