Maybe you are one of those people that wake up and check Facebook (50% of 18-24 year olds do this! ) or maybe you are one of those people who have recently turned away from the social media giant for personal reasons. Whatever your personal affinity for Facebook, as a small business owner or marketing manager, Facebook is not something you can ignore. With more than 2 billion monthly active users and more than 1.5 billion people signing on DAILY, it's the big Kahuna.
Having a Facebook page is a key element of any SEO strategy, it also gives people participating in group discussions and "referrals" on Facebook a way to recommend you and it's one of the first places most people check to research a company, local service provider or product.
The average person accesses Facebook 8x a day! And 75% of users are on a mobile device.
So what do you need to do? Two things.
First, make sure your business page is optimized. Second, engage in the right level and type of activity for your business.
How do you do this? Let's start with page set-up.
Optimize your Facebook Page
There's actually a lot involved in getting your Facebook business page set-up properly. You want to make sure you use the right template, take advantage of all the functionality Facebook offers, apply beautifully branded images and create compelling SEO-rich content.
Here are some of the highlights.
1. Complete Profile Info
This seems like a no-brainer but it's amazing how many businesses fall short of completing their profile. Include your address, website, phone #, hours, email address, a brief description of your company, any awards or affiliations you hold and your founding date!
2. Add a Call to Action Button
Take advantage of the opportunity to add a call to action button on your page, whether it drives traffic to your website, captures new email subscribers or encourages visitors to message you.
3. Set up Auto-Reply for Messages
Speaking about messages, Facebook rewards you for being responsive and penalizes you if you take too long to reply. Positively impact your response rates and maybe even answer some commonly asked questions or get people to your website by setting up automatic replies.
4. Solicit and Reply to Reviews
Satisfied and unsatisfied customers are apt to leave reviews and share their experiences with others. And, in today's digital world, statistics show that more than 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations! So, ask your happy clients for reviews and make sure you thank everyone and acknowledge their feedback, good or bad!
5. Choose and Adjust Your Template
Facebook offers several different types of templates such as business, non-profits, venues, shopping and services. Each template offers a unique set of tabs in a different order. Once you select the template that makes the most sense for your business or organization you can customize the tabs you use and change their order.
6. Make Use of Video
You can upload videos directly to Facebook and share them with commentary as a post. Users can find them in their news feed but also on the Video tab of your page. Live video is HUGE and another thing to keep in mind is that 85% of all the video on Facebook is viewed without any sound.
7. Include Your Products or Services
Assuming you chose a template that includes a product or services or shopping tab you have a a great opportunity to talk about your offerings and give your fans something to share! Don't miss that opportunity! Add your products and services and do so in a complete fashion with great photos and concise copy that includes your target keywords if applicable and articulates your value proposition and benefits. Everything you say on Facebook and everything you offer should be aligned with your website to further instill trust and confidence.
8. Pay Attention to Image Sizes
I can't tell you how many times we check out a company or organization Facebook page to find an image full of messy text, illegible logos, pixellated photos or outdated branding. Or, someone's done something really creative and beautiful, but when viewed on mobile half of the slogan is cut-off or the picture of their product is cropped out of the cover. Make sure you know the current size requirements and test to make sure everything appears the way you would expect in mobile!
9. Complete Your Story
Facebook provides you with an opportunity to tell your story. Take advantage of that space! You'll find it on the right side of your page. Add a photo and talk about who you are and what you do, bonus points if you can tell the audience WHY you do it.
10. Post Jobs
This is a recent addition to Facebook pages and a great one! You can list your current jobs and provide potential hires with the opportunity to engage with you through Facebook messenger. Great way to gain another source of talent and raise the visibility and awareness of your business.
Engage in the Right Activity
Remember, the real secret to being successful on Facebook is understanding your target audience and providing them with content they like. There's no shortcut around that. If you don't have anything valuable to share, you're better off waiting until you do. Once you have figured out who your audience is and what they want to hear, bear in mind the following:
1. Keep posts short and specific
Think snippet or headline. Get straight to the point with your posts and always include a related image or video and ideally a link to more info. People are skimming. You have less than a second to capture their attention.
2. Recognize, Respond, Engage and Tag
Once you've got your users attention, recognize their interaction. If they comment, reply! If they share, thank them for sharing! If you're posting about someone else or recognizing someone or including them in an image, tag them. You get the idea.
3. Post Frequently and Consistently
Let people know your business organization is alive and well. Establish a rhythm to your posts and keep it up. How often you post really has more to do with how much you have to say that is of value than anything else. Don't post just to post. Make sure what you post will be of interest to your followers or they will check out, or worse, un-follow you!
4. Invite Users to Like Your Page
If someone takes the time to react to your post with a like, love, or even better, a comment, and they aren't already a follower be sure to invite them to follow you. The only people who will ever see your posts are people that follow you, their friends, or people who stumble upon your post during a Facebook search.
5. Include Quality Images
Use quality images on Facebook. Don't steal them from others. And if you can, brand them or make them your own. Make them uniquely yours by adding your logo, creating a post template with a tool like Canva or applying a consistent color palette, design treatment and fonts. Visual consistency goes a LONG way in a busy social media feed full of a huge variety of images, fonts and video.
6. Go live! Or at Least Post Videos
Facebook Live! is a great way to showcase your work, events or share ideas and thoughts. Alternatively, you can use pre-recorded video too. Videos gets far more attention across the board than static content and can be created in so many different ways, not all of them require professional help either. Your viewers will appreciate an authentic self-made video, just keep it in line with the rest of your branding. If you are a lawyer with a conservative logo, headshot in a suit and a website full of boardroom photos, don't post a video of yourself giving helpful hints in your 20 year old college sweatshirt.
7. Always Use a Friendly URL
Use a tool like Bitly to create a shorter easier to follow and "friendlier" URL. Create a tracking URL in Google Analytics to track results from specific posts and consider customizing your short URL when you can. Bitly allows you to customize URLS after you set up a free account.
8. Create Events
Events are a fabulous tool in Facebook. Interested users can RSVP and share events. You can "boost" or promote events and users receive reminders of upcoming events. Their friends are also notified about their activity and you can post things just to event attendees. Plus you can link right to ticket-selling URLS if they are paid events or events requiring registration. There are lots of unique benefits and nuances to Facebook events, these are just a few.
9. Establish a Group
If your business or organization supports a distinct demographic, geography or appeals to people with a unique interest, skill set or life experience, you can set up a group to interact with them. Groups can be public or private, and carry their own guidelines for membership. You can allow people to post directly to the membership, or screen posts first. There are even ways to monetize groups. Lots of options and opportunities here!
10. Balance Your Content
Keep in mind that your Facebook Page is just like any other media or "news" channel. You want to keep your content relevant and fresh and varied. If all your posts are sales and marketing messages that are "pushing" your business, products or services, eventually your audience is going to tune out. Make sure you include some relationship building content, thought leadership, value added "actionable" content, funny content, curated (other people's) content and even user generated material.
The Bottom Line
It can be tempting to just throw up a Facebook page and start posting. Don't do it!
Take your time. I don't mean months or even weeks but take the time you need to be thoughtful about what you are doing and confident you can commit to doing it right.
The most important thing to think about, just like with any marketing activity, is your target audience. Who is going to follow you? What do they care about? What kind of information do they need or want? How can your posts be of value or interest to them?
Once you've got that sorted, take the time to follow the basic rules and hints and tips outlined here and you'll be off to a great start!
This article doesn't cover everything you need to know and Facebook, along with every other social media network, is constantly evolving. To stay up to date and learn how to make the most of other networks like Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, attend our Social Media Workshop in Northern New Jersey or we can deliver it to you privately. Alternatively, just get in touch, We're happy to have a chat about what you're doing and share some of our observations and expertise and of course, tell you how we can help.