Before Facebook there was MySpace – but a lot of people probably don’t remember it. Even if they do, it never impacted society and business as massively as Facebook has — and continues to do.
Facebook started as a sleek, clean interface for college socializing — a welcome minimalist platform once MySpace started to get flashy and, as a result, outdated.
Facebook is huge and booming now. You can’t read a magazine or watch a movie without it being mentioned. It wasn’t always the king of the internet, though. People who have used Facebook from its start saw how carefully and slowly the platform grew. That’s the main reason why they’re now able to handle such a huge user base, which includes 80 million small- and mid-size business pages, 6 million of which use Facebook advertising.
How Businesses Use Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads
Let’s start with the basics.
A post’s organic reach – which means how many people it connects to without paid advertising – is 6.4 percent, and it’s been declining for the past few years. Not only do paid ads have more targeting options, but there’s a better likelihood they’ll be seen by your audience.
When you first look at Facebook’s ad manager, you’ll be overwhelmed. There are a lot of options and you probably don’t understand what most of them mean yet.
That’s okay. Like with many things, getting a grasp on the basics of Facebook advertising will give you enough to work with now so you can begin designing ads and learning as you go.
Possibly the easiest way to start using Facebook advertising is to boost a post. Choosing a post that’s already received some attention will gain even more traction with an ad boost. If you want to put a post up to see if it attracts any attention before you boost it, you can schedule it for later to publish at an optimized time.
When boosting a post, you’ll have to choose an audience. If you simply want to expand your reach on Facebook, you can opt for targeting those who like your page and their connections. If you want to generate website traffic or leads, you’ll need to target your audience by choosing specific demographics.
If you’re ready to take things a little further and you have a solid understanding of your audience, consider creating a custom ad. You’ll have a number of design and targeting choices to make, which lets you customize your ad in a number of ways.
Trend for 2019: Live Chat for Customer Service
Today’s consumers want more accessible and convenient customer service than calling a number, navigating a lengthy menu and waiting on hold indefinitely. According to Inc., 42 percent of consumers prefer live chat. With Facebook’s live chat functionality, both basic or with add-on apps, businesses can meet customers where they already are: on social media. Businesses are also able to gather useful customer information via chat widgets.
If you notice you’re being inundated with live chat requests, consider filling out your about section some more. Make sure it has all the basics, like location, contact information and an overview of what your company does. You can also add answers to FAQ to cut down on how many messages you have to personally respond to.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t have live chat as your one and only customer service option. Not everyone has a Facebook account. Some other Facebook users, while they haven’t deactivated their profile, are wary of conducting any personal business online and will prefer to call your business.
Trend for 2019: Video is Out-Performing Other Types of Posts
Businesses can’t ignore the need for video content any longer. Video posts see an average of 59 percent more engagement than other types of posts. In 2018, a whopping 81 percent of the top posts were videos, while just 18 percent were images and a teeny .2 percent were links.
There are two main reasons why video marketing is so effective: consumers want interactive experiences and they want more storytelling. Video is being used by businesses in all sorts of ways. The Norfolk Police Department recorded a lip sync challenge, which helped humanize them – and didn’t cost a thing to create and post. Tasty from BuzzFeed has both short and longer videos featuring everything from practical cooking advice to food artists.
Trend for 2019: Tap and Hold Videos
One specific type of video that’s new to Facebook is the tap and hold video. There’s a call to action on the video that tells the user to tap and hold (as opposed to automatically playing). Once the user interacts with the video, a video or a slideshow will begin playing, then stop once the user stops pressing.
This helps marketers zero in on exactly who is truly interacting with their content. It also makes users feel like they’re part of the experience. A good rule of thumb is to use unique content for these videos – if you use the same content that’s in another video, image, or post, your users won’t have any reason to see what’s hiding here in these must-interact-with videos.
Facebook has undoubtedly changed the way businesses and customers connect with one another. In 2019, the platform isn’t slowing down at all. Instead, it’s listening to what customers want and delivering solutions, and it’s also influencing how people find and digest content.