Eight years after launching, Facebook now claims to have over one-billion “active users” logging in per month. The announcement was timely considering Facebook’s faltering share price.
Whether or not all user accounts are authentic, this figure is significant when creating integrated marketing communication plans targeting new markets.
Where are Facebook’s users in the world?
It’s important that you research individual target markets/countries for user statistics before investing time or money in the tool.
Facebook’s user base is highest in North America and Europe. There are significant amounts of people using Facebook in emerging markets and Facebook intends to increase these numbers.
In Africa, Facebook has 48-million users with its biggest user base in Egypt.
In Brazil, Facebook has surpassed Google’s popular Orkut site, becoming the leading social network.
Some emerging market countries have their own local more popular social networks (Facebook is struggling to enter China, for example) and you should consider local sites.
Facebook for every phone
A significant number of users enjoy accessing the site through their mobiles and tablets on the go.
In some countries in Africa the mobile web is more accessible than landline-based connections for some users, therefore Facebook is making “Facebook for every phone” a core strategy in the region, enabling users with the simplest mobiles, i.e. non-smartphones, to access a user-friendly site. They are also further researching monetization opportunities in the mobile space through mobile advertising.
Where does this leave people targeting emerging markets?
While there’s a lot of hype about the user figures and a lot of user data stored on the platform; from interests to demographic data, you need to remain calm and keep it social, planning how and why to integrate the tool into marketing communication plans.
Are your potential/ existing customers on Facebook?
Your potential or existing customers may be looking for your company on Facebook, they may be writing about your company on their own pages and so having a presence may be important, particularly for well-known brands.
Research user numbers in target markets and establish whether or not your customers are using the tool and how. Facebook usage and buyer habits will vary according to industry and target audiences. User buying processes vary in the consumer and the business world. Would it be better to utilize your advertising budget on LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook and to use business page on Facebook?
Plan using SMART (Simple, measureable, achievable, realistic, timed) objectives. If your plan is to run an advertising campaign with a specific click-through rate, to achieve a specific call to action in a certain timeframe, measure results regularly to see if advertising is delivering according to plan and whether or not you need to stop/amend your advertising. Call to actions/user journeys may include prompting users to click-through to a localized landing page, providing their data through data capture forms, downloading a whitepaper, or making a callback.
Are leads/ data captured converting into sales opportunities or helping you to build a high quality prospective/customer database for your local market? These are consideration when measuring effectiveness and setting objectives.
Have you created your page to “listen,” interact or engage in conversation, generate leads or all of these things? I have seen pages in some emerging markets that have enabled people to promote and sell consumer products to Facebook followers very successfully.
Metrics are not widely established for social media, however, it’s important to track and measure results based on your goals and objectives, creating a simple manual dashboard of results or by using a social media-monitoring tool to measure qualitative and quantitative results. Facebook Insights also provides useful metrics about the interaction on your page.
Test, test, test and learn
Social media marketing is still a relatively new process, and coupled with unknown emerging markets, means that we have still a lot to learn.
Advertising, creative, offers and pages should be tested for effectiveness; you can start by communicating to a small percentage of your target audience with creative and monitoring results before rolling out the message to larger numbers of users.
Targeting / reach
Although Facebook has over one-billion users globally, you should thoroughly drill down on user data to ensure highly relevant messages to highly targeted audiences in specific markets, ensuring relevant advertising. Some consider a high number of impressions to mean great brand awareness, however, if you’re not receiving click-through or follow-up action you are not taking contacts through to the next stage of the buying cycle and so receiving a high number of impressions may not be enough alone to ensure effectiveness.
Keep it local
Localizing your content starts with providing locally relevant stories/advertising to your audience. Using the language that your fans use to communicate is also vital to them understanding the message! You also need to take into account the simplicity or complexity of the messages for the market, being culturally sensitive and using local images.
Even Facebook is researching its own platform
Facebook has partnered with Datalogix to understand the impacts of Facebook advertising and has a lot to learn about emerging markets — so you should certainly be testing the platform and assessing its impact on marketing results.
It may be an idea to ask your customers how they would like to engage with you on your page, good old marketing research could help you to leverage the tool more effectively. Perhaps you could use Facebook to do your research, why not try promoting a competition on your status to get feedback, or using Facebook Questions/ Polls. To use questions/polls scroll down to the publisher, click on Event, Milestone+, and then select “Question.”