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12 Tips for an effective Facebook Strategy in & post COVID19

Date of Publication: 25 May, 2020

New York Times Reports about Facebook,

The social network is straining to deal with skyrocketing usage as its 45,000 employees work from home for the first time…In many countries, messaging on Instagram and Facebook soared by over 50 percent, while group calls in Italy jumped by more than 1,000 percent.

On-shore, as I reported in my previous blog, Scope of Online Branding During the #Lockdown and Beyond – Indian Business Perspective, according to an article published in Economic Times, on 28 March, Neilson had reported a 50X rise in social media volume between January and March, 2020, in India. As per the report social media buzz jumped from 0.4 million in Jan ’20 to 20.3 million till 24th March 2020. With the trend going upward it is expected to rise to a skyrocketing level in mid-May’20 with the extended lockdown.

What this means is that Facebook is now fast becoming Ground Zero for advertising. So being present for the sake of it without a planned approach could lead to wastage. You need to be focused to survive and emerge as the winner. To prosper, you need an effective Facebook strategy in this challenging scenario. I have made an effort to list out the tips and best practices that can get you results on Facebook.

Anirban Guha

Anirban Guha

Digital Marketing Expert | Media Strategist | Entrepreneur

Table of Contents

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We will also try to answer your questions on the subject if you have any.

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As per reports, Facebook usage has increased by 70% in March ’20. The trend was upward and I leave to your good judgement to deduce what it could be this May 2020. People are turning to Facebook to stay informed, connected, and entertained while spending more time at home. Strikingly, most are displaying online behavior quite different from the pre-COVID19 scenario. There has definitely been a surge but it is skewed.

However, I believe, now is a convenient time for marketers to double-down on social media, especially Facebook, to build relationships with new and existing customers.

To understand how you could modify your Facebook Strategy, let us check out few stats...

The Facebook Numerical

  • Gender Ratio of Facebook Users:  54% female and 46% male.
  • Among all people who surf internet, 83% of Women & 75% of Men use Facebook.
  • An average Facebook user has about 155 “friends”.
  • 88% of internet users between 18 and 29 years are on Facebook, while 84% of them are  30-49 years.
  • World wide 82% of college graduates are on Facebook.
  • The largest population on Facebook is from India with over 270 million users as per data available in April last year. Now, with the exponential growth the figure is expected to grow to about 350-450 million.
  • 96% of Facebook users accessed via mobile devices.
  • There are over 7 million Facebook advertisers world wide.
  • 93% of marketers regularly use Facebook advertising for brand promotion and lead generation
  • The Average CPC for Facebook Ads Is $1.86, Average CTR is 0.9%, and Average CPM is $11.20.
  • Through Facebook one can potentially reach of 1.9 billion people world wide.
  • In every 60 seconds, there are 317,000 status updates; 147,000 photo uploads; and 54,000 link shares that happen in Facebook
  • 85% of Facebook users watch videos in mute mode. About 80% of users get really annoyed with the sound of a video, giving them a negative impression of your brand.
  • Politics account for 36% of top stories on Facebook
  • Be prepared that there are 120 million fake users on Facebook.
  • Facebook users spend 38 minutes per day using the platform.
  • 87% of coworkers connect using Facebook.
  • 74% of Facebook users visit the site daily.

#1 Know your Audience

12 Tips for an effective Facebook Strategy in & post COVID19​ 5

–When crafting updates for your page, you need to aim for fan engagement as your main goal.

–You’ll need to:

  • –Understand – Re-define – Re-tone
  • –Discover New Realities – Challenges & Opportunities

Today, marketing relies heavily on empathy, which depends on your understanding of the emotions of the audience you want to reach out to.

Being an existing player most think they know it all. Yes, you know your business and customers better than anyone else. No denying that. But do you know them in their present situation? Do you think there are opportunities that could be explored to reach out but you haven’t tried before?

It really doesn’t matter who you are or the length of your market presence — now is an excellent time to take a step back and re-acquaint yourself with your audiences.

Here’s how:

  • Get the basic information: Find answers to questions such as age, location, gender, basic interests, income level, etc. Once you have a basic outline of a profile, go further and ask yourself, “So what?” and “What does this mean?” 
  • Find out what they are doing and thinking now: Time to dig. Do some research. Check in with influencers that target your audience, and do what ever it takes to be in you customers’ shoes. How are they positioned in this economic turmoil? How are they now dealing with work from home (WFH)? How are they managing their basic chores and necessities? How are they managing their kids now that schools are closed? Are they trying to stay fit and healthy while in quarantine? Howe are they keeping themselves engaged in the free time?
  • Take those answers and take a step back. Empty your cup forget everything you have learned earlier, everything you thought you knew about your customers. With the answer you will find new realities and new challenges and new opportunities. Seek ways to find how you can leverage these new knowledge and opportunity to reach out to your audiences.

This in-depth knowledge of your customers will set the tone for everything you do during a crisis like COVID-19 and even beyond. The relationships you build through effectively knowing and meeting customer needs will endure long after the crisis is gone.

#2 Simplify your Facebook Strategy

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If you are thinking of a paradigm shift and revamping of entire business process – Hold On!! Getting to know new realities does not mean that you abandon your traditional approaches altogether. Do a feasibility study on what minimum deviation you can employ, while keeping focus on your organization’s current key sources of truth. This will enable you to quickly understand the shifts and make media optimizations.

#3 Be Human - Focus less on 'You', more on 'Them'

–Try being personal and not generic

  • –Reply to comments on first name basis
  • –Always show you care
  • –Give respect to every audience, be as polite as possible, even to the rude ones as well.

–Kill people with Kindness

All businesses need profits to survive, but what I suggest is that, during this conundrum it may not be a very good long term prospective to be rigid with your traditional KPIs. Don’t discard them altogether; they’ll eventually move back to the top, but what you need is to assess what success looks like now versus what it looked like before.

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Here are few situations:

Situation 1:

Traditional Approach:

ROI Focus

What it should be now:

Focus on Engagement Metrics. As people may not be willing to buy now but definitely when things reaches a new normal

Situation 2:

Traditional Approach:

The reports were generated month on month, Quarterly or LY vs TY.

What it should be now:

The reports will be skewed now. So add caveats, comments, and non-KPI success stories to those reports.

Situation 3:

Traditional Approach:

If a plan or campaign doesn’t work to provide right ROI we move on

 

What it should be now:

If a campaign or a plan doesn’t get you the right result don’t just discard. Check if you have the right KPIs in Place.

Re-organizing your success metrics right now might lead you to new opportunities. All you should do right now is to build and maintain a good relationship with your customers, new and old. People may not be in the right position or mood to buy right now, but they will buy again eventually. Build your position such that you become their first stop when things settle down.

This will act as a launching platform for your post-COVID19 strategy. I think we can all agree that this crisis will change things, some of them forever. That definitely applies to marketing. The things you do now could lead to insights, campaign ideas, and strategies that last long after this is all over.

#4 Expect Uncertainty

Expect-uncertainty---Facebook-Strategies-In-&-Post-COVID19-World---DigiT--Kolkatadigitalmarketing-+91-7980731010

This is a first, so no one is capable to put up any prediction accurately. Even the best analytical models are not developed with the current crisis as a constraint. So anything can happen that would not have happened in a normal circumstances. Remember, Facebook is all about people and today people are stressed, suffering from mental fatigue and depression to an extent. Hence, there will be unpredictability to their behavior. No one can give you an accurate prediction of what the immediate future holds for brands and marketers. All we know that this crisis will end eventually. Hence, we can’t plan a long term Facebook Strategy as we use to. We must prepare small goals and take a step at a time. Be nimble and agile in our approaches and be prepared for a quick maneuver at any moment. If your are already doing it Great!! But if not, it is a good time to start now.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you formulate for Facebook Strategy:

  • You need to get rid of the dead weight and baggage. I’m talking about the the marketing tools and traditional success metrics. Replace them with ones which counts empathy, engagement and more customer behavioral insights.
  • Getting it right but don’t let perfection get in the way. It is most important to be fast. Remember, Genghis Khan and his Mongolian hoardes were successful against much superior and organized European and Middle Eastern Armies because of their speed. If you think you should do it don’t wait for the perfect copy or creative. You can reach perfection gradually once you start walking along with the strategy.
  • Stay on top of trends, customer sentiment, and feedback. You need to dedicate some time on a regular basis and find ways to gather and track insights. 

Don’t let the fear of uncertainty stop you. Explore even if you lack closure. It is possible you may find new opportunities.

Facebook can help you with understanding and prepare the platform for your surge when things become normal.

#5 Consider Impact by Industry and Marketing Conditions when formulation your Facebook Strategy

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Different industries are facing starkly different realities during this time, with some witnessing exceptional increased demand while others reeling with dramatic drops. Moreover, geography and customer base have a huge impact on advertising. What this denotes is that there is no thumb rule available. Customization and optimization will be the keys.

As I have discussed earlier like all companies in the lockdown, Facebook is facing staffing issues, which will cause some delays and errors as their reliance on automated systems has increase considerably to review new ads and commerce listings. This means that when new ads are submitted or edited (e.g., changing copy, headlines, images, audience targeting), it will cause the ad to undergo a new review policy. To avoid this disruption to your ad campaign, Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management, Facebook, recommends that brands extend the period of their best performing ads, as new campaigns will be subject to a new review rules.

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Though I have suggested to continue with high performing ads, it does not mean you will stop trying out new things. Even if your business has slowed down or closed, this could be the right time to test out new creatives, in unexplored territories, on new people, without facing much competition. The information or experience you may gather and share would be the launching pad that will make your future campaigns more effectively.

 

A word of advice, when testing something new, say for example, a set of audiences, create a new ad set rather than updating an existing one so that you can compare the results for you understanding. For new ad creative, try testing it against an already high-performing ad. You will know what performs well for your specific business, saving you time when analyzing results.

Pro Tip: Test one element at a time for a more accurate analysis. For example, If you are testing a new creative try keeping the copy same. Or if you are trying a new geography keep the other audience parameters same, viz. age, demography etc, save it as a new audience. Do not Update. Give it a couple days and monitor performance.

Note: Be careful when you compare two or more active ads on exact same audience, it would then compete against each other and increase the ad cost.

Here are a few things you can test:

  • Audience targeting, demographic, interest-based, or custom audiences.
  • Ad copy, including headlines and CTAs.
  • Landing pages, including copy, design, and messaging.
  • Ad creative, like images vs. videos.
12 Tips for an effective Facebook Strategy in & post COVID19​ 7

I have mentioned earlier that their has been an unprecedented surge in online usage, especially in the last 60 days. With more impressions and shifts in competition, the CPM is likely to decreasewhich provides an excellent opportunity to capture more reach out of your budget on Facebook and Instagram.  If reports are to be relied upon, there has been a 17.3% drop in CPM month over month in our in-house Facebook account—and we’re watching it daily to see how it evolves.

If you can, plan your ads now when people are looking for content to consume. Content should revolve around the value of your product or services and how it is relevant to the target audience, and how it will benefit them when they plan to purchase in future.

If you want to reach out now is the time.

Lead-Ads---Facebook-Strategies-In-&-Post-COVID19-World---DigiT--Kolkatadigitalmarketing-+91-7980731010

Businesses have previously used Facebook Lead Ads to get active leads for a specific services or product offers or local offerings. Over the years I have seen if an average lead ad gives about 15 – 20% sell conversion (The factors like fake accounts do have an effect on the conversion rate, besides sell conversion is the most difficult to scale up performance metrics).

However, you can think how creatively you can use this option.

Think beyond sell leads.

 

With a Facebook lead ad campaign, you have the opportunity to do many innovations, viz:

  • Create a series of interesting content for newsletter signups.
  • It can help you create an audience to re-market at a future date.

For example: If you’re a hospital, this could be a good opportunity for you to promote a 30-day challenge that your audience could subscribe to. Or, if you want to promote a preventive health check up initiative, you could have your audience subscribe to know more about the health benefits and customized package offerings.

A few things to note:

  • When creating your lead gen form, less is more. Do not keep more than 2-3 fields. People fear to disclose more on internet.
  • Integrate with your CRM and set up your welcome newsletter and ensure that you immediately follow up with them.
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According to Barilliance, over 75% of shoppers will abandon your site without completing their purchase. Now is the time to re-engage with previous website visitors and get them back to your site with incentivized offers and promos.

You can now drive new potential leads and sales by testing engagement custom audiences, which allows you to target visitors who have previously engaged with your content on Facebook and Instagram. This includes remarketing to those who have liked, commented on, shared, or interacted with your Facebook and Instagram business page, or have previously filled up your lead form from a Facebook Lead Ads campaign.

Remember, the more relevant you can get, the better engagement you will see, so segmentation of your audience holds the key here.

Even if your are closed or using limited operations, many businesses are trying to make their contribution to the COVID19 cause. Well, I don’t mean that you have to start manufacturing or distributing PPEs, Sanitizers and Masks. Big Companies are matching contributions or donating portions of their revenue to NGOs.

You can use the Fundraiser feature in Facebook  to collect donations through your business’s verified Facebook page. Add a Donate Button to your page, posts and live video, making it easy for supporters to contribute in a few taps. Donors can now choose to give a one-time or monthly recurring gift.

However, to get started, your organization’s Page needs to be categorized as a charity.

To execute a successful live event, make sure that your broadcast is as clear and high-resolution as possible. Practice a little beforehand, but don’t stress too much. The point of live stream is to be real and genuine reflection of you.

Honestly, “boosting” or “promoting” a post are a similar thing. Many marketeers are using “Boost” to increase reach and engagements as in Facebook ads. Facebook Ad and Business Managers at DigiT prefer promotion over boosting. Learn why to avoid Boost post.

What separates the two Boost Post and manually promoting through a  Business Manager are the available options. With Boosted Posts, targeting and all settings are compressed into one campaign.

Some of the major limitations of Boosting a post are:

  1. Being limited only to interests targeting, with no behavioral or demographic options.
  2. Broad outline of fans plus “friends of fans” targeting.
  3. Absence of placement or device targeting (Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Column).
  4. Limited duration of ad flights and no options for alterations, which is vital since Facebook is a real-time media.
  5. Absence of features like custom audience or conversion tracking.

If you look at the options that are with your business manager on Facebook you will see far superior targeting options rather than depending on the limited options available through your Boost button.

When you create ads by precise targeting, it can be analyzed which audience is performing (engaging/clicking/converting) best for the business. That’s the point, isn’t it? Getting the most from every rupee you spent.

The best part of Facebook advertising is that it empowers us to manage that budget efficiently; Boosting Post simply takes it away.

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4 thoughts on “12 Tips for an effective Facebook Strategy in & post COVID19​”

  1. Chris Jenssen

    Fantastic article!!! Quite Clear. Thanks for saving my time without much junks. However, I think you missed the pixel and remarketing part..that can be advised. Also u did not delve much into facebook live…I think that’s the new big thing in Facebook, right!!

    Keep up doing good work….Cheers!!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback Chris!! Points noted…well I did mention about re-marketing campaign in the post…But I will create a specific post on Facebook Re-marketing using pixel…And about Facebook live – that is definitely on agenda.

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