Facebook Marketing: Myth vs Reality
Every day, hundreds of social media marketing “experts” sign on to “the internets” to give their top tips about how to be successful on Facebook.
The problem is, they’re not all saying the same thing. Take the issue of posting frequency. Some experts claim posting once a day is best while others say once a week is ideal. So which is it?
At my company, we manage 500,000 custom Facebook apps and 1.6 billion Likes so we have seen plenty of evidence about what works and what doesn’t work on Facebook. That’s what I’ll explain in this article.
If you’re a business owner who is trying to separate myth from reality, here’s what you need to know.
The Facebook Myth: “Boosting” posts is a waste of money
Lately I’ve been hearing more and more about the new “Boost” button. What used to be Facebook’s “Promoted Post” feature has been changed to an easy-to-access Boost button that appears in the bottom righthand corner of a Status Update and in the Posts section of the Admin Panel.
When clicked, Facebook will promote that particular post to your fans and their friends. There’s no need to go through Facebook’s Ad Manager or Power Editor; simply select your budget and go.
Is it effective? Some Facebook marketing leaders say it’s not. At a recent social media conference, my employees heard an attendee ask a Facebook expert about Boosting posts and the speaker said; “No business benefits from using the Boost button.”
Well, with apologies to all the Boost naysayers out there, my company does in fact benefit from Boosted posts.
We’ve experimented with every sort of Facebook ad — Sponsored Stories, Page Post ads, News Feed ads, display ads, etc. — and we tend to see the most engagement and reach when we simply Boost a post.
So why are marketers so dismissive of this feature? I’ve heard marketers say, “You shouldn’t need the Boost button if you are doing things right.” This may be true, but the fact is that regardless of what we are doing, we are all at the mercy of the Edgerank algorithm.
Boosting is a quick way to “cheat” the algorithm and, if it works for you, why not?
My suggestion is to test all the different Facebook ads. Don’t write any options off until you test what does and doesn’t work for you.
The Myth: Brands should only post once a day
When it comes to how many times a business should post on Facebook, I truly believe there is no right answer. A majority of marketers say that businesses should post one to two times a day, but this depends on your business.
For example, my business is an international product. We have 230,000 users in 184 countries in every timezone of the globe. If you consider time differences, it’s not hard to see that posting once a day is not going to reach a majority of our audience.
So we’ve found that posting three to four, even five times a day is what works best — for us.
You have to test what works for you. There is no absolute right or wrong on Facebook, (okay there are actually some wrongs, as we recently discovered).
At ShortStack, the way we found out what worked for us was by going dark for a week. That’s right, we didn’t post a single thing for a week. Then we posted once a day for a week, followed by a week during which we posted three to five times a day.
We concluded that the more we posted the more effective our reach was with all of our other marketing efforts, too. Facebook is definitely a hub for us. (We also learned that most of my ideas for tests eventually show us what NOT to do
The Myth: Businesses Should Have a Content Schedule
I’m probably going to get some cranky emails or tweets from this one, but I just don’t think it’s necessary for marketers to have a content schedule for their Facebook Pages.
Yes, as a Facebook Page manager you should have a general plan that helps lay out the overall goals of your Facebook Page. But scheduling out your posts for the week or even the day, doesn’t necessarily translate to successful Facebook marketing.
Why? As a business you have to be prepared to provide your fans with the most valuable and up to date information.
If you’re scheduling out your posts, you’re not leaving room for spontaneity. What if something awesome happens in your office? Or news breaks that affects your industry?
You should be prepared at any moment to tell your fans what’s happening now.
My suggestion is have a rough plan — post 2-4 times a day, talk about xx, etc. — but don’t get bogged down by a strict content schedule.
The Myth: Every business should be on Facebook
There’s no denying that Facebook is the most powerful and popular social network for businesses. Because of this, many new business owners think “I have to be on Facebook.”
The truth is, you don’t! In fact, Facebook might be the wrong place for your business.
For example, if you’re a B2B and your main goal is to communicate with five contractors in your town or your industry, Facebook probably won’t be beneficial to you. If your goal is to communicate with thousands of people, Facebook should be higher up on your priority list.
I always recommend that businesses that are just getting started with social media start where they already have a presence.
Chances are your audience is already talking about you somewhere, e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Yelp.
Start your social media presence there, and then slowly add in additional networks when you have time, resources and a clear goal of what you want from that specific network. Never put your business on Facebook just to be on Facebook.
You will most likely fail. Facebook takes a lot of time, thought and strategy for a business to see true success.
Make sure you have a social media plan before you dive in.
What About You?
What Facebook marketing tips do you keep hearing over and over again that you feel aren’t relevant to your business? I would love to hear what’s working and not working for other businesses on Facebook.
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About the Author
Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service custom app design tool used to create apps for Facebook Pages, websites and mobile web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines and more. You can follow ShortStack @shortstacklab.