Since communicating via Facebook became part of our daily routines, the question for brands now is how to make full use of its potential as a marketing tool. With 757 million users logging onto the social network each day, brands must find innovative ways to make the most of the complex web of intelligence it has to offer. The social network has become key in helping brands strengthen customer followings but more must be done to act on customer behaviours to foster sales and strengthen loyalty and trust. Everyone loves a story, and Facebook, which celebrated its 11th birthday recently, gives marketers the perfect platform to build their own story with customers.

With the three screen generation now a reality, it’s no secret that marketers must take their story to customers across all platforms. Brands should be communicating with customers, both loyal and prospective, via omnichannel strategies for sophisticated and contextual targeting. More than 70% of Facebook users are predicted to log onto the social network via their smartphones or tablets monthly to check their news feed in 2015. As a result, companies are constantly improving their mobile presence to help them embrace the capabilities of Facebook, but are they using the data they can collect from Facebook and their own websites to maximise the impact of their marketing?

Personalisation via digital communications has grown exponentially alongside the rise of online shopping. Consumers want a relationship with their favourite brands, and to be valued and understood, and as such, they expect brands to treat them as individuals. Marketers should be using the data they gather from Facebook and their own websites to treat customers personally. Industry research shows that only 20 per cent of customers in ecommerce are repeat buyers, so companies must effectively personalise their communications to build loyalty and convert visitors into repeat customers. When used correctly, Facebook can help turn browsers into purchasers. Research shows that when shoppers are reached with a Facebook advertisement, they are 22 per cent more likely to purchase.

Over the years, Facebook has developed a number of features that allow marketers to build their brands. Currently, marketers can:

  • Promote specific deals and offers to a global audience.
  • Encourage consumer engagement by inviting audiences to ‘Like’ their brand and ‘Share’ news and announcements.
  • Set out clear objectives and attain specific results for campaigns, such as clicks to website, website sales conversions, app installations.
  • Promote campaigns further visually through video and picture slideshows.

However, now marketers can use the latest technology to take their brand’s story to another level on the social network by using the data gleaned from their website behaviour and Facebook scientifically. This latest technology allows marketers for the first time to automatically make full use of their own customer behaviour and lifecycle data to reach customers in real-time on Facebook with more accurately personalised material and at a point in time when they are more likely to be receptive. Email responses, web behavior, purchase history and product affinity can all be enhanced with Facebook’s own profile data to create a true one-to-one customer experience. 

To be commercially smart, brands shouldn’t attack all points of the customer journey at the same time, but use the data scientifically to build knowledge of the customer and know when, where and how to talk to them, to increase the likelihood of them making a purchase. For example, if they browse your website but leave without purchasing, send them an email, to entice them with offers based on their browsing, or items they may have left in their virtual shopping basket. If the email remains unopened, then turn to Facebook to grab their attention with an advertisement. Communicating with customers via all available channels at once can be costly, and can even turn customers away from a brand. Marketers must be wise with their tools and have a highly intelligent approach to communicating through Facebook.

The social network is already a great medium for acquiring new customers but what marketers struggle to do is turn non-responsive browsers and one-time buyers, into profitable customers. However, by using the new tools available, it can also become a highly effective advertising channel for retention marketing. It can breathe new life into email campaigns that may fail to grab their audience’s attention, and decrease customer churn by delivering personalised advertisements at exactly the right time of the customer journey.

Using the latest technology, marketers can also use Facebook data to build lookalike audiences of their most profitable customers. This means they can then extend the reach of their campaigns to target prospective audiences with similar interests and win new business. New customers can also help do the leg work for brands, via ‘Likes’ and share features too.

Being part of the conversation on Facebook today is vital. By understanding behaviours in real-time, brands can harness the power of social media to win customers back and also cultivate fresh business opportunities. The technology is here to fully integrate Facebook with marketing campaigns, and digital marketers should make sure they are fully equipped and ready to take on the opportunities social presents.