Facebook needs no special introduction. As a social network, it is the most powerful platform for personal and professional use in the world, growing steadily for over a decade. More precisely, since 2004 when it was introduced as an online community intended for student socializing, Facebook grew into an enterprise worth several billion dollars. Just in September this year, Facebook counted 2.27 billion monthly active users, with 1.49 billion people and businesses using the platform daily. Some may say that Facebook is losing its younger generation of users to Instagram and Twitter, but the fact remains that Facebook is still the social network that attracts the most attention and if used right, it can help you grow your business and expand your audience and customer base, ultimately converting clicks and likes into profit. In order to give you a brief overview of the business side of Facebook, here are the basic features you need to know to master this useful marketing tool.
You don’t have a Facebook Business page?! Reasons you need one.
Using Facebook as a platform for your business is not the same as using Facebook for your personal needs, and that is why it is imperative to separate the two. Keeping your private conversations on a separate account can be invaluable, especially if at one point your company expands and you need to give access to your business account to someone else in your company.
If you are a product or service based business, you will probably receive a lot of messages and requests from your current and potential customers. Getting a separate account will allow you to take a step back, instead of being overwhelmed by all the requests coming to your inbox and your private conversations getting drowned by the noise. Once you create a Facebook page for your business, you can connect your personal profile with it with one simple click, thus adding a face to your company and giving your business page more legitimacy, but still setting boundaries between your private and professional life.
Getting a Facebook business page for your company allows you to have more control over your content. As a platform, Facebook helps you communicate more effectively with your audience, answer all the questions your potential customers might have or even ask some yourself, share new ideas and present your products and services to a vast online community. It also gives you important insight about the success of your content, as well as access to Facebook advertising which you can use to target specific groups of people with your content, all in the attempt to convert your Facebook activity into sales and meaningful engagement with your brand. If you plan to launch your company’s website in the near future, or you already have one, we strongly suggest not to wait with creating a Facebook page for your business because it can serve as a great marketing tool, putting you on the map in your local community, both online and offline.
Once you have created a Facebook page, make a point of adding all the relevant information to the page such as your location, a valid contact number, a description of your core business and a brief introduction to your company. Finally, add a link to your official website because, in the end, your main goal is to attract new customers to your business and to convert clicks and likes into sales. Take some time to complete your information, and select quality photographs for your profile and cover photo because they also represent your company. Be consistent with your design and use the same or only slightly different visuals in order to connect your social networks with your core internet platform – your website. Customize as much of your Facebook page as you can because that will help you stand out from the crowd. Add a call to action to your page – decide what is most important to you at the moment. Is it getting new subscribers, converting your followers into customers or just starting a conversation? Whichever option you choose, make the appropriate adjustments so that your page reflects your main goal.
Creating Content That Attracts Attention
Once your page is set and looking great, it’s time to create some content that will attract new followers. There are several types of posts you can utilize to grow your audience and get your Facebook page up and running with enough content to explore. Experiment with your posts and track the reactions of your audience but be consistent with putting out new and fresh content. Create a content release schedule and post regularly to establish a routine for your followers. If you don’t get a lot of traction with your posts at first, do not worry. Ask for some help from your family members, friends, and colleagues because they can comment and share your content to get the ball rolling without investing a lot of effort. Here is some useful content you can share with your audience!
Posts With Images
We are all familiar with that good old “a picture is worth a thousand words” phrase and considering we live in an increasingly visual world, it means that businesses that want to succeed in this oversaturated market need to put out their best content. If you want your posts to help bring in new customers, you need to attract their attention first, which can be done with appropriate high-quality photography.
If you do not have the time or the equipment to create fantastic visuals, hire a professional photographer to take great photographs of you, your establishment and the products you sell. If your business is more service-based, research the market for a stock photography service that can provide you with the imagery you need. There are great free options online you can use if you are on a tight budget.
Links To Your Blog
If your primary platform is a blog or you publish blog posts on your official website, share your posts on Facebook to get more people to visit your site. Instead of merely announcing you have published new content, give a short summary of the topic you wrote about, ask your followers a question about a specific problem, and offer them part of the solution already on Facebook, with a link leading them to the rest of your article, and more detailed information.
This is important because most Facebook users are reluctant to leave Facebook and usually just continue scrolling through their news feeds unless they are compelled by a good visual, catchy post title or an interesting Facebook status to stop and explore. Make sure that you have something to offer because if you provide valuable insights, advice, and tips, your followers will be more likely to spend time exploring your official website after they finish reading your post and even subscribe to your newsletter.
Videos That Matter
Social networks and various media outlets have seen a rapid increase in popularity of video content in the last couple of years, with experts predicting that videos will become the most prominent content on both personal and business accounts in the immediate future. The same principle of creating your photography applies to video because the overall quality of Facebook content is increasing so to stay on the top of your game, you need to pay attention to the aesthetics of your video content as well.
The videos you post do not need to be long in duration, but they do need to be interesting. You could use video to provide answers to the most common questions from your customers or clients, showcase new products, show behind the scenes footage and your office, introduce your staff to the public, talk about things that are relevant to your business and add exciting and engaging content to your page.
Broadcast Live To Connect
If your company organizes events or your employees often participate in conferences as speakers or even just attendees, record live Facebook broadcasts to give your audience a glimpse into your professional world. If you constantly get asked the same questions, organize a live broadcast on a certain topic and give your supporters an opportunity to engage with you by posting comments and reacting to your answers in real time.
If you are collaborating with someone, do a live Q&A with that person to introduce them to your audience. This is also a good way to make your company more relatable. Create a schedule for broadcasting and be consistent because everyone loves a routine. Similarly to blogging, posting content to Facebook also creates a sense of familiarity and helps you create a community that knows what to expect from you and trusts you.
Sharing (Content) Is Caring
It is important to remember, despite the noise on our news feeds, Facebook is, in fact, a community. Therefore, sharing quality content is a “must” on social media because it helps give interesting ideas and funny or relatable posts a boost. Helping others reach the same goals you have will help add value to your own business and establish you as a professional and an expert in your field.
Stay focused and share only the content that aligns well with your own principles. Give your honest opinion about the topics discussed, add to the conversation and do it in a positive, respectful and constructive way. There is no need to give negative feedback on someone else’s work just to help your cause. Be kind and if you do not like something, simply do not share it.
Comment And Reply
Another way to expand your reach and attract more followers is to support the community within your niche. Find Facebook pages of individuals and businesses you admire, take some time to engage into conversations on their respective pages, join discussions, offer valuable insight, and help solve problems by giving access to some of your content for free.
When your followers reach out to you, make an effort and reply as soon as possible, helping them with their dilemmas and solving potential problems. If someone replies to your post, adds a comment or publicly asks a challenging question, make sure you reply in an honest and respectful manner, avoiding unnecessary altercations. Show gratitude for compliments and appreciation for criticism.
Your page allows you to promote the content you find most relevant to your business for a certain financial compensation. Depending on the type, you can promote your posts for smaller or larger amounts of money, targeting specific audiences. This is where you can use the distinct characteristics of your ideal avatar to your advantage because Facebook allows you to narrow down your target audience for your advertising efforts on numerous parameters, such as the geographical location, age, gender, interests, etc.
Facebook insights are useful here because carefully analyzing them can give you a good idea about when you should use sponsored posts to reach your potential customers or clients, and who they are in the first place. Pay attention to the duration of your ad campaigns because the expenses can rack up rather quickly. Target specific periods of the day for specific audiences to get the most for your penny.
Insights are invaluable when it comes to deciding when to post content on your Facebook page, what kind of content and to whom. Insights can also save you a lot of money because they help you schedule your ad campaigns in just the perfect times, instead of wasting your money on randomly chosen times, posts and target audiences.
One of the primary metrics you can track is the reach. Divided into organic, paid and combined, reach signifies the number of people who have seen your post, either spontaneously or through a paid advertisement, or both. The difference between the organic and the paid reach can tell you if your advertising strategy made an impact or not, making it easier for you to decide which approach to use in the future.
Two other vital metrics you should also be familiar with are the post engagement and post clicks. Users that engage with your content by reacting to it (clicking on different icons to like, love, laugh, etc.), sharing it or commenting on it, help your content reach people that do not necessarily follow your activity. Their engagement helps increase your reach organically.
Post clicks include all other actions that are not liking, sharing and commenting – this can be anything from playing a video, clicking on “read more” to see the entire post or following a link found anywhere in the post, even in the comments section. Have in mind that this is a vague metric because you cannot tell if the user clicked on something of value to you, but it’s worth understanding how it works.
The Power Of Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are becoming a new driving force of Facebook growth and are a perfect gateway to your ideal customer. We are all social beings, always looking for a group of people with similar interests to join and enjoy. That is why Facebook has so many new groups forming every day, dedicated to specific interests, causes, topics, and hobbies. As a business owner, you can harness this powerful tool by actively engaging with communities that represent your target audience.
Remember, this is not a purely exploitative relation but rather a practice of give-and-take. The goal is to get to know your customer avatar better and build relationships with people you would like to cater to with your services and products. Be a part of the conversation, add relevant and insightful comments, solve problems and answer questions by redirecting the members to your content tackling the very issue being discussed. Facebook groups often host introductions where members are allowed to present their respective businesses, so use this to your advantage. Ask the members for their opinions about new projects you are working on, and help them out with your own expertise. Read the community guidelines and follow them carefully to fully enjoy the benefits of being a part of a support system of like-minded individuals and professionals.
Using social media, and especially Facebook as a great marketing tool has been beneficial to businesses all over the world, serving as a way to connect brands with their loyal fans and customers and build supportive communities focused on sharing ideas and solving problems. There is no reason why you should not use this powerful online force to your advantage!
Facebook is an excellent platform you can utilize to promote your hard work, get to know your target audience, brainstorm ideas for new products and services and show the world all the great work you do. Take your time and create your page with care because it can empower your brand and help you grow your business entirely for free, with some conscious effort and just a bit of planning. Good luck!
If you found this post insightful and missed our first post in these series, you might want to read Pinterest 101 for small businesses.