By Siobhan Richmond, Planner at Code Computerlove and James Lunt, Media Manager at Code Computerlove.
Once an exclusive student hideout, Facebook can now boast 27 million users in the UK. That’s almost half the population, which by now includes the parents of those students. Crucially, 18 million of these are active and returning users.
At Code we use Facebook for our clients in two ways – highly targeted advertising, and to engage with consumers as part of a social media strategy.
Buying digital media, we’ve been used to making assumptions about users based on many factors – where we think they are based on their IP address, the things they are interested in, their gender and their age, all based on the content they are reading. While things have got a bit more sophisticated, using behavioural targeting and similar technologies, there is always a level of assumption in all media buying.
This is what has made Facebook’s advertising proposition so compelling. Here we have half the population who are willing to provide more information about themselves than ever before. We have run campaigns targeted on almost every aspect of an individual’s profile, and while not as efficient as search in many cases, it outperforms most traditional display options.
Using the advertising and engagement aspects of Facebook together can yield great results. Using on-site advertising to target relevant interested users is a fast way to build a fan base. Keeping them engaged, however, is the real challenge.
Facebook isn’t just a box to tick in a list of social media sites, it should be given a clear role as part of a digital strategy. Brands should identify what audience they have on Facebook, the types of messages they should be pushing, and should be clear about how Facebook can support their brand message via other social media such as Twitter.
Facebook is very much a place for a brand to engage with its fans and is increasingly being used as a customer service tool. This increasing reliance on Facebook to help with important aspects of the customer relationship means that brands must identify and appreciate the role that Facebook can play.
Pushing generic, repetitive content about products and offers might be quick and simple to do, but there needs to be much more time invested in developing engaging content and viral campaigns to build brand awareness and a relationship with your fans.
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