The Only Facebook Strategy That Works

Businessman frowning at computer monitorFacebook marketing has undergone a dramatic shift in the last few years. Where once companies could link out to their latest blog post—or even just share a goofy meme—and be confident that a fair number of their fans would see it in their newsfeeds, now Facebook’s algorithm changes have made that kind of organic reach pretty much a thing of the past.

For a while, after each change, we saw a flurry of blog posts and articles sharing secrets to beating the system and using the algorithm’s loopholes to continue to reach consumers organically. But as Facebook marched inexorably onward into the realm of paid advertising, marketers soon had to come to terms with the idea that you often simply have to pay to play.

The question is, where does this leave businesses today? Should you give up on posting regularly to your Facebook page in favor of running only paid ads? And what should those ad campaigns even look like? Where are all the blog posts touting the secrets to making the most of your Facebook marketing now that paid ads are involved?

You’re looking at one right now.

There is only one Facebook marketing strategy that works today, and it has three basic components. Seamlessly integrating these three is the key to Facebook marketing success.

1. Maintain your Facebook page.
No, your posts probably won’t show up in your fans’ newsfeeds anymore. But when potential customers look you up on Facebook, the last thing you want them to find is an abandoned or neglected page, whose most recent post is months old. And more importantly, when you create a paid ad, you need a robust page to send interested people to. Even if your ultimate goal is to send them to your website, plenty of them will click on your Facebook page first, to get a feel for your brand. Posting engaging content is still vital for creating an online community, whether they find it via search or an ad.

Related: The Top 5 Small Business Trends for 2016

2. Run paid Facebook ad campaigns.
Yep, you’ll have to bite the bullet and pay for reach now, but it’s not all bad news. Paid ads are actually an amazing way to target the exact audience you want to engage, and can be incredibly effective. The key is to define two things at the outset: your target audience, and the goal of your campaign. Facebook gives you the ability to segment audiences based on a stunning array of factors, from detailed demographic information to interests and online behavior. You can also choose from multiple different calls to action in the ad, to drive traffic to your website, your Facebook page, your online store, or any landing page you choose, based on your campaign goal. With those two variables decided, you’ll be able to craft a strategic campaign that does exactly what you want it to do.

3. Fine-tune your campaign using analytics.
With your Facebook page being regularly updated with engaging content, and your targeted, strategic paid ad campaign running, you might think all you have to do now is sit back and watch the conversions roll in, but nothing could be further from the truth. The success of your campaign now depends on keeping a close eye on the analytics, finding out what’s working, and what’s not working, and then pivoting and tweaking again and again until you get it exactly right. This may entail segmenting your audience further, and using a certain image with one demographic and a different one with another. Or it may require a complete rewrite of the ad copy, or a different call to action. Using data to fine-tune your strategy is essential to its success.

Related: 3 Easy Ways to Bring In-Person Customers Online

While Facebook marketing isn’t quite as simple as it once was, you might be surprised at how much more effective it can be. By developing a strategy that integrates regular posts and paid ads, and pivots continually based on analytics, you can harness the full power of Facebook marketing for your business.

Follow Shama Hyder on Twitter @Shama.

Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana wears many hats: author, angel investor, mentor, TEDx speaker, steering committee of the NASSCOM Start-Up Warehouse, Director of Founder Institute, Venture Partner with the seed initiative of a top Venture Capital firm, and former CEO of IIT Bombay’s business incubator, among others. Before all this, he was entrepreneurial twice in the field of education and web publishing. As a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught e-commerce back in 1993, when the term "e-commerce" had not yet been coined. An undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, and an MBA from the University of Texas, Ajeet is presently an active name in the startup ecosystem. From starting two ventures as a solopreneur, to helping a large number of startups with their go-to-market, he has never shied from getting his hands dirty. At the same time he has helped dozens of startups raise investment. He truly believes that small business owners are driving change in the world, and need to be facilitated as much as possible. Innumerable small businesses have gained from his attitude, vast professional networks, financial acumen and digital mindset.

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