Financial Data
Updated 30 Sep 2020


How to use Facebook to market your business in South Africa

Looking to expand your audience reach? Facebook is a social media platform that can offer free and paid-for marketing solutions to help you market your business in South Africa.


Nicole Crampton, 13 November 2015  Share  0 comments  Print


All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

Facebook allows your business to connect with users directly in an engaging and genuine way. How to use Facebook to market your business in South Africa? It’s now simple and streamlined.

By creating a hub for your business on Facebook you make your business:

  • Discoverable. People who search for you using Facebook will be able to find you.
  • Communicates with your audience. You will now have the opportunity to have one-on-one communication with your customers or potential customers. People can ‘like’ your Page, read your posts and share them with their network and check in when they visit your actual store.
  • Maintain constant connection. Your page can help you to connect with large groups of people all around the world on a daily basis using messages that are tailored to your customers’ needs and interests.
  • Remain statistically relevant. Analytics attached to your page will help you have a comprehensive understanding of your customers and your marketing activities.

How do South African’s use Facebook?  

Facebook -users -in -south -africa

According to the SA Social Media Landscape 2015 report, Facebook is still the most popular social network in South Africa with 11.8 million users. This popular social media platform has managed to gain an equal uptake of both males and females within South Africa. This allows you to reach more potential customers of both genders with your social media campaign.

Related: Facebook for business South Africa

When designing your page take into account that 22% of the people using Facebook are accessing it from their mobile phones. Take into account all the mobile applications your business can provide through Facebook, in order to tap into this customer base.  A key advantage of having a Facebook Page for your business is that customers searching on their mobile devices will find your business easier.

How to market your business using Facebook

You can reach more people through Facebook, but specifically you can reach those people who are most likely to become your customers. To help you connect with the right people you should consider:

  • What do your potential customers have in common?
  • What is the average age of your customer base and where are they situated?
  • How can your business better their lives?
  • Would different customer groups be interested in targeted messages, products or services? Maybe they would prefer a sale or a strategically timed offer?

Free marketing through Facebook

To build your audience and increase your potential customer base, encourage your current customers and supporters to ‘like’ your Facebook Page. By doing this they will be able to see your posts in their News Feed. By encouraging them to share your page or invite your friends to like the page you can easily build your audience.

Active ways to increase your customer base

  • Invite your friends: By asking users within your network to support your page, you can increase the numbers on your page as well as it helps you to grow your audience. The initial audience will assist you in establishing your credibility and spread the word about your page.
  • Share your page on your own Facebook profile and remember to like your own page. Show your followers that you have confidence in your business and are proud to be its spokesperson.
  • Invite your business associates: Create a list of people to inform about your new page. This increases your following and shows your business’s connections as to how your business is doing.
  • Connect your other social media profiles together. Share your Facebook Page link on your twitter and vice versa. By adding the details on your website, any of your marketing information and on your business emails, could increase your audience.
  • Using keywords within your profile and posts will help you to attract people who are searching for related or similar content. This will help your page to rank higher in search engines results.
  • Reward your Facebook followers. Offer competitions or provide exclusive content. There are many users who use Facebook with the express purpose of finding special offers that aren’t available anywhere else.
  • Increase your brand awareness by using your company name and logo on your Facebook Page. You can also showcase your brands personality, which people will see when they read through your Timeline. Look up how other businesses are using their Timelines creatively.

Keep in mind: It’s more important to genuinely connect and engage with your customers than have more Likes but no engagement. Your engaged, connected customers will help you to spread your story and increase your reach.

Compelling content can increase your audience

Facebook -global -content

Be sure to create compelling content. Your updates, photos and posts should all be based on what your customers will find interesting and inspiring. Experiment with different types of posts to see what your audience loves the most. By using Facebook Page Insights you can determine exactly what your audience prefers.

  • Authenticity. Share what you find genuinely exciting and your customers will be excited about it as well.
  • Responsiveness. When your audience comments on your posts, engage with them and show that your business is listening to what they have to say and that you do care about their points of view.
  • Consistency. By posting regularly you will have a better chance of connecting with your audience and building their trust. This also shows that you are dedicated to your business and are putting in a consistent amount of effort. Setting a schedule for your posts can help you maximise your teams time. 
  • Stick with success. Replicate the posts that are successful and get more engagement. This will help your posts to be shared and liked and commented on. The more your audience is engaged with your page the better your business will do.
  • Convert successful posts into promotions. When you notice that a specific post is receiving a lot of attention and engagement, promote it to reach a larger audience. By doing this, when a person likes, comments or shares your posts, their network will be able to see those posts in their News Feed.

Keep in mind: In order for your page to be successful you need to make it interesting and valuable for your customers. Creating targeted strategic messages you include the right people in your community.

Related: How to promote your business events on Facebook

Paid marketing through Facebook

Next step advertising

Once you’ve created a decent-sized customer base on Facebook, you’ll want to find other people who are interested in your product or service. Facebook adverts can send the right message to the right people at the right time, just when they’re the most receptive to discovering your business.

Creating an advert

  • An advert can be created directly from the admin panel of your Page. Or you can use the Advert Create tool when designing your advert. Your advert can be used to engage more potential customers.
  • After you’ve built a community around your Page, you can use the Advert Create tool to target your advertising at your followers’ network. This is a natural way to grow your following through word-of-mouth.
  •  Have different adverts for specific audiences. You can create categories of adverts to connect with various target audiences. Potential customers are more likely to respond to messages crafted just for them compared to a generic blanket message.
  • Use Facebook Adverts guide for detailed specifications, to make sure your adverts look good no matter what device they’re being viewed on. There are many specific options available to you; like image dimensions.

Guidance system

  • Create a private list of your current customers to Facebook by using Custom Audiences, you can then use Lookalike Audiences in the Advert Create tool to identify people who are similar to your current customer base.
  • You can use the interest targeting tool, which can be found in the Advert Create tool and can be implemented when creating an advert. This will help you reach potential customers who have already shown interest in or have a connection to various interests on Facebook that are similar to your products.

Keep in mind: Creating adverts for specific audiences can maximise the return on your investment.

Measuring and adjusting 

Facebook -south -africa

Keep track of how your page is doing. Increase the activities that are working well so you can take advantage of the impact each post and advert has. Facebook has many different tools to help you measure how your page is doing.

  • Page Insights will help you to keep up-to-date on the activity on your Facebook Page. You can use this to understand who has been responding to your messages. Take note of the gender, age and location of the audience who are the most engaged with your business. This will help you to continue to engage with them through the same or similar targeted adverts and promoted posts.
  • Try using different images and headlines when creating your adverts, this will help you narrow down what works and what doesn’t.  Facebook will automatically optimise your campaign to redirect funding to the advert that is performing the best.
  • A practise to have, is to ask new followers how they heard about you. You can collect this information at the end of a call, during a survey or at the point-of-sale. By keeping track of their comments you can supplement the information the Facebook tools provide.

Keep in mind: Marketing should be about helping you achieve your business goals.

Setting you advertising budget

Facebook uses a bidding structure for its advertising options. This is based on supply and demand, if there are more advertisers who want to reach a specific demographic, the advert will have higher bids. Facebook also provides a suggested bid for you, this will narrow down the range of what other businesses adverts for this demographic are or will cost.

Here are a few insights about Facebook advertising costs:

  • Facebook adverts are run on a closed bidding system, which means you can’t see what others are paying for their adverts and they can’t see what you are bidding for your adverts.
  • Facebook will give you a recommended bidding range when creating your advert and will constantly update the range throughout your advertising campaign.
  • Facebook gives you the option to monitor your campaign to see whether the advert is performing at your current bid.
  • Another option is to set a daily maximum budget. This will help you to have a clear idea of how much the entire campaign will cost and won’t give you a nasty surprise half way through the month when your funds are depleted.

Keep in mind: Your objectives for your advertising campaign should factor into your purchasing strategy.

Facebook has two types of pricing that it allows you to purchase your advertising with:

  1. Cost per click (CPC): CPC is the option that allows you to pay each time a user clicks on your advert. This will probably be your best option if your strategy is to drive traffic to a specific page.
  2. Cost per impression (CPM): CPM is the option that allows you to pay, based on how many people see your advert. This may be a higher performer if your strategy is to get as many people as possible to see your ad, but not necessarily to click through.

Keep in mind: Test your adverts using the CPM option, this will allow you to identify which adverts are performing the best and will give you a general idea of your cost per click. This will help you decide on the best option to purchase for your advertising campaign.

Related: How to make Facebook ads work for you

What is a Facebook boosted post?

Facebook -like

A boosted post is a post from your business page that you can opt to appear higher in your followers News Feeds for a fee. The fee will be dependent on how many people you want the post to reach. The fee will also depend on how many impressions the post gets within the time period.

Boosted posts are not the same as Sponsored posts. Sponsored posts function like adverts, you’ll need to choose your target audience and invest funds into making them aware of your business.  It’s recommended that you only try promoting your posts after running advance-analytics on your target audience and you know exactly who it is you want to connect with.

Boosting a post on Facebook

You’ll need to decide which post you want to be boosted. You can boost both new and previously published posts. You’ll see a “Boost Post” button on the bottom right corner of the post.

Your next step will need to choose the target audience you want your boosted post to reach. You have various options, you can select your boosted post to appear in the News Feeds of your audience along with their friends or you can choose a specific targeted demographic. You can target a demographic based on interests, location, ages and gender.

Once you’ve selected your audience, you need to manage the budget specific to that boosted post. The budget will determine the amount of time you have the post boosted, which will affect the number of viewers who will see it.

Which posts should I boost?

You should choose the content that will give you the highest return on investment as you’ll have to invest a percentage of your budget into each Facebook post you want to boost. You should boost “evergreen” content, these will specifically help spread long-term brand awareness, unless your post has a time-sensitive campaign like a competition or a special you are running for a limited time.

Generally a post you should boost needs the following criteria:

  • It will help to promote your product or service
  • It encourages your audience to visit your businesses website
  • It spreads awareness of a campaign that your business is running for a limited time.

Keep in mind: Your booster post needs to comply with Facebook’s Ad Guidelines. Facebook still needs to approve all boosted posts before they appear on users’ News Feeds. You’ll need to be sure your post won’t be pulled before anyone gets to see it.

How to promote your new Facebook Page

Once you’ve set up your businesses Facebook Page, you need to get your Page in front of potential customers. You’ll need to drive traffic to your Page, increase engagement with customers and potential customers as well as promote your business. People who want your product, typically want to connect with you, they just need a gentle reminder.

Related: How to build a Facebook fan page

Here are a few ways to help you to promote your business Facebook Page:

1. Use the network you have efficiently

If you already have people on your email list, they probably want to connect with you on Facebook as well. Send out an email to your contact list, inviting people to “Like” your business on Facebook. Once people “Like” your business’s Facebook page, you’ll automatically show up in their newsfeed and you can engage with them socially.

2. Help potential customers find you

Add a Facebook Page Badge to your website. This will allow you to link your websites audience to find your Facebook Page.

You’ll need to login to your Facebook account and then follow this link where you can find an official Facebook Badge.

3. Enhance your Facebook marketing

There is a difference between “social media” and “social media marketing.” Social media marketing helps your business be found by both current customers and to be relevant to new, potential customers.

4. Take it offline too

Promote your business Facebook Page through your print marketing, this includes business cards, menus, flyers, signs, t-shirts and anywhere that will be visible to potential customers. The more followers you have, the more efficiently and effectively your posts, pictures and videos will reach the people you want to reach.

5. Tell everyone and anyone

The next time you speak at a workshop, seminar or conference, promote your Facebook Page. You can even include a link to your page in your slide show.

Promoting your Facebook Page in many little ways can have a large impact. A business Facebook Page could be one of the best marketing tools, but it’s useless if no one knows it exists.

Examples of businesses using Facebook for marketing

Facebook -marketing

1. IdeaPaint

This is a B2B company that sells a speciality paint that allows you to convert walls and other spaces into a dry-erase writing surface. IdeaPaint have creative links from their welcome tab to their social media sites creating interactivity.

A good first experience with your product is critical in building long-term customer loyalty. Idea Paint gets this right by posting detailed videos of their Page on how to install their product. They integrate several social components to the Facebook videos, including the “Like” button but also a Send button which allows users to send the video directly to their friends.

They also integrate their blog into their Facebook feed using NetworkedBlogs, which adds value to their followers who can get advice and ideas from their blog.

2. Red Bull

When you visit the Red Bull Facebook page you can’t avoid their fun call-to-action. The brand also persuades you to become a follower by greying out certain videos, which you can only access as a follower. Red Bull created a series of games and a TV channel to keep people on their page for longer. You might not have this kind of budget, but it might inspire some creative ideas on how to get users to keep returning to your Page.

Events can help you meet with your customers and engage with them in person, this is why the events tab is so powerful and Red Bull makes great use of this.

3. Airbnb

Airbnb posted a “shot list” and asked users to shoot one of the shots on the list. Users would follow the director’s instructions for the specific shot and then they would share it. The winning shots were given USD100, there were 750 submissions but only 100 were used in the short film. This event got wide exposure and got the attention of actors Adam Goldberg and Ashton Kutcher.

Related: 10 Ways a Facebook fan page helps your business

4. Woolworths

Often an opportunity presents itself and you’ll need to rise to the occasion. Woolworths got this right when an Australian user posted on their Page Eminem’s rap song but changed the song lyrics to rapping about spaghetti.

Woolworth’s social media team responded with more Eminem rap lyrics and the posts went viral. The engagement had 32 000 comments and 19 000 shares. Just because you have a social media strategy in place doesn’t mean you can’t rise to the occasion when an opportunity presents itself.

James Mc Gloin Woolies Viral

Facebook tools

Here are some tools to help you streamline your Facebook social media marketing:

Postplanner: This site will help you to discover amazing content and stop second-guessing yourself about what to post. It will cost you around R80 a month for their service. 

Facebook Page Barometer: This will assist you stay on top of the latest trends on Facebook and help you to increase your reach and engagement levels. You need to stay current to keep users attention and this site can help you do that. 

Shortstack: This site can help you to generate leads, drive sales and boost your engagement by using social marketing campaigns on Facebook. They will also assist you to build engaging social media contests and marketing campaigns. 

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About the author


Nicole Crampton


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