10 easy steps to help your business flourish on Facebook
Whether your business is new to Facebook marketing or just in need of a refresh, columnist Will Scott's Facebook tips will help you build a vibrant and engaged Facebook presence.
If your business isn’t making itself visible on Facebook, then you’re missing out on one of the most cost-effective places to meet new customers. Everyone is aware of the popularity of Facebook, but not as many people appreciate the opportunities available to businesses that develop a social media presence. With social media, you have unprecedented control over your brand image, and you can put your message in front of the users who are most likely to be interested.
Use these simple tips to take advantage of the internet’s most popular social media platform.
1. Flesh out your Facebook page
Even if you already have an engaging and user-friendly website, take some time to completely fill out a Facebook page for your business. Include pictures of your storefront and staff, to make your business trustworthy and relatable.
Your Facebook presence gives you a foot in the door with social media users who are looking to learn more without leaving their social media app. Be sure to include contact information, hours of operation and a link to your website.
2. Schedule frequent and consistent posts
Once you have pictures and information about your business, an active page should also have relatively frequent posts. Try to post original content at least once a week, but prioritize quality over quantity. Posting several times a day might annoy your fans, causing them to unlike or unfollow your page.
When you post blog updates or other business announcements, Facebook posts allow you to amplify that message to a wider audience. Direct social media users to visit your blog or special offers page.
3. Learn about your customers
Once your page has attracted some attention, the Audience Insight tools gather quantitative information about the people who like and visit your page. Learn more about their demographics, and use that information to reach out to new groups. If your page is attracting more middle-aged women than expected, for example, then you may want to include posts that are particularly relevant for those potential customers. You can also make a point of reaching out to customers in other age groups to explore untapped markets.
4. Pay attention to — and encourage — reactions and comments
Pay attention to the posts that get reactions and comments. Comments generally indicate a higher level of engagement because it takes more time to type a response than to simply hit “Like,” though the variety of new reactions provide more information than the older “likes.” Depending on your target audience, you may want to elicit a wide range of reactions to make your brand more relatable.
Be careful about responding to negative comments, but invite dissatisfied customers to call or email directly. When your business does engage, interaction should be succinct and professional.
5. Post content that gets shared
Even for a business page, social media can feel like a popularity contest. When more users share your post, your message goes a lot farther, hopefully generating leads for your business.
Of course, not all popular content will be appropriate for your brand. Be especially careful of posts and links that could have political implications or alienate potential customers. It’s best to avoid controversial subject matter and stick to your area of expertise.
6. Stay engaged
If your business replies quickly to messages on Facebook, then others will be able to see that your page is active and responsive. Make sure your posts are relevant to your target audience in order to get a response, and try to focus on things that readers will genuinely find useful or newsworthy. Present yourself as a resource for timely and interesting industry news. Consider engaging with your employees through their social media pages, too.
7. Connect with the community
Stay relevant by posting information about local festivals and other regional news. If your business is connected with charitable organizations, then social media gives you an opportunity to highlight that connection. Post photos of your employees when they volunteer with local non-profits, and show the community how your brand has a positive impact.
As a bonus, when you have an active Facebook page, other businesses and profiles can link their posts and thank-you announcements to your page.
8. Post and share events
Create Facebook events for your next big sale. When events are happening in the community, you can draw attention to those as well. Many businesses fail to leverage events as opportunities to promote their social media page. Given the number of people on Facebook, creating an event page can also increase the turnout for your real-world event. Facebook events make it easy for users to invite friends and see how many people plan to attend.
9. Pay for advertising
Once you collect a few hundred fans on Facebook, you’ll notice that your posts don’t seem to get as many views as they should. Your posts don’t necessarily get 50 times more exposure when your page has 50 times more followers. This gives new pages and startups an advantage when they first develop a following, but larger business can still have a big impact on Facebook.
Paying for advertising allows you to target people with interests relevant to your industry. You can also target specific demographics and areas to maximize your advertising dollar.
10. Build social media into your SEO budget
Like updating your website for search engine optimization, social media is a long-term project for your business. You may not have anyone experienced or qualified to manage your social media presence, and few businesses can afford to hire a new employee for this highly specialized job. Many managers have a hard enough time keeping employees off of their personal Facebook pages. Creating engaging content takes time, and the simplest option is often bundling social media maintenance with other SEO services.
Maintaining an online presence is sometimes viewed as a necessary cost of doing business in today’s economy. In the case of social media pages, however, that online presence is a huge opportunity to be more engaged with customers and the broader community.
With users who check Facebook multiple times a day, your branding messages will be visible to customers who may not be exposed to traditional advertising in newspapers, television and radio. Whether you have a law firm or medical practice on social media, Facebook allows you to promote your brand with an audience that’s as broad or specific as needed.