The Power of Social has proven its might anew with Facebook emerging as a 2-Billion user global phenomena. These are monthly active users mind you, operating in the “B-Level” or “Billion Level” stratosphere, increasing at a whopping 18% rate year-over-year.
From it’s basically simple but socially innovative format when it was launched 13 years ago, Facebook has changed and evolved year after year, and has now finally reached a somewhat mature phase that caters to the social whims and intricacies of its myriad users.
Facebook has evolved from being a mere platform for connecting people to a powerful and effective marketing platform that has proven profitable for various brands and businesses.
Let’s look at some of these new innovations and features that digital marketers can harness for their tremendous marketing and advertising potential in 2017.
1) Leverage the Power of Video
Source : Facebook.
Video trumps static images anytime, we all know that from previous articles and infographics from Digital Marketing Philippines. This is attested to by the more than 100 million hours of video-based content viewed on Facebook daily.
Even if video constitute only a small percentage of all content posted, they constitute more than 7.15% of reach throughout the whole Facebook network and this figure is growing at an astronomical rate.
They are really on such a high demand that as much as 43% of all users want to see video as a primary tool for engagement from marketers. Businesses wanting to engage their audiences in a more relevant and engaging way should learn how to create and produce their own video content to communicate their brand stories.
2) Use Captioning with Your Videos
It is quite an amusing fact that Facebook users turn on the audio at only 15% of the videos they watch through the platform. So, if you are trying to get the attention of your targeted audiences use video, but if you are trying to get your message across in a more relevant matter, then add captions to your videos.
You can make use of several tools available to create an SRT captioning file for your videos. Facebook itself is coming up with its own automated video captioning tool but at this point it would be best to test other options available. You can create these captioning files in-house or have them outsourced to virtual assistants who can do the job at affordable rates.
3) Drive More Engagement with Live Video
Harnessing the power of video for Facebook marketing is one thing, but you can drive up to three times more engagement with your videos by going live. In-the-moment content is what most users are looking for and nothing can serve this purpose better than your own Live Video content streaming directly into your targeted audiences feeds.
Launched in April 2016, Facebook Live has revolutionized how users interact with online content and since then, live video has experienced tremendous growth. Live video is in the moment content and this makes it very appealing to audiences as they provide instant connection to the content provider – driving engagement by up to 3x longer than ordinary non-live videos.
It has proven to be a very valuable tool for engaging with audiences, not only for influencers, celebrities or even ordinary users wanting to share a different kind of content – but also for brands, businesses and marketers as well.
4) Turn Your Pages into a Customer Service Tool
Many brands and businesses by now have most probably taken advantage of the free and easy-to-setup Facebook business page where they can engage with targeted audiences in a matter of minutes. But there is more to Pages than merely generating an online presence – it can be used as an effective customer service tool as well.
New and existing customers can connect with your brand or business directly through your Pages. With the automatic integration of Messenger to Pages, you can now engage directly and privately with your customers. It is an effective communication tool that allows you to connect with your audiences anytime and anywhere, answer inquiries or handing complaints, thus creating a high-quality user experience that you can offer.
5) Leveraging Facebook Stories for Engagement
One of the primary reasons why Facebook has grown into an extraordinary social phenomenon is because of its facilities for user-generated content. This has been the primary growth driver for the platform until the mid-2015 to mid-2016 when the social network experienced a 21% decline in the amount of this type of content generated.
Facebook’s answer to this is the launching of Facebook Stories. These are short in-the-moment user-generated collections of videos and photos with filters and lenses overlays that lasts only 24 hours at limited viewing times. This was based on the concept originally created by Snapchat and made popular by Instagram.
With more than 1.7 billion monthly Facebook mobile app users, Facebook Stories is a logical new type of content that focuses on real-time, in-the-moment highlights for engaging audiences that appear directly on top, a very strategic marketing location, of the Facebook News Feed.
6) Create Custom Audiences with Your Customer List
Brands and business that have engaged in digital marketing in the past know the value of creating and maintaining an email list. Through this customer list, businesses can provide value to their audiences through newsletters or regular email updates.
Facebook offers you an even better way of adding value and strengthening your connection with your customers by allowing you to upload your customer list and create a new Custom Audiences. Through this, you can engage and interact with people in your list much more effectively through their Facebook accounts.
It would be easier to sell to audiences whom you have already connected before through your list. With Custom Audiences, you can send targeted advertisements and marketing materials to your audiences through multiple touch points. You can upload a list by converting it to CSV or TXT format, or you can sync Custom Audiences to your subscription account like MailChimp and other similar apps.
7) Highly Targeted Marketing with Saved and Lookalike Audiences
With more than 2 billion users, Facebook is filled with users from all walks of life and from a wide variety of markets and audiences. It would be unwise to market your products and services to such a diverse market, particularly if you cater only to a specific set of people or demographic.
Facebook however allows you to create Saved Audiences through its Business Manager feature. Through this tool, you can create highly targeted content and advertising specifically intended only for a group of people or a niche market. You can generate better and faster returns on your advertising investments by sharing targeted content only to specific audiences where further actions can be generated.
Another tool that you can use for highly targeted Facebook marketing is the use of Lookalike Audiences. You can upload and create a Custom Audiences based on relevant user profiles that have already shown interest in your products or services. Using a source audience that you have previously and successfully targeted to, you can increase your reach to new audiences that are similar or are “lookalikes”.
8) Be More Innovative with Carousel Ads
Facebook offers new ways of creating Ads for marketing your products or services and one of the most innovative ways for sharing your brand story if using Carousel Ads. This feature allows you to make use of ten videos or images which you can strategically use to tell your story and showcase what you must offer.
People love stories and you can engage your targeted audiences with a great story by making use of creative carousel ads. Its multi-frame features give you more leverage in showcasing the benefits they can get from your brand, explain or show a step-by-step process, or simply promote multiple products in a single-unit visually-appealing online catalog where users can simply browse through with a swipe of their fingers.
9) The Dawn of Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality has been featured in previous articles and infographics as a new trend in digital marketing for 2017, and the same trend is happening in Facebook as well with the recent announcements by Mark Zuckerberg. Leveraging on its new Camera Effects platform, marketers can leverage on the power of augmented reality in connecting with their targeted audiences.
There are two main components to the platform’s AR feature. The first is the web-based Frame Studio tool that allows marketers to design and create innovative overlays to create innovative frames and photos. At this stage however, the tool does not allow the inclusion of trademarks and logos unless you obtain permission first from Facebook.
The second tool is the AR Studio that allows users to create advanced effects, animations and masks to provide their audiences with a unique AR experience. The tool is still in beta stage but at this point it already offers innovative and customizable ways for users to inspire the imagination of their targeted audiences.
10) Harness the Power of Messenger Bots
Facebook Messenger now has more than 1.2 billion monthly users and since its inception, it has evolved from being a mere tool for sending private messages to a very useful marketing tool for brands and businesses.
Among its many feature is the use of Messenger Bots that you can utilize for a wide variety of purposes: from raising awareness and acquiring new customers, to enabling online transactions and providing customer support. Right now, there are at least 100,000 monthly active bots that can be explored and harnessed by more than 60 million businesses on Facebook.
There are still many features and tools available on Facebook and you as a brand or business can harness and leverage on these tools for engaging new and existing audiences and turning them into customers. Facebook is continually expanding and part of this growth process is the creation and provision of new marketing tools than brands and businesses can take advantage of in 2017 and beyond.
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