7 Ways to Use Facebook for Marketing


Facebook continues to be the reigning champ of social media sites, as the #1 spot where friends connect and share online. More than just a meeting place for friends, Facebook has grown into a venue for businesses to market themselves through interaction with customers and self-promotion.

In this post we will be looking at seven ways you can use Facebook for marketing.

Whether you’re a big corporation or a small local biz, Facebook is a powerful marketing tool – it’s a great space to keep customers informed, develop brand identity, and broaden your reach.

1. Making the Most of Your Facebook Business Page

A Facebook page is a great free marketing tool for businesses. These pages let businesses identify themselves – not just through listing product offerings and services, but also by sharing links, images, and posts on a customizable page to give a better sense of a business’s personality and character.

Your Facebook business page is a great spot to develop your brand identity and show your human side. Facebook is where you can loosen the tie a bit – don’t be afraid to be funny.

Ultimately you should consider what your key audience would want to see. Share social media images, links, videos, anything, as long as it is connected to your business and it seems like something your target audience would enjoy.

In addition to hilarious videos of dogs walking in tiny shoes, a store specializing in footwear might also post an article about how to measure your foot size accurately, what kind of shoe inserts are best for different sore feet woes, etc. A nice mix of humor, educational resources, and posts about your store updates is ideal.

RELATED: 45 Fabulous Facebook Advertising Tips

2. Facebook Advertising: Classic Ads

Facebook offers its own form of advertising with Facebook ads, which appear in the side columns of the Facebook site. These classic ads are referred to more specifically as Marketplace Ads. They include a headline with copy, an image, and a click-through link to either a Facebook page, a Facebook app, or an outside website.

Facebook Marketing

Implementing Facebook advertising into your Facebook marketing strategy is one possible technique for increasing likes or driving website clicks.

Facebook advertising features include:

  • Demographic targeting by Facebook user data on age, location, education, and interests.
  • The ability to set ad budgets.
  • Ad testing, in which multiple ad versions can be run simultaneously in order to compare ad designs and setup.
  • Built-in ad performance measurement tools.

Facebook doesn’t release information about their ad CTRs, so it’s difficult to know how successful Facebook ads really are. In our Facebook Ads vs Google Display Ads Infographic, we found that Facebook ads generally have a CTR of 0.051%, and an average CPC of $0.80; however, a business’s Facebook advertising cost can vary a lot depending on the targeting options set and competition.

Using Facebook advertising to increase your “Likes” can be very beneficial – once a user likes your page, they essentially become followers of your business page, and your posts will appear on their Facebook news feed.

This results in more users interacting with you and your brand, forming relationships that may end up translating to conversions in the future.

3. Hosting Facebook Contests

Running Facebook contests, sweepstakes, or promotions is another Facebook marketing tactic that can increase fans and brand awareness.

When conducting a Facebook contest, be aware that contests can’t be hosted through Facebook itself (meaning you can’t ask for likes as entries, have people write answers in the comments, etc.) Businesses must use a third-party app for creating their Facebook contest, then direct users to the app from their Facebook page.

Facebook Marketing Contests

There are plenty of paid tools to help you do this, as well as some free ones. Shortstack offers a number of free contest templates, so long as your page has under 2,000 likes. Pagemodo also has a free option. Many third-party Facebook contest apps offer free versions, but your options with them are limited.

4. Facebook Promoted Posts

Facebook Promoted Posts let Facebook page owners pay a flat rate in order to have their individual Facebook posts reach a certain number of users, increasing a specific post’s reach and impressions.

Promoted Facebook Post

Some businesses have asked – why should I have to pay to ensure that my post is seen by users who are my followers? If a user has liked my page, they should always see my posts on their news feed, shouldn’t they? The answer to this question is no, because it assumes that users spend every waking moment of their life on Facebook’s news feed. For the health and safety of your Facebook fans, we hope this isn’t true!

If a fan of yours happens to be looking at their news feed when you post your story, they are likely to see it, but even then there is no guarantee if their news feed is swamped by other posts. That’s where Promoted Posts comes in – it ups your chances of being seen on a user’s news feed. Facebook Promoted Posts are shown to existing fans, with an added option to reach friends of fans.

Promoted Posts are easy to set up – just click the button beneath any of your page posts.

While the flat rate simplifies the process, Promoted Posts lack the targeting options offered by other Facebook ads.

5. Sponsored Stories

Sponsored Stories are a type of Facebook ad that shows a user’s interactions, such as a Facebook like, to the user’s friends.

Sponsored Stories seeks to capitalize on the “word of mouth” marketing concept. If a user sees that three of his friends like a certain page, he is more inclined to pay attention. The goal of Sponsored Stories is to have a user take the same action as their friends. Advertisers can choose to show friends “likes” if they want more page likes, show friends who have “claimed this offer” if a business wants more users to claim offers, etc.

Facebook Sponsored Story Marketing

While the action performed by a friend liking a page or claiming an offer is automatically posted in a user’s news feed, these posts easily get overlooked. Sponsored Stories get preferred positioning, capable of appearing in news feeds and the right side bar. Sponsored Stories is also the only ad format available on mobile devices.

Sponsored Stories don’t only apply to likes or offers – they can be used with any Facebook Open Graph app. If a friend has just installed Scramble With Friends on Facebook, Sponsored Stories can show users that their friend has just played the Scramble game, with an invite to “challenge them,” “play with them,” or any similar variation.

Facebook claims that Sponsored Stories have 46% higher CTRs and 20% lower CPCs than regular Facebook ads, making them a very serious strategy for marketing on Facebook.

Facebook Sponsored Stories can be created easily through the Facebook ad create flow. Open Graph Sponsored Stories with a customized call to action require advertisers to use a third-party provider.

6. Facebook Open Graph

Facebook Open Graph lets businesses label a user’s action with their app. Billions of interactions are posted with Facebook Open Graph every day.

Businesses can create third-party apps that connect to a user and post a notice on Facebook when a user performs a specific action with the app. Facebook’s Open Graph allows for creative interactive options outside of the standard “like” and “comment.” Posts can suggest that users “listen,” “taste,” “read,” – it’s up to businesses to get creative.

Virtually any time a site or app prompts users to sign in to Facebook, it has something to do with connecting the user with the Facebook Open Graph.

Spotify is a great example of how Facebook Open Graph becomes a powerful Facebook marketing tool.

It all starts with a Facebook login prompt.

Spotify for Facebook Marketing

This is followed immediately by a permission request, which many users click through with little thought. I actually discovered that I had given permissions to 130 apps, 95% of which I don’t recall the reasoning behind.

Facebook Spotify

Once permission has been obtained, Spotify is able to stream what songs a user is listening to on a friend’s news feed.

Spotify Facebook Marketing

Pic borrowed from Justin Lafferty of AllFacebook.com

Notice that users are given a variety of options – they can like the song their friend is listening to, listen to the song themselves, or star it as a favorite in Spotify.

Open graph actions like these are unique enough to stand out from the cluttered craziness of a user’s news feed.

Many Facebook games make frequent use of Facebook open graph actions, posting a notice when a user has completed a level or won an achievement.

Farmville Marketing

Farmville. Oh joy.

Open graph actions are being categorized as a new type of consumer story, taking advantage of the word of mouth phenomenon. Open graph posts are more meaningful to users because they are being generated by a familiar friend, not simply a brand, making them the latest and greatest of Facebook marketing tools.

7. Facebook Exchange (FBX)

Facebook Exchange lets advertisers take advantage of ad retargeting on Facebook through real-time bidding. Advertisers can target audiences based on web history data – when a user visits a product page on a retailer’s website, but fails to make a purchase, the retailer can then display an ad for that same product on Facebook with FBX.

While Facebook retargeting ads were only relegated to the side columns, recently these ads have been allowed to appear in news feeds, the most valuable Facebook real-estate. This is great news for FBX advertisers, since response rates for news feed ads are 10 to 50 times higher than that of ad placements in the right column.

Facebook Exchange Marketing

So how do Facebook Exchange ads perform? The CTR for Facebook Exchange ads is 40% lower than for other web retargeting ads, like those offered by the Google Display Network. Other retargeting ads are also cheaper, with price per unique clicks costing 80% less than Facebook retargeting ads. Still, in terms of cost-per-impression and cost-per-click, FBX ads are considerably cheaper, so the monetary benefits depend on your business’s needs. These numbers are also subject to change as FBX ads begin to appear more often in the news feed.

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Rick Noel
Apr 15, 2013

Nice post Megan. If Facebook Home apodption is significant, Home could create some great marketing opportthunities for sponsored stories that show up on Home Screen. Thanks for sharing.

Megan Marrs
Apr 16, 2013

Thanks Rick. Yup, news feed is by far the most valuable real estate you can get on Facebook. Heck, it might even be the best on the web! I think as advertising in the Home section of the news feed increases, we'll start seeing Facebook advertising perform a lot better.

Jay Adams
Apr 15, 2013

Good Post. I currently run Facebook Ads for my small business and I have found it has done wonders in gaining a lot of new fans within a very short period which would have take ages if I had not have used the ads.I haven't used promoted posts yet, but I do think it's better than Google adwords which I found was a waste of money and time especially if you don't know how to implement it successfully. 

Megan Marrs
Apr 16, 2013

Hey Jay. Great to hear you have Facebook ads working for you, sounds like they've helped a lot! AdWords is a really powerful advertising tool, but it definitely has a bit of a learning curve. A lot of Facebook advertising systems, like Promoted Posts, are pretty basic but easy to understand and accessible to all advertisers.  

Apr 15, 2013

Nice post Meg, I have tried Facebook marketing using Facebook ads, but no return on my investment. I think i will give some things a try that you have above that I not yet done. A+++ Site! :)

Megan Marrs
Apr 16, 2013

No worries Derek, you aren't alone - Facebook ads are a mixed bag for many businesses. Try putting into practice some of the advice in this post, and let us know if anything changes! If things still aren't working out, Facebook just might not be the right advertising platform for your target audience. You may have better luck with AdWords and Google Display Ads. 

Apr 16, 2013

Nice post Meg, I like the comment about using ad's to try and boost likes on your page. Clever.People say Facebook is a free tool for business but its far more expensive than Twitter. Think about it, with twitter you can expand your reach with words and interaction. With Facebook you need all types of media and competitions etc. That all takes resource, which is not free.Worth it when done correctly though. Thanks again.

Megan Marrs
Apr 16, 2013

Thanks Julie! Twitter is free, but it can be difficult to engage in meaningful discussion on Twitter. It's certainly great for keeping followers updated and notifying people of recent blog posts or informative articles. However, you can do all that on Facebook as well (and for free!). Advertising and marketing on Facebook does require more media resources - ideally you'll be posting videos, images, and promoting ads, but if you put in the extra effort, the payoff can be pretty great.

Dorothy Barnes
Apr 16, 2013

This is an awesome post! Marketers will be sure to generate leads through the techniques you've posted in this blog. Thanks for sharing!

Megan Marrs
Apr 16, 2013

Thanks Dorthy, and you are welcome!

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book-marking and checking back frequently!

Apr 16, 2013

Are the FBX ads only through 3rd parties?  We'd love to try them but don't want to commit a big budget to them until we know if it works...

Megan Marrs
Apr 16, 2013

Hi Mary. So the way the FBX ads currently work is that Facebook selects around a dozen or so companies that will buy Facebook ad inventory. Those companies then sell that ad space to marketers w/ re-targeting. I'm not entirely sure why it works that way - it's probably much more simple for Facebook.I'd suggest testing FBX out with a smaller budget if you're a bit hesitant about it. You are pretty likely to see some good results though - retargeting ads perform ridiculously well.  

Apr 16, 2013

Hi Megan,Thanks for mentioning ShortStack in your article we really appreciate it! Some great information here as well.SaraShortStack.com@piccolas

Megan Marrs
Apr 16, 2013

No problem Sara, ShortStack is great!

Apr 22, 2013

The only problem I've ever seen with the contests is people just like the page for the contest and then leave. It is a good marketing tool but I don't always know if it brings in more people or not. Had absolutely no idea about the Facebook Open Graph. Thank you so much for sharing that!I do have to agree with what one of the other people said about twitter being a lot cheaper then Facebook. Facebook has gotten extremely expensive.  

Megan Marrs
May 06, 2013

Hey Tyler. Yes, Facebook has gotten fairly pricey. You need to have the budget for it, and it's best to test with a small campaign before investing too much to make sure it'll work for you.

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Apr 24, 2013

Great post. Very useful for oversea sales executive like us.Tks.

Belinda Summers
Apr 26, 2013

Hi Megan. social media sites like Facebook is a big blessing to every marketer. It offers various opportunities as what you have said that businesses can create a free business page.

Megan Marrs
May 06, 2013

There's a lot you can do on Facebook for free, and plenty of paid advertising options if you're looking to spread your reach. Something for everyone! 

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Jemma Taylor
May 10, 2013

I think that this data would be too broad unless you can limit it to Fans of a page. hopeful Graph Search can provide this kind of customer insight and research for businesses, but think the more obvious benefit is for the B2C play and general consumers!!

Ryan Leavitt
May 13, 2013

Thanks this was a really good post, i had never heard of setting up a contest on your facebook page. I just got signed up for shortstack and setup my first one I was pretty amazed at how easy it really is. Thanks again for the post i am completely new at alll of this stuff so it is a little overwhelming but im figuring it all out (slowly but surly)

Megan Marrs
May 17, 2013

Glad to introduce you to something new Ryan! It can be overwhelming, but fun too! Enjoy it!

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May 13, 2013

Hi Megan, fantastic post. Last time I was checking for FB efforts, things were very different (3 years ago). Your article has jumped started me quickly and efficiently. Very consice, to the poinit and clear. Thank you!

Megan Marrs
May 17, 2013

Thanks Monica, happy to help!

Nils Paaske
May 23, 2013

Hi Meganwe opened since parfume.dk for less than a month ago and read thoroughly on your blog and followed your advice. It has given more than 1,000 amazing likes of just 1 month. and it continues, with nearly 50 more per year. day.I am writing this just to tell you that IT WORKS!Thanks for your helpAll the best!Parfume.dkNils Paaske

Megan Marrs
May 28, 2013

Wow Nils, that is such great news! Congratulations! I'm so glad to hear that the recommendations in this post helped you. Keep up the good work!

Jun 18, 2013

Hi MeganThanks for the article.  I disagree that facebook ads does not provide CTR, the do! if you start analyzing and it actually provides the final Cost Per Click (CPC)We have run paid advertising for last 18 months and gained fantastic page likes.From time to time we promote a post as well and get tremendous response with more likes.What is clear is that by interacting with posts and getting people to comment increases your public range and that in itself creates even more awareness.  frequent posts and interactions are the way to go. look at the graphs they provide, some posts creates a lot of interest an dthereby increases social reach.DO not just place an ad and not ever post any thing!  Make the most of it and what we do, every customer who has a great result is posted, each testimonial is posted and promoted.More than 50% of our business comes from facebook paid advertising and it is the cheapest form of adverising.Facebook sttistics clearly show you which age brackets look at your page, who like it etc.Regards,Gerhard

Sarah ElSherif
Jun 26, 2013

Hi Megan,Thanks for your wonderful article and i totally agree with youI think that there are some techniqes affets in facebook marketing as :

  •   Put defferent photo in facebook page.
  • Tell your fans more about personal life.
  • make your fans  smile every time they visit your page.
 and so on .. 

Gil Turner
Sep 06, 2013

Megan I enjoyed your pages and think your marketing is right on.  I have just recently set up a Facebook accont, and for some reason now have 3 FB ULs in my name.  I have no interest i learning the FB system by need for my multi-level marketing affiliation.  Do you provide a full management service of a FB account on a fee basis?    

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Sep 10, 2013

I think these tips are not as easy as it seems as u can see no work is easy to establish something in your way . . .

Sep 20, 2013

hey megan,this is a wonderful post,i m totally agree with u.facebook is a useful tool to promote our business plans,all your seven tips for promoting business through facebook is really useful.nw a days facebook becomes the most popular social media  for promoting all policies of private as well as govt sector..this information helps me in gud manner,keep it up..

Rathi Guota
Sep 23, 2013

Hi Megan! You are spot on with so many of your thoughts in this article! I loved that you implemented Facebook contests as an important factor to increasing engagement with followers. We were wondering if you would check out our company, Heyo, and see if we are worthy enough to be mentioned in your well-read and trusted article now or in the future! You have a trusty following. We assure you that we also do, but we would love for you to check us out on your own!Thanks so much, and you truly captured the importance of all that is Facebook marketing. Sincerely,Rathi Gupta at Heyo :)  

Nov 05, 2013

Quite cool!

Nov 17, 2013

i wanna ask if i m posting my local business advertise on my wall is it legal from facebook side ???

Nilesh Kumar
Jan 27, 2014

Hi Megan,Really It is a great post about Social media marketing and help to achieve website traffics and brand promotion of company, products etc.ThanksNilesh Kumar  

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Jan 31, 2014

Back to basics is always useful! Very clear and right to the point. Andrea, you rock, as always :-) 

Feb 02, 2014

I've been using Facebook ads for a while now and I find in a narrow niche (local geographic area for me) they work tremendously well, because when you use "Sponsored Stories" people see that their friends have Liked the page and are likely to do so themselves as well. In a small town it is inevitable that people know each other and their viral activity is going to help promote the page. What I am advertising is a local business directory selling products that people buy regularly, and once you have "pinged" them using facebook I don't neccessarily have to keep selling to them over and over. Once is enough..  

Dittya G
Feb 03, 2014

Yeap! Really nice information. Marketing your business or product on Facebook which is the best strategy will help you achieve each goal. Thank for sharing with Us

Feb 28, 2014

This post contains a lot of information. I didn't realize Facebook had so many options. I notice that I am a little late in the post, and it seems like Facebook has changed some of its marketing campaigns recently.

Amita Johnsy
Mar 01, 2014

I've used Facebook ads last year and found it very costly compared to Google AdWords and Bing Ads. And to get likes and sharing i used other tools. So i was able to completely replace Facebook ads :)

Mar 04, 2014

Wow, what a fabulous article! = ) Thanks for this clear, edgy and informative Facebook Marketing tactics... I really love to read refreshing blogs like this =) 

Apr 25, 2014

thanks,,good informative content all round!!

May 14, 2014

Thanks for the outstanding information on how to market on Facebook. I will refer others who wish to do the same.

Jul 13, 2014

Facebook has been really the new go to website for online marketers. Thanks for showing us different ways to use Facebook as a marketing tool not just for social connection with friends and family.

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