Establishing marketing goals is critical to the success of your Facebook marketing. Countless entrepreneurs and businesses have set up a Facebook presence, made a few posts, and then let it sit untouched for months or even years. This is usually due to a lack or absence of goals. So before you even begin establishing any sort of Facebook presence or strategy, you need to establish clear marketing goals.
Your goals should be specific, measurable, and attainable. They can be long term, short term, or a mix of both. Deadlines and milestones can be helpful as well. “I want to increase my social following” would be an example of a bad goal that will likely result in your marketing efforts petering out after a while because there are no specific milestones. “I want to gain 1,000 likes by Christmas” is an example of a good goal. It’s specific, measurable, and certainly attainable. Below are some examples of the various goal categories you might be interested in.
Traffic to Website (Sales, Leads, Content)
Probably one of the most popular goals of Facebook Marketing is to funnel your Facebook traffic back to your own web properties. After all, most businesses don’t do business “on” Facebook. You’re leveraging Facebook to obtain traffic and convert that Facebook traffic into brand-followers, leads prospects, and customers. So maybe your goal is to get people to a landing page with a free offer where they can subscribe to your list and become a lead. Maybe they’re being sent to a sales page or an eCommerce store. Maybe you just want to do some content marketing and send them to your blog. Whatever the case, the end goal for a lot of businesses will likely be bringing Facebook traffic AWAY from Facebook and over to their own web properties.
Social Following (aka Facebook as Autoresponder)
In this goal category, your aim is to build a large number of followers. This usually means “likes” in the case of a business/brand page or it could mean “friends” if you’re focusing on your personal profile. The reason we also refer to this as “Facebook as Autoresponder” is because the main sought-after benefit here is to increase the number of people who will see your posts in their newsfeeds. In this sense, your Facebook posts become similar to sending out email broadcasts via your autoresponder. It should be noted that Facebook has recently adjusted its algorithms in such a way that people tend to see fewer posts from businesses they’ve “liked”. This means a much smaller percentage of your followers will see your posts in their newsfeeds today than did in the past. Still, if you grow a large enough community, this can still be very beneficial and if your content is engaging enough to get a lot of traction in the form of lies, comments, and shares, you can significantly increase the range of your organic reach into people’s newsfeeds.
Some businesses might have purely passive goals. Simply being present and discoverable inside Facebook is a benefit that has wider appeal and greater utility than you may think. In many cases, a company’s Facebook presence might supersede or even totally replace what was once the role of a website. Your business’ phone number, address, directions, hours of operation, mission statement and so on can now all be found on a Facebook page and, depending on your audience, that might be where most people seek you out, rather than your website. The ease of posting announcements, updates, photos, and other content without relying on a web developer or having to use a web-building platform also makes Facebook pages an attractive alternative to the traditional website model. This same approach can also be used for events, communities, and brands.
Another goal that’s less thought about might be spreading brand awareness and recognition. If you’re just starting out, there’s a good chance your brand might be in need of a jumpstart. If nobody’s ever heard of you, a great way to increase recognition is to simply create and share unique, helpful, or entertaining content and get your name, logo, and overall brand identity in front of as many people as possible as many times as possible. If this is your goal, you want to avoid being salesy in the beginning. Ensure you’re focused almost entirely on posting helpful, relevant, or entertaining content.
Expand Existing Audiences
If you’ve already got an audience, your goal might be to make it bigger. This can be done via several social marketing methods. Sharing viral content, either curated or created yourself, can lead to a huge increase in your Facebook audience. Recently, a restaurant in Southern California released a 60-second video with shots of people enjoying their signature menu item, an enormous T-bone steak topped with melted cheese, and it went viral in one day. They had already garnered a respectable audience prior to the video, but after the video, their Facebook audience and engagement skyrocketed (and so did their foot traffic). Although creating your own viral content like that can be great, if you don’t have the time or means to do so, you can simply leverage existing content that’s already proven itself to be viral by curating/re-sharing it with your own comments or angle added to it. Also, a few humorous images and memes can’t hurt either.
Other ways to expand existing audiences can include contests, sweepstakes, and gamification. Assuming your offers/prizes are compelling enough, incentivized sharing can be very effective. Just ensure your methods are permitted by Facebook’s Terms of Service.
Enhancing or Repairing Public Relations
Do you want to set your company apart in the public eye? Do you want to associate your brand with feelings of goodwill and community involvement? Did you accidentally spill a ton of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and kill a bunch of fish? If any of these apply to you, then enhancing or repairing public relations could certainly be a good Facebook marketing goal for your business.
You can bet that when a certain major energy giant had an oil spill on its hands a few years ago and became public enemy number one, they went into PR repair overdrive. They were literally hated by almost everybody and their business could easily have disappeared off the face of the earth. But instead, they handled it masterfully and began pouring millions, if not billions, of dollars into massive PR campaigns to improve their image and highlight their commitment not only to fixing the mess but to the environment in general. This PR campaign lasted years and you can bet they leveraged social media platforms like Facebook as well.
But it doesn’t take a humiliating public catastrophe to make PR enhancement a good idea. This is a goal that any business can engage in. Non-sales related campaigns can include photos or videos that foster positive values and goodwill or even involvement in social movements (be careful not alienate half your prospects) and noble causes. Did your business recently donate to a charity, build a school in a third world country, serve food at a local pantry? These are all things to post about. These don’t necessarily need to be about things that your business participated in. They can be content about general things like a heart-warming video about helping the poor or caring for the elderly. Special holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Mother’s Day also present opportunities to leverage emotions, foster goodwill, and enhance your PR.
A hugely beneficial goal of Facebook marketing is market research. If you’re just starting your business or going down a new path, Facebook can be an excellent place to learn more about your audience and your market. This can be done in a structured way with things like surveys and questionnaires, or in a less structured way by simply engaging with your audience, commenting, asking questions, and so on. Also, lurking or conversing in Facebook groups related to your industry can teach you a ton about what your customers want and who they are. Beyond that, you can monitor your competitors’ pages and groups to see what their customers like and what they’re complaining about so you can adjust your business accordingly. Creating your own group and engaging within it is another great way to get a constant stream of market/audience data flowing into your business. Ultimately, your goal should be to come up with one or two ideal customer avatars that you can then base your marketing and product development on.
All of the goals you’ve learned about in this section require some sort of presence on Facebook. Your Facebook presence can take various forms, and that’s what we’ll discuss next.