Facebook is one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful) marketing platform in the world, and it is SO underrated and underused. Although it does have a complicated algorithm that is constantly changing, it just means you have to post the content that your audience wants to see. Although it is pretty difficult to get a decent amount of reach (how many people see your posts) organically, with targeted adverts you can increase your reach for an affordable amount.
In this blog post, I’m going to guide you on how to use Facebook effectively for your small business.
Create A Great Cover Photo
The timeline photo on your Facebook page is the main image (apart from your profile picture) that people see when they go onto your page or see a link to it. Your cover photo can speak a thousand words and more, you just have to be a little creative. Your timeline cover photo is one of the main images people see when they see a link to your page or click on it. A cover photo is a great way to show the world who you are and what your business is about. Try to use all the space and clearly SHOW your audience what you do, although writing is allowed. Try to showcase your latest offers or upcoming events.
Use an image to show your audience what it is you do or what is coming up with your business. It can be a great way to advertise sales too. Use the space to clearly show your message. If you are creating a graphic for your timeline photo, use your brand colours.
Cover photos also have the option of a caption, which can include a link. Put a short and snappy message with a call to action relevant to the photo. Include a link to further content on the topic or an opt-in page to collect email addresses. Email addresses are much more valuable than Facebook likes, though that is for another blog!
I recommend Canva to create your cover photo. It is free, simple to use plus it’s got templates for all Social Media images.
Create Amazing Content
Being heard on Facebook can be hard, especially when you are starting out. To build an engaged audience, you need to research what content your target audience wants to consume and what they expect of your brand.
If you are blogging, and you really should be, create some unique graphics to help drive traffic to your own website. This is great if you don’t have eye-catching featured images, on Facebook you can upload a photo for the link preview. If you don’t have much of your own content, source some from your peers. Find content that other people have created and share it on your Page, making sure the tag them in the post where possible.
Short videos are great for going viral (circulated rapidly around the internet) as they are easily consumable. Create videos that are relevant to your business, ie a video blog, funny behind the scenes videos, event coverage… the list is endless. Find out what matches your brand personality and go with the flow.
Avoid posting the same status updates with the exact same copy as this will make it look like you’re spamming your audience. Change the images and the wording of the post, but you can keep the link preview the same. Highlight different aspects of an article, but make sure you only post the same content ONCE every 1-2 weeks.
Stop Trying To Sell
You should never ever focus your page on just selling your products, but providing value to your audience. Whether this value is in entertainment or information, it should be relevant for your audience. Ask your friends and family to share content that they like and encourage your employees to do the same too. This can massively increase the reach, especially for local businesses.
64% of consumers said they’re likely to stop using social media if they’re bombarded with advertisements, and I totally agree with those 64%. Your content should not be coming across as sales-y and as an advert, your audience will become “numb” to it. While I’m not saying don’t advertise your products, I am saying that you should provide enough value to earn that sales pitch. To find out more about providing value and then going in for the right hook (the ask), Gary Vaynerchuk has a fantastic book here. You must become less intrusive.
This leads me on to – don’t piss your audience off. Stop using clickbait (spammy headlines to get people to click). Clickbait is dead. Clickbait is tacky and unprofessional. Although it can increase click through rate, consumers are becoming more aware and will put you down as spammy. If your website link preview on Facebook doesn’t have a great headline, when posting from a Page you can edit the text.
Engage With Your Audience
Facebook gives you a chance to connect with your audience in ways that were unheard of before Social Media. Speak to your audience on Facebook, even evoke a reaction. The more engagement you receive on your posts, the more people will see your content and your organic reach will increase. Try asking questions in a “pop quiz” style, host caption-this competitions or just start a conversation. There is a reason it is called SOCIAL media, it’s for conversations and not for you to talk AT your customers.
By treating your potential customers like humans and not prospects will make it more likely for them to reply, plus adding a human side to your brand also makes it more personal. When your customers comment a question on your post, 90% expect a reply and 32% of those within an hour. Don’t abandon your Facebook page for hours, or at least keep your notifications on. The quicker you reply, the less chance there is that they have found the answer (or a product!) elsewhere.
Never ever ever copy and paste answers to your audience, personalise each and every single one. Make them feel important! What is an extra 20 seconds?
Use Facebook Groups
When you start a page on Facebook, it can be easier to build your audience by posting in relevant groups. There are thousands of groups for pretty much every niche on Facebook, from baking fanatics (shoutout to #BakersHour!) to web development chat. All you need to do is find where your potential customers are spending their time and provide value to them in the Facebook group. Instead of this being from your brand, this is from you so people can connect with you on a much more personal level.
Answer peoples questions and join in conversations while getting to know people, it’s like networking events but you can be in your pyjamas on your sofa! There are thousands of groups out there, take your time finding the ones that are active with engaging members.
I have found that by posting a short summary of a blog post and posting that and the link into groups can often have a higher CTR (Click Through Rate) than my posts on my business page.
Tip: Always read the group rules before posting into the group. If you don’t follow the rules you risk being blocked, reported for spam and banned from the group – sometimes this can escalate to being banned from posting for a time.
Facebook Paid Advertising
I love the fact that you can use Facebook and other Social Media platforms for free, but Facebook is definitely something I do encourage you to spend your money on. When you deliver targeted ad campaigns, you can get crazy conversion rates for as little as £1 a day – great for businesses on a tight budget. However, when it’s done incorrectly, it can be like you are throwing money into a pit. You will not see a good return if you just “Boost” a post and don’t specify the audience. Target it as much as you can.
I have run a few tests on the various pages I run on Facebook, and I always try this on a low budget. I promoted a post for just £3 to just the people who like my page and their friends, and people began to engage with my content. For a while after that, as people had previously interacted on the paid post, organic reach was also increased on future posts. I recommend doing this with blog posts that are popular on your website (check your analytics to find your most popular content), and with posts with high engagement previously. The latter will encourage others to interact with the content, nobody wants to comment first!
Facebook advertising can require a lot of testing, what works for one audience may not work for another. You must test to see what works best for your company. If you are not seeing a return from your advertising even after testing, quit while you’re ahead and ask an expert.
Learn your audience by using Facebook’s audience insights. This can give you a much deeper understanding of your audience personas and can tell you what they engage with, what time they are using Facebook, their education, income, location, age and more!
In your Facebook Insights tab on your Page, you can save your competitors Facebook page an easily compare performance. You can see your competitors likes, engagement and how many posts for that week and easily see if you are keeping up with the competition. If they are doing much better than you, see what they’ve been up to and what works then adapt it into your strategy.
Tip: Once you hit 1000 likes, consider just running ads to your current audience for a while, this will build your relationship with them and will drastically reduce cost.
Make Use Of The Facebook Pixel
If you don’t implement the Pixel, you are limiting the power of Facebook Advertising hugely.
Tip: Consider offering a lead-magnet in your retargeting adverts to collect your audiences email address, this way they’re not just a visitor but a lead.
To be successful on Facebook you really need to connect with your audience and build relationships with them. Make sure you don’t push your products into people faces and bombard them with advertising as this will make them lose respect for you quickly. Providing value can make such a difference to your marketing ROI and you can build your company AND personal brand along with it.
For more Social Media Tips, Tricks & Guides, find me on Facebook and Twitter.