Social Media Marketing: An Overview


 As of Jan 2021,

  • 53.6% of the global population use social media today, showing a 13.2% year-on-year growth 
  • Average time spent on social media daily (for internet users aged 16 to 64) has been increasing over the years, with an average of 2h 25min last year

In a world where social media is so prevalent in everyone’s lives, it is truly a great opportunity for businesses to tap on this to make an impression. This is why social media marketing is becoming increasingly incorporated in the marketing strategy of businesses.

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with the audience to build a business’s brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. Regardless of the choice of platform, it usually comprises of two separate elements:

 1. Facebook: A Good Starting Platform


Choosing a social media platform to use is not easy. Each platform has its own pros and cons, and there are many other considerations as well. There is also no restriction to just one, and a combination may amplify the impact if they are complementary.

For one who cannot decide, Facebook could just be a good choice for a start, and here are some reasons why:


  • Facebook is the biggest social media worldwide

Facebook is used by 59.0% of the world’s social networking population, the only platform to reach more than half of the social networking population worldwide.

  • Users use Facebook to connect with local businesses

2/3 of Facebook users visit one local business page at least once a week. Small local businesses can also leverage Facebook to reach out to their customers.

  • Facebook can reach a wide audience for their ads

Facebook has an advertising audience of 2.14 billion, a 2.2% increase since half a year ago.


Due to the size of the userbase and the usage of social media, Facebook serves as a good platform for businesses to promote themselves, regardless of industry and nature.

2. Facebook as a marketing platform


As mentioned above, there are two parts to social media marketing – content management and sponsored ads. For Facebook, this comes in the form of Pages and Facebook Ads respectively, and they come in hand-in-hand.

2.1 Pages


Free and easy to set up, having a Facebook Page is similar to having your own webpage. It is a place where potential customers and clients can find your business, know more about your business, and connect with you.

As reflected in the screenshot, a user will not only be able to get a brief overview of the business from the page but also easily connect with it. They can also then ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the page, which would enable them to receive updates from the page in their news feed. This allows the users to gain a better idea of your business and is a starting point for outreach.


Having a page set up is the beginning. However, what is more, important is to effectively use it to reach out to the intended audience. Here are 3 tips on this:

It will be hard to gain likes and followers when freshly starting out, but promoting the page via other means like traditional marketing methods would greatly help. Businesses can also consider using Facebook Ads for further promotion.

2.2 Facebook Ads


Setting up Facebook Ads is also relatively simple, and only consists of a couple of steps. Facebook outlines it as such:

There are several types of ads, such as text, photo, video, and canvas ads. Of the various types, the two more effective ones statistically would be video and canvas ads.

Successfully increasing engagement through ads will help to let more users know about the business and their Facebook page.


In terms of costs, Facebook allows the company to set either (1) a budget for the campaign itself; or (2) an account budget – for all the campaigns. The minimum budget required depends on the budget type, buying type, bid strategy, and schedule. A general rule Facebook recommends is to allocate at least USD$1 per day for daily budgets.


While it depends on the industry itself, an average estimation for Facebook advertising costs for the different bidding models are as such:

Ultimately, the costs still boil down to how the ads are carried out.

Facebook’s ad auction focuses on four metrics: Ad Bid, Estimated Action Rate, Ad Quality, and Ad Relevance. By optimizing these metrics, Facebook ads costs will then be lowered.

3. Learning from experience – case studies


Be it a success or a failure, there are always learning points. Let us look at some marketing campaigns that were carried out using Facebook.


3.1 DBS Bank


1DBS Bank – uGioGo campaign


DBS has rolled out several campaigns with the help of Facebook over the years, one of the most far-reaching ones is the uGioGo campaign, with the objective of acquiring affluent individuals to sign up for its DBS Treasures account.


Marketing Strategy:

  • Spreading campaign information and providing additional perks through its existing Hong Kong and Black card pages
  • Bought Facebook page post Ads and Sponsored Story page post ads in order to help enhance their outreach

2DBS Bank – sustainability campaign


In the midst of COVID-19, DBS has continued to run campaigns as well. Last year, they ran a Facebook campaign to raise sustainability awareness, with the objective of encouraging eco-conscious fashion.


 Marketing Strategy:

  • A mix of video ads branded content ads and augmented reality effects
  • Partnered with influencers for ads, these ads lead to a landing page where users can play their interactive game
  • Delivered ads across four different points on Facebook

Both examples of DBS’s marketing campaign were successful, showing that a well-designed Facebook page and interactive ads can be used to garner the attention and engagement for a campaign.


3.2 Pandora – a success of raising brand awareness campaign


Pandora, a jewelry company, has always had success with ads and purchases. Likewise, their marketing campaign on Facebook saw significant success as well.

In the 2017 holiday season, Pandora ran a campaign on Facebook, with the objective of boosting brand awareness and testing if video ads could have the same success as other Facebook ad formats they have already used.


Marketing Strategy:

  • Worked with Facebook to adapt a successful TV commercial for the platform
  • The ad targeted a specific audience – German audiences between ages 18-50
  • The ad was put in newsfeeds and as an in-stream video ad

3.3 Dove – a backlash of an improper FB post


Dove is known for empowering women and focusing on natural, realistic standards of beauty. Over the years, they have had many successful campaigns that focus on making women feel proud of the way they look.

However, there was an instance when they posted an ad on Facebook and received a lot of backlashes.


The ad showed a black woman transformed into a white woman after using their Dove body lotion. Not only was this inconsistent with the brand image they have been promoting, but it is also insulting to a large part of their audience. As a result, they received backlash from women of all races.

Dove removed the post from Facebook and released an apology. However, it definitely cast a bad light on their brand image, and perhaps people will think twice about believing their brand messaging from then on.


3.4 Walmart – an unsuitable recommendation for incoming freshman


Walmart has always put in lots of effort in their Facebook marketing, with regular updates posted. To date, they have almost 33 million followers on their Facebook page, which is undeniable success on a social media platform. This is largely attributed to its successful campaigns and partnership with Facebook over the years.

However, there were also instances where Walmart’s marketing campaign on Facebook failed. One of them would be the campaign they carried out in 2007, targeting incoming freshmen with fear of not being properly prepared for dorm life, with the objective to attract incoming freshmen to their stores.


Marketing Strategy:

  • Promoting style in dorm life


  • The campaign failed
  • Vicious wall posts slamming their corporate practices were posted


In recent years, a campaign conducted by Walmart also failed to garner significant traction. Some reasons for this include Walmart closely moderating feedback and suggestions, as well as their presenting style recommendations, which did not suit their core model.

Both this campaign and the one in 2007, Walmart strayed from leveraging on the value they bring – deep reductions. Instead, they were marketing vogue and style, which not only deviated from their value but was also not in line with the customers’ demands. As such, these campaigns saw low numbers in engagement, and more importantly, reflected badly on Walmart.

4. Marketing with Facebook: Would it work?


At this point, knowing the ways of marketing with Facebook and having seen examples of companies using Facebook, boils down to one question: Will it work for your business?


A worry in this aspect is definitely understandable, especially since capital may have to be invested. However, as seen in the examples, be it a small or big company, a well-designed campaign will generate good results, and the opposite would lead to an unsuccessful campaign.


For running campaigns or even just regular posts and updates, the key is to remember that everything should reflect your business, encourage interaction, and meet the customers’ needs.


Scrutinizing it through the critical lens is also important to ensure that the content does not offend viewers, and is consistent with your brand messaging. It is only then that your Facebook marketing will be a success and be able to help your business grow.


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