Facebook marketing is a mainstream social strategy, with 93 of the top 100 global brands using Facebook as a marketing platform. The global leader in social media users is ideal for social media marketing due to the massive potential audience and relatively low cost of deployment.

Most recent figures peg Facebook’s total user base at more than 800 million active users. Even as other social networks gain popularity, Facebook’s value continues to grow and developing capabilities provide optimum viewing of different types of content.

Facebook marketing campaigns can include any number of elements, all aimed at driving traffic back to the organization’s website, improving brand awareness and fostering loyalty among fans.

Shared content on Facebook

Sharing content on Facebook allows it to appear organically in the news feeds of followers. Moreover, it encourages them to share content with their own friends. On average, Facebook users share brand pages they like with at least 12 friends, making the network great for creating brand advocates.

Deemed one of the more “personable” social platforms, businesses often find success treating Facebook as a more conversational channel where they share video content, showcase office events, post employee pictures and run interactive promotions or contests. Visual content is especially important in light of the roll out of Timeline for businesses. Even so, the site offers prime opportunities to distribute website content and direct traffic back to a brand site.

Adjusting publishing schedules to maximize visibility and exposure will help businesses see the real benefits of Facebook marketing. A report from Buddy Media found that ideal times for sharing content differ according to industry, and that businesses should make decisions about the best times to share based on when their audiences are active. For example, business and finance companies see the most engagement in the middle of the week, whereas the retail industry generates most activity on the weekends.

While Buddy’s findings demonstrate established trends in Facebook marketing, businesses should develop their own plans and make adjustments as they notice new developments.

Measurement of Facebook marketing campaigns

In spite of the pervasiveness of Facebook marketing, 75 percent of businesses using social marketing want better metrics to assess their progress.

In response to this, Facebook launched Insights in early October to provide businesses with a better understanding of their campaigns. The free service provides Page administrators with detailed data related to the attention, clicks and responses elicited by their page. These metrics can reveal the demographic breakdown of users engaging with a brand’s Facebook page, though many marketers still seek methods to understand the revenue return of a Like.

Items that businesses place on their Facebook Page can also be measured in terms of popularity according to the volume of comments or Likes a given post receives and, when relevant, according to which posts correlate with the most site referral traffic from Facebook. In general, administrators can use this data to inform their overall content marketing strategies and more effectively use their resources.

Facebook’s impact on search engine optimization (Bing)

In May of 2011, Facebook and Bing entered into an agreement that allows Bing to include Facebook Like data among its search signals. As such, logged-in Facebook users conducting searches on Bing will see different results than they would if they were not logged into the social network.

As friends Like content, these websites will appear high in search results on Bing. Encouraging Facebook fans to Like content will help companies improve their standing on the search engine without any adjustments to their overall marketing strategies.

Currently, Facebook data is not indexed by Google, as the companies have essentially been feuding since 2010. As such, Facebook Likes and shares do not directly improve SERP standing on Google, however, the inbound links received from shared content will help organizations improve traffic to their website.

Facebook marketing resources

Here are links to a number of resources marketers can use to enhance their Facebook marketing campaigns: