In my last column, I discussed strategies for testing content on your Facebook page. I also talked about how important it is, even when testing, to retain the character of your brand in all your content. Your Facebook page should have an identity to it, and you should strive to hold that identity constant.
Part of holding this identity constant is making sure that your advertising is aligned with your Page content. That means keeping the style and character of your ads consistent with the status updates, photos and videos you’re posting on your Page. This principle is not just limited to Facebook, either — what you post on Twitter, share in print or on television, and promote on other digital channels, should all work in concert to benefit your brand.
Why Is Consistency Important?
You want your fans to have the best possible experience on your Facebook page, and part of having a great user experience is great content — content that is engaging, informative and appealing. But, brand recognition is also essential. After all, how will people recognize your brand if your voice varies on different channels?
On Facebook, content is advertising. The Page Post ad is the epitome of this: it takes a post that you’ve created on your Page and turns it into an ad unit. You wouldn’t want to promote ads or posts that aren’t reflective of your Page’s identify. Imagine clicking on an ad with a funny viral video and being redirected to a political action group — that is a poor user experience. You’re not likely to consume any more of the group’s content because it’s not what you’re interested it and not what you clicked on.
Or, say you saw a commercial for a chain restaurant where they discussed the kid-friendly nature of their establishments and special weeknight deals for families. If you visited their Facebook page and saw no mention of either of those features, you’d probably be disappointed. You might even be confused about whether or not it was the same restaurant. At the very least, you’d be less likely to visit with your children, not knowing if what was advertised was real because it wasn’t represented across all channels.
Good Pages will instead sync their advertising with what is on their Page. See below for an example of a “good” Page Post; here, the content SocialCode has published on their page is highly relevant to fans of SocialCode, and they’ve turned that content into an ad. Users who click though the ad to the SocialCode page will see very similar articles and information. There is nothing misleading or tricky; the user gets exactly what is advertised.
The same holds true with other types of ads on Facebook; the Page Post is just the most obvious. Any time your ads don’t match the tone of your page, you have a problem. So, how do you avoid this?
The Benefits Of Unified Control
One of the easiest ways to unite messaging across both Facebook Pages and Facebook Ads is to maintain unified control over both. Spreading the responsibility between multiple partners or agencies makes it more difficult to ensure that messaging remains consistent, as communication is often minimal between such parties.
Smaller businesses have a unique advantage in this respect. Although they may not have the budget to work with big agencies and thus can’t rely on such resources and knowledge, they have the benefit of unified control across all channels — and there’s really no better position to be in when it comes to consistent messaging.
You can easily coordinate your marketing efforts when you maintain unified control. You know what type of language you’re running on search or in print, and you can tailor your Facebook content to match. There’s no need to source information from multiple agencies; it’s all at your fingertips.
You can make decisions faster without having to wait for approval from multiple groups. If you see a particular piece of content resonating, you can go ahead and turn that into an ad to get it out to more people. Your ability to make quick decisions allows for greater flexibility, too. If a planned strategy isn’t working, you can choose to chuck it without needing to consult anyone else. You can also keep up with the rapid-fire pace of social media, where conversation topics rise and fall extremely quickly, without having to wait for anyone. You know that what you’re putting out there is exactly what you want to say. All this means more effective advertising.
What If My Page Is Too Big To Manage Myself?
Of course, not every company running Facebook ads can exercise this level of control. When you get to a certain size, it’s just not feasible for one person or group to be managing both the content and advertising. When that’s not possible, it is essential that the two groups work extremely closely together, requiring a great deal of upfront planning and communication.
Instead of thinking about each channel as a separate entity, think about your entire marketing strategy as a whole. Many successful brands use a “hub and spoke” model, where their marketing content is based around a central channel and all the other channels branch out from there.
Think about a big brand like Dunkin’ Donuts — when they introduce a new product, the focus of their marketing efforts may be on television and in print, but the launch is also supported on billboards, Facebook and Twitter. They use a conversational, friendly style throughout, keeping the language similar and often focusing around a central phrase or keyword as well.
Naturally, this content is tailored slightly to fit each specific channel — what Dunkin’ posts on Twitter is not exactly the same as what they post on Facebook. As we’ve said before, content from one channel, like SEM, will not map directly to Facebook and Twitter. It’s obviously important to tailor your strategy for each separate channel — but, at the same time, each channel and its content should fit into the overall strategy like puzzle pieces.
Accomplishing this is not easy when the work is split among a variety of teams. It necessitates strong leadership, a collaborative approach to overall strategy development, and an understanding of how each individual channel can contribute to the bigger picture. Tactically, rules such as style guides and exact specifications for how to use logos and the like are easy to interpret and follow, and these will help to maintain this consistency of voice.
When these strategies are used correctly, the result is a consistent voice, as with Dunkin’ Donuts. However, increased turnaround time and the need for consensus between many teams over time necessitates longer-running, less responsive campaigns than might otherwise be possible. This does not mean they aren’t powerful or effective — but, there will always be things that such involved campaigns cannot do that a more agile operation can accomplish.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.