Facebook is a virtual goldmine when it comes to reaching new audiences and engaging potential customers. The problem? Everybody knows it, and that means an increasingly saturated space where brands must compete to stand out from the crowd.
Easier said than done, right? To provide a little inspiration, we set out to round up some of the best, most innovative examples of businesses doing Facebook marketing right. We reached out to a panel of social media marketers and Facebook marketing experts and asked them to answer this question:
“What’s the best/most creative example you’ve seen of how to use Facebook for business?”
Meet Our Panel of Social Media Pros & Facebook Marketing Experts:
Alistair Dodds is the Marketing Director and Co-Founder of London based Digital Marketing Agency Smoking Chili Media.
“The best, most creative example I’ve seen of how to use Facebook for business is the use of engaged custom audiences. Through the setting up of custom tags to add to content you share, marketers are able to move prospects through the sales funnel from top of funnel, through middle of funnel, to closing sale.
“If you set this up with AdEspresso right, you can automatically ensure each engaged custom audience receives content appropriate for their position in the sales funnel. So, cold leads receive more of what first made them engage until they are warmed up. Warm leads auto-receive your most engaging lead magnets and/or exclusive deals. Combined, this process can deliver fantastic ROI. The key is to ensure your cold leads’ initial interest and demographic targeting is set up right. From there, everything else can be automated!”
Nate Masterson is the CEO of Maple Holistics, a company dedicated to cruelty-free, natural, and sustainable personal care products.
“The best use of Facebook for business is entertaining content. Regular business content is all well and good, but nothing is more disarming than just an entertaining clip or meme. It can be a cool, sneaky way to get people to like your page. Every once in a while you can post a promotion, while at the same time building a solid base of followers. While Facebook is the spot for ads right now, if your advertising is more camouflage it may reel in a bigger audience.”
Cristian Rennella is the CMO & CoFounder of elMejorTrato.com.ar.
“I think that the technology available today thanks to Artificial Intelligence will be more accessible for all marketing and sales teams to increase productivity in the short-term.
“As a reference, after 10 months of working with our internal marketing and sales departments investing in Facebook Messenger, it was not until three months ago that we started developing our own AI sales engine to automate the process as much as possible.
“Thanks to Artificial Intelligence through Deep Learning with Google’s TensorFlow platform, we were able to automate 56.9% of queries from Facebook Messenger! In this way, the user receives their response in seconds and our sales team only has to answer those questions that were never asked before.
“This helps the whole team because we do NOT have to be answering the same questions again and again. It’s excellent!
“The results have been AMAZING. For example, our sales increased thanks to this AI chatbot by 24.4%! This is equal to $3.7M in additional revenue a year (the best sales strategy in the last 5 years – spectacular!).”
Courtney Johnson is the Senior Digital Strategist at Metric Digital.
“Here are a series of several top performing ads we love, why the ads work, and a challenging question for brands to think about in regards to their own ads. To view the ad on Facebook, click on the links. That’s even better than a screen shot!
America’s #1 independent online insurance marketplace
“This ad is visually unique and eye-catching. The combination of digital and real life elements is appealing because it’s different than the ads we typically see on social media. The ad also clearly explains what’s being advertised. ‘PolicyGenius: Compare life insurance online.’ Boom. No confusion or guesswork necessary. Does your copywriting have clarity, brevity and differentiation?
100% organic cotton tampons delivered directly to your door.
“This is a creative concept I love, and recommend to clients who don’t have a huge creative budget. Showing a product across changing backgrounds is an easy, fast, and affordable way to create movement without using video. LOLA uses static images and still manages to create a creative, eye-catching ad. The changing background also sends a clear message: women can go anywhere with this item. Do your product shots experiment with interesting angles, backgrounds and environments?
Recreational active wear for doing things daily
“Outdoor Voices uses short clips of only three seconds, but still gets the point across. What is a customer looking for in active wear? They’re probably looking to be able to move freely and comfortably. These three videos effectively demonstrate the value of their comfortable, moisture-wicking active wear. The videos are fun and keep users entertained while clearly showing the versatility of the product. A striking landscape and background adds texture to an otherwise basic product video. Do you have mixed carousels that allow viewers to browse through your product list?
The world’s most comfortable shoes, made naturally
“It’s conceptual. It’s bizarre. It’s striking. It’s artistic. You don’t know why the tree is coming out of the shoe, but you don’t care. You almost have to watch this ad five or ten times to really appreciate. And that’s the beauty. Since it’s only a few seconds, it’s compelling to watch over and over. Wouldn’t work for every product at every stage of the funnel, but, well, there’s just something about this one.
It’s feel good underwear, loungewear, and apparel with free shipping and satisfaction guarantee.
“This slideshow is playful and attractive, and it’s hard to look away. MeUndies has definitely been killing the creative testing game. This ad is purely a creative and aesthetic ad, which doesn’t focus on the value proposition. And that’s okay. It’s common to run more educational ads at the top of the funnel, where brands introduce themselves to customers and let them know what they’re all about. Once customers are more familiar, brands can retarget them with this kind of aesthetic and eye catching ad to remind them of the brand they love (and push them down the funnel). Do your lifestyle shots show the product front and center?”
Arron Richmond is a Digital Marketing Executive for High Speed Training – one of the UK’s leading online training providers.
“Let’s assume your end goal on Facebook is to sell products – not an email sign up or someone following your page, but a monetary conversion on one of your products. Besides simply promoting your product through Facebook ads, one of the most creative techniques I’ve seen is leveraging high engagement content to promote products.
“Ads are going to have a finite audience and impact because, even if your ads are incredibly well targeted, some people just hate ads on Facebook. If you also do content marketing, and you find people are engaging more with your content than with your product ads, then you can try and turn this engagement from what could be a vanity metric into something that affects your bottom line.
“A very simple, yet creative way to do this is to leave a comment on your content post saying something like ‘Hey, if you liked this piece of content then you might also be interested in this complimentary product we sell.’ Facebook users often read the comments on content they’re engaged with, and because you’re the original poster, any comment you leave will be the first one they see.
Steve James writes the blog smallbizbigbiz.
“Although it’s obvious, my favorite is still ‘How much is your House Worth?’ complemented by a picture of your local city.
“It fulfills the marketing line of making something look free, that will offer value to you, will have a good value proposal, and even makes you feel safe enough to add your zip/postcode on the next landing page. It’s only after that you realize that this is simply outreach from a local Realtor trawling for information and introductions. Very clever.”
David Ambrogio is an SEO & content strategist at Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency in New Orleans. He specializes in building brands and businesses online through search engine optimization and social media marketing.
“The best example I’ve seen of using Facebook for business was in customizing audience targeting by targeting people who DON’T like certain brands (e.g., luxury customers don’t shop at Dollar Tree).
Carol is the Digital Media Manager for Foundations Wellness Center. Previously she served as a Marketing Manager for SFS Tax & Accounting and a Senior Advertising Sales Manager at Gannett. She is passionate about all things digital and has over a decade of successful experience in the digital marketing world.
“We feature ‘Transformation Tuesdays’ and ‘Throwback Thursdays’ with real client stories. When you can demonstrate that your business produces results visually and in a way that is personal, you can grow your audience and engagement. There is nothing like a testimonial to capture interest, lend credibility, and build trust with your brand. People are interested in hearing from other people.
“Another creative use of Facebook for businesses that drives not just engagement, but product sales, is with contests.
“Previously, I worked with a major media company that handled social media advertising for clients. One of those clients was a chocolatier looking to pump up Easter sales. Traditionally, the company had always done a coloring contest, however, they were using offline means to get the word out. We put the contest on Facebook, allowing customers to download a PDF of a cute Easter bunny scene. The retailer received literally hundreds of entries – more than they ever had before – and was tickled pink by the corresponding bump in sales and foot traffic.”
John Max Bolling
John Max is the Head of Marketing and Sales at Engine. He has worked across multiple million dollar brands as well as white labeling agencies in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. With a background in marketing and a passion for e-commerce, John is responsible for sharing Engine with the world.
“When it comes to creativity on Facebook, Sephora provides a user experience I really love. The beauty brand’s messenger system is a combination of three different Facebook products that work together to provide an immersive virtual-reality experience that gives consumers a first-hand look at how Sephora products might look for them. They are using paid media on Facebook to push consumers to their messenger and using Facebook’s AR Studio to create the experience. Allowing online consumers to essentially try on makeup before they buy is very unique. The engagement this provides creates relevance and brand lift with Sephora’s consumers.
“Skin Inc. is another great example. The skincare brand based in Singapore used Facebook’s value optimization to push out an ad campaign targeting higher-value purchaser(s) using lookalike audiences. The campaign ran for two weeks last spring and resulted in a 57 percent increase in return on ad spend, a 33 percent increase in purchases, and 25 percent lower cost per purchase.”
Gennady Litvin is an attorney at Moshes Law, a Law Firm in New York.
“These days you have to be creative to cut through all the noise online. General Electric has done a great job this year. The main things I loved about their campaign this year is the fact that they utilized videos to consistently share their brand story instead of pushing to get sales and leads. I can guarantee that boost to their brand reputation and advocacy through social storytelling is what will and has been pushing their company to higher levels this year.”
Nicole Bigar Orban is the Founder of Bigar Creative, a digital marketing and content creation firm that services clients across the country in a variety of industries.
“The biggest thing to remember when promoting your business on Facebook is that you have to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Your content has to get people to stop scrolling through a newsfeed and grab their attention. A few tips we use at Bigar Creative are as follows…
- Adjust the contrast of the photo. A simple adjustment of 25% on the contrast of the photo sets it apart from all of the other content you are competing with.
- Create a lead magnet to capture qualified leads. A simple one-page PDF that provides value to your target market is a great way to capture leads. Provide value in your free download by solving a problem your market faces.
- DON’T sell directly from an advertisement. Many businesses make this mistake. You have to warm an audience up before selling – especially with high ticket items. Set up a lead magnet followed by an email nurturing sequence for better results.”
Paul Kogel is the CTO of Juicer.io. Juicer.io’s goal is to help small businesses boost their social media engagement through the use of our social media aggregation tool and provide guidance on best social media practices, including Facebook.
“One of the most creative ways to use Facebook for business is by building a successful Facebook Group. Facebook Groups provide a social platform around your business topic of interest where you can generate conversation and establish relationships with your target audience. Some benefits of having a Facebook group are:
- Business personalization
- Target audience feedback
- Turn fans into brand ambassadors
- Opportunity to promote your business and products
Emily Martinez is a native of Austin, Texas and a strategist at Smirk New Media, headquartered in Oklahoma City. Emily spends her days crafting SEO and digital strategies for her clients and her nights with her dog Spock.
“What is working right now?
“It takes more than high-quality food pictures to be successful on social media nowadays. Thoughtful, story-telling content is the best way to connect with your audience. It is less about the number of posts and more about the quality of posts. Brands that take the time to generate community-oriented posts and engage with other local accounts/hashtags have seen a phenomenal response from their audience. However, getting this content in front of people who care requires more than pressing the ‘Boost’ button. While it’s an easy way to promote content, the ‘Boost’ button has very limited targeting options and is nowhere near as effective as an ad campaign created in Facebook’s Ads Manager. Additionally, moving imagery has become the best way to maximize your advertising budget and is earning the lowest cost per result in ad campaigns. The Facebook Pixel, a code placed on your website, is also a must to set up remarketing campaigns, track custom conversions and make lookalike audiences based on user actions, like visiting your website. More than anything, making the effort to personalize your brand on social media, through both organic and paid content, appeals to potential customers in a new way.
“What is not working right now?
“Following significant changes to Facebook’s algorithm this year, the platform values quality over quantity in content. Posting on social media accounts several times a day used to be the best way to reach your audience, but this practice is now considered spamming and will hurt the overall organic potential of your posts. Facebook won’t show most posts using sales language (‘Come by…’, ‘Join us…’, ‘Only $5…’, etc.) to your audience without an ad. Even in ad campaigns, Facebook can, and will, deny ads that feature graphics with more than 20% text. Nowadays, the size of your ad budget cannot make up for posting the same old content. Advertising on Facebook and Instagram must be thoughtful to be successful.
“Don’t underestimate the power of organic posts on Instagram. Using local hashtags, interacting with other brands in your area, and creative posts can earn your brand hundreds of new followers with as little as one post per week. Relevant and engaging content on Instagram leads to a bigger reach, more impressions, and ultimately, loyal customers.”
Jay Perkins co-founded and run the day to day operations and marketing of Kettlebell Kings. He has experience working e-commerce sales as well as building my own brand in the fitness space. They have been in business about four years and are the most reviewed kettlebell provider online.
“Our business, Kettlebell Kings, has used Facebook really successfully to build an email list of about 60,000 in just a couple of years. We sell kettlebells (which are fitness equipment) online, but we do not use Facebook for product ads. We focus on use and education of kettlebells by advertising weekly kettlebell workouts and expert advice that people can subscribe to. One of the great things about Facebook is the targeting is so granular we can actually target people interested in ‘kettlebells’ on Facebook, and no other platform has that ability to show ads to people interested in that without them searching for it. So, we direct people to sign up pages for free workouts (you can see an example here) from the ad and people enter their email addresses to receive information.
“We have about a 30% conversion rate from view to sign up on those landing pages and on average pay about a dollar per lead. Once people sign up, they go into our workflows where we do not try and sell them anything but send them weekly workouts with expert tips and advice and that is all they get from us for a long time. It is not until weeks 6-8 that they might receive an offer if they don’t take action on their own. We do solicit the entire list the couple times a year we run sales and this has helped us generate six figure revenue numbers over three day periods. So, our focus on Facebook has been building our community around sharing customer content, sharing expert advice and building trust and it gives us a reason to be in people’s inboxes regularly before they buy from us.”
Alan LaFrance is the marketing strategy manager at Lawnstarter in Austin, TX. Lawnstarter helps people find reliable lawn care service at a good price.
“Using Facebook Live to hold auctions for various products is the most innovative use of Facebook that I’ve seen in the past year. Early adoption of Live definitely increased their audience and auctioning helped to build an experience.”
Kim Randall, CEO of KiMedia Strategies, is a Social Brand Strategist, Digital Marketer, blogger, and passionate entrepreneur. She loves smart technology, innovative applications, all things social media, and her three chihuahuas.
“GIFS! Seriously, GIF marketing is extremely engaging. Ask those that follow your business a question, but urge them to comment with a GIF. Your chances at a higher response and engagement rate increase tremendously when you use the tools your connections use daily. You can simply ask, ‘How does (product or service) make you feel? Comment below with a gif 👇🏼.’ Include some emojis for good measure. This works really well for B2C businesses, and while B2B might be a little more professional focused, you can still find ways to incorporate GIF marketing into your overall Facebook strategy because honestly, engagement truly is key to organic promotion success.”
Louis Gudema is the president of revenue & associates and helps companies develop and implement strategic marketing programs that drive business results. He is the author of Bullseye Marketing and mentors startups at MIT.
“In my Bullseye Marketing book, I include several images from the Facebook campaigns of Maersk, the largest shipper in the world. While you might not think that a shipper would get much value from a personal/family oriented social platform like Facebook, in fact they say that they track results closely and it’s very valuable for them. Maersk does an excellent job of humanizing their brand through Facebook with posts about customers, their sailors, and even the launch of new ships. They have several million followers and their pages include chat pop-ups to initiate conversations with potential customers.”
Tom is the Founder & CEO of Pinpoint, a software product that helps businesses all over the world attract, assess and hire the right people. Tom is a serial entrepreneur and has a passion for designing organisations people actually want to work for.
“The best use of Facebook for business is social recruitment. As has always been the case, people are the most important part of any business – what has changed over the past few years is the market for candidates. I’d say we’ve transitioned from a ‘company first’ market (i.e. we’re ACME corp, we have jobs, come get them) to a ‘candidate first’ market (i.e. I’m a quality candidate, if you want me, come get me), and Facebook (and by extension, Instagram) is the most efficient way to get in front of these people.
“Easy mode – run Facebook & Instagram ads to relevant people in relevant locations. Run a combination of generic employer branding ads (life at ACME corp) as well as role specific ads (become a writer at ACME corp) for the best bang for your buck.
“Hard mode – combine the above with more complex advertising techniques like re-targeting (showing your ads to people who’ve viewed your job but not applied for it) and lookalike audiences (Facebook and Instagram can automatically find people that look like your desirable applicants / current employees).
“The best candidates live in the ‘passive’ market – i.e. they’re not on job boards, reading job gazettes or sat on LinkedIn browsing open vacancies, but they are on Facebook and Instagram already, and Facebook advertising is the most cost-effective way to get in front of them.”
James Robinson is the Creative director at Iconic Genius.
“The best example I have seen how to use Facebook for business is by using Facebook ads. It is by far the greatest way to use Facebook. To reach a thousand people on Facebook, it costs about $5.
“I have seen gyms, restaurants, realtors, bars, and live events make 7 figures. I have also seen over 100 leads in less than 30 days. The power of Facebook (when done right) is unmatched.
“And if you are running ads right, for every $1 you put in you should be getting $5 out. Some of the best ads that I have seen are milestone ads, look-a-like ad, custom audience ads, and retargeting.
“If you are using Facebook, you should also be using Facebook pixel on your website. As many already know, Facebook owns Instagram and Whatsapp. So the data that they have on users is insane, and when used the right way, it can skyrocket any business quickly.”
Zach Hendrix is the Co-founder of GreenPal which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care.
“One quick tactic that others may not have suggested on how to gain new customers with social media marketing is Facebook GROUPS, especially local Facebook groups.
“No matter your niche or vertical, there is a Facebook group that you can participate in to contribute to the discussion, answer questions, and develop a presence to refer people to your business, often times when they are looking for exactly what you offer.
“Facebook just launched a dedicated mobile app to support their groups’ communities, so now it’s easier than ever to manage the groups that you participate in, monitor the conversations, and participate while on the go throughout your day.
“We have found this tactic to be very effective for our marketplace. We monitor local groups and neighborhoods’ groups , and when anyone is asking for a recommendation on a lawn care service, we kindly let them know about the GreenPal community. We track the success and 60% of the time we make a recommendation, they signup for our service.”
Gene Caballero is the co-founder of GreenPal that has been described as Uber for lawn care.
“Social listening has been key to our growth and implementation. We have over 5k vendors that use GreenPal’s platform to make their lives easier.
“The GreenPal Allstars Facebook page was created for only GreenPal vendors to share best practices, ask for advice, sell or buy equipment, to vent frustrations, and let us know what features to build. We have daily questions asked to us about how things work, why some things are done the way they are, and even what others recommend in certain situations. We also handle all of our vendor support on the page and announce new features, bugs on the website, and contests.
“This has saved us time and money because we do not have to hire a customer service team to handle the daily questions that are asked. The community helps and answers almost 90% of the issues in the group, allowing us to focus on higher leverage activities.”
Joe Youngblood is a digital marketing expert with over 13 years of experience building successful marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media websites.
“There’s a lot of good marketing on Facebook and a lot of bad marketing, but one of the best marketing tactics I’ve seen is by a company that bucks the trends. The company Collective Media, Inc. owns a very popular meme page on Facebook, NFL Memes (3,550,144 followers as of writing). During the NFL football season the page roars to life with some of the most hilarious memes about NFL football. Every Facebook marketing expert will tell you to use video to engage your audience or Facebook groups, but the NFL Memes page scores with good ol’ static memes all season long.
“They do all of this to drive engagement on their page in the hopes that those engaged users will click to read one of their news articles on the website they own, DailySnark.com
“The page does a great job of creating the memes in near real-time as games are being played and news is coming out around the league. And even finds success in sharing funny news related to other sports. As an NFL football fan, I find the page to be a must-follow during the season.
“If you look on the new ‘Info & Ads’ section of their page, they never seem to ‘boost’ posts or run ads either, also against typical recommendations by marketing experts.
“For bucking the video trend, refusing to run ads, and mixing up their post content between memes and links to their publications Collective Media, Inc. gets my vote for one of the best Facebook marketing examples.
“This same system can be leveraged by other publishers and small businesses alike. If you can keep people on Facebook entertained on a frequent enough basis you are likely to also get a good percentage of them to click links to read ad-supported content, buy merchandise, or hire you for your services.”
Evan Roberts is a real estate agent with Dependable Homebuyers in Washington DC.
“We’ve seen real estate agents stream live video of open houses to attract potential buyers for their properties. These virtual open houses are great for gaining attention since you can target views in a targeted geographical area. Not only that, but Facebook gives live video precedence over other types of content so the Realtors receive a high number of impressions without sending money on marketing.
“Pro tip: To take this further, I’ve seen real estate agents who will then take the footage and run a Facebook ad for the next week targeting an audience who is likely to move. Not only does this let them sell the home faster, but it also acts as a great way to generate new buyer leads.”
Matthew Scheffler is the Founder of Tribute Projects.
“I’ve invented a new travel kit that I sell called the Atlas Project. Since I don’t have any venture capital or major investors, we’ve learned how to get creative with social media marketing with limited resources. (Our mantra: Scarcity breeds Creativity!) So, what we do is, we add one international coin to each of our Atlas Travel Kits and our Atlas Travel Journals with the promise that if our customer takes a picture of our product in that country and post it to Facebook or Instagram, then we buy them a first round of drinks or dessert in that country using Venmo! That way we invest directly in Guerilla word-of-mouth marketing, and our potential out-reach audience grows by at least the number of followers each of our new customer has online! Plus, we get to buy drinks for people around the world!”
Ayesha Ambreen is a social media strategist, blogger, and DIY designer. She loves colors, words, social media and everything that inspires her to do something new and challenging.
“I like Sharpie’s page most in terms of creative content. It is interesting to see how a simple marker brand is doing so well on Facebook when a lot of popular and more consumer-centric brands struggle with their content. Not only are Sharpie’s graphics on-point and interesting, but the brand also shares lots of user-generated content through their Facebook page.
Ketan Kapoor is the CEO & Co-Founder Mettl.
“While scrolling my FB feed, I was quite intrigued by the way Mentorbox used Facebook for business to appeal users. It caught my eye in seconds and kept me captivated with the ideation fueling the concept, which is well within what Facebook allows. They targeted people who love to read in order to accentuate their personal and professional journey, but fall short of time due to work and other commitments. Since their approach is to target people who have mentioned ‘reading’ as one of their core interests or hobbies in Facebook profiles, the odds of success are also quite high.
“The idea is to pass on key nuggets of wisdom or summaries from the books a person choose via 30-minute videos, that too from the people who have actually written those books!
“Although it’s a proven market need, the idea to learn directly learn from high profile authors while saving hours on the side got me sold in no time. And, the type of messaging that they used on Facebook to capture attention is truly commendable and is quite difficult to ignore.”