How to create a Facebook marketing plan in 9 steps
Step 1. Define your audience
How old are they? Where do they live? What kind of jobs do they have? What are their challenges and pain points? How and when do they use Facebook?
You’ll also need to get familiar with Facebook demographics. Once you know who uses the platform and how that maps back to your target customer, you can take a look at Facebook Audience Insights. Use the tool to drill down into the nitty-gritty details about potential customers. Find information on things like age, gender, education, relationship status, location, language, Facebook usage, and even past purchase activity. (For more details, check out our full tutorial on Facebook analytics.)
It can be tempting to focus on vanity metrics, like simply gathering as many Likes as possible. But unless those Likes are part of a broader marketing plan, they’re not going to provide a great return.
Step 2. Set goals
The goals will differ for every business, but they should all focus on actions that have a real impact on your bottom line-like generating leads, increasing conversions on your website, or improving customer service. But those are broad categories of goals. You’ll want to ensure your goals are much more specific and measurable. Here, we recommend using the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting framework.
Everything you do on Facebook-every post, every comment, every ad-should work to support your goals. To keep things on track, it’s a good idea to distill the essence of your strategy down into a Facebook mission statement for your brand. This will help you to maintain a consistent brand voice.
Step 3. Consider your content mix
Once you’ve set your goals, you need to create a plan for how to achieve them. A key part of that plan is determining the right content mix. We recommend starting with either the 80-20 rule or the social media rule of thirds.
If you follow the 80-20 rule, you’ll use 80 percent of your Facebook posts to inform, educate, and entertain, and the other 20 percent to promote your brand. Remember that using Facebook for business is all about building relationships, and self promotion is not a great way to do that. But if you provide enough value, your audience will be open to learning about your products and services in those 20 percent of posts that are more sales-focused.
The social media rule of thirds also prescribes a good mix of valuable content vs. promotional posts. That is, one-third of your content should share ideas and stories, one-third should involve personal interactions with your followers, and the remaining third can promote your business.
Either way, the goal is to provide more value than promotional material to keep followers engaged. Facebook’s algorithm will always penalize brands that push sales too hard.
Facebook wants its users’ news feeds to be full of content they want to Like and share. As a marketer, you should want that too. All those Likes and shares help extend your reach and put your brand in front of new eyeballs.
The final part of your plan is to determine when and how often to post. Even though the algorithm means posts don’t appear in chronological order, you have the best chance of making it to the top of the pile if you post when your audience is most active on the network.
This will take some trial and error to pin down for your specific business (using engagement data gleaned from Page Insights). But research generally shows that the best time to post is Thursday or Friday from 1 to 3 p.m., so that’s a good place to start. Since it’s important to post consistently, create a content calendar to help balance your mix of content types and keep your posting schedule on track.
Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.
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For more strategic planning ideas, check out our post on how to create a social media marketing plan.
Step 4. Create a Facebook Business Page
Once you have your audience, goals, and content strategy nailed down, it’s time to create a Facebook Page.
As Facebook puts it, your business’s profile is “a cornerstone of [your] online identity.” It’s where you post content and engage with followers. It doesn’t cost anything to set up a Facebook Page or post content, which is great if you’re working with a limited budget.
How big can a Facebook Page following get? Coca-Cola has one of the highest brand follower counts, currently sitting at more than 105 million.
But you don’t need millions of followers to make a Facebook Page worthwhile. Neon Retro Arcade in Pasadena, California, has about 25,800 followers. And the promotions they run on their Page have been successful enough that they’ve stopped advertising in their local newspaper.