By Mark Roberts, Digital Marketing and Social Media Expert

Why do we hear the so-called experts saying 'oh you have to be on Facebook'? Well there are 3 pretty good reasons:

1. Social media has the greatest upside potential of any marketing tactic currently available.

2. Facebook has the largest number of people on its network (and therefore the people you're looking for).

3. Facebook's native advertising platform is easy to use and very effective.

But! Before we get carried away we have to start at the beginning of the marketing journey and figure what our customer looks like and how our business and brand will be perceived online. So many businesses are being told 'you have to do social media' that they are not taking time to make informed decisions.

First you need your brand positioning and to know how you fit within your market, then you need to look at your customers and see who they are. From this you can figure out where your customers are and where it's ok for your brand to be. If that's Facebook then fantastic.

Facebook, like all social media, has a great way to engage your potential customers - story telling. Tell your businesses story through a passionate, human voice and you'll quickly find that people want to talk to you, want to be listened and want to hear back... just like a real conversation!
It's an opportunity for you to get a deeper insight to your customers, get to know them on a more personal level and give them a service they will never forget. Social media is all about giving as much value to your customers as you possibly can and asking for the sale in the right way at the right time. Facebook is not somewhere that you can use a hard sell tactic, it simply won't work.

Facebook runs on an algorithm called 'Edgerank' and this determines how many people see your businesses posts and how long it lasts in their news feed. You start around 5% and go up to about 16% organic post reach (low isn't it?). To get to even 16% you need to have people sharing, commenting and liking your posts and to get that you need to give them something of value, be it humorous, informational or something incredibly personal. So if you think you can just keep hitting people with adverts all the time then you'll be spending a huge amount of money and getting no where fast. Even with most of the worlds population on Facebook, don't get duped into thinking that getting loads of people to see your brand is right. It's better to get the right 100 people buying from you than 100,000 people to simply 'like' a post but never really care about what it is that you do.

So now we know the basics of how Facebook works as well as what kind of post we should have out there how do we grow our audience? Well this is where Facebook Adverts come in. Facebook is really rather clever and by using the cookies on your computer and a clever set of data privacy rules that no one ever reads they can take your data, keep that data and then sell that data to third parties or on their own platform. As a business the benefit is huge as you can get really targeted to the people you spend your ad budget on.

Even better the insights that come with it are great, as it allows you to track the success of the campaign. You can even use something awesome called a 'conversion pixel', which is a tiny piece of code that sits on the last page of the buying process on your website. Think of the 'Thank you for purchasing xxx an email will be sent with all the details' type page. So you can see very clearly how many people saw your advert, clicked your advert, hit your website and bought all from within Facebook.

One of my favourite quotes about marketing is "I know that 50% of my marketing works, I just don't know which 50%". Facebook takes tis out of the equation with a really clear campaign overview that lets you know just what the ROI of a campaign is.

Not quite making my list of top 3 reasons for using Facebook came 4. Facebook are always evolving away from their platform. Buying other companies or adding new apps. Facebook want to remain competitive and that's exciting.