The Beginners Guide to Facebook for Small Businesses

facebook

Facebook is the latest social media platform in my series of ‘beginners guides.’ You can find the other ones in the series here – Pinterest, Blogging and Twitter


Facebook
Facebook is the largest and most active social network, with over one billion active users sharing more than more than 2.5 billion pieces of content per day. Businesses have utilised the benefits of Facebook, recognising that it’s easy-to-use interface and extensive potential for user engagement makes it a fundamental tool in the marketing efforts of businesses. Perhaps the greatest feature of Facebook is the ability for your followers to share your content with their friends at the click of a button and is what cements Facebook as a successful word-of-mouth platform that can help your message reach an entirely new audience of prospective customers.

What’s Good About Facebook?

  • The user base is extensive and that means many of your customers and competitors may already be there
  • It is compatible with any type of multimedia content meaning you can post videos, photos, and links to external content
  • You can separate your personal and professional use

What’s not so Good About Facebook?

  • You have limited ability to customise your Page
  • It can be difficult to get your content seen by fans
  • It’s a closed environment, although anyone can find your page, only Facebook users can ‘Like’ your business to receive your updates
  • Facebook and it’s updates are moving closer to being a pay-only marketing platform

Which Businesses Should be on Facebook?
The sheer scale of Facebook’s audience and its position as one of the most powerful social networks make is a must consider for any business.


Need to Know Facts, Stats and Tips about Facebook

  • 56 % of UK consumers use Facebook, the 18-24 demographic is the most popular with 91% active on the platform (Kantar, July 2013)
  • 757 million people log onto Facebook daily (DAU), which represents a 22% increase compared to December 2012 (Facebook, 1/31/14)
  • 24m Britons log on to Facebook each day (Facebook, August 2013)
  • The largest demographic on Facebook is 25-34 year olds, with just under 26% of all users falling into this age bracket (Facebook, 2014)
  • The ideal length of a Facebook post is less than 40 characters (Jeff Bullas, 2014)
  • The Ideal size of an image for your cover photo is 851 x 315 pixels. For your profile photo it’s 180 x 180 pixels. A Tab is 111 x 74 pixels. A Link image is 1200 x 627 pixels and finally, a shared image is 1200 x 1200 pixels.
  • The ideal Facebook posting schedule is a minimum of 3X per week and a maximum of 10X per week (Constant Contact, 2014)

Why You Need Facebook for Your Business

Connect With Customers and Strengthen Relationships
You will be able to connect with your customers because it is likely that they themselves are using Facebook. When a user likes your page or comments on a post they are showing that they want a relationship with your business. This gives you an invaluable opportunity to listen to and find out about your customers, demonstrate your customer service skills, share your valuable and informative news and information, offer incentives and exclusive rewards for loyal Facebook customers. You can also use it as a channel for gaining feedback from your customers on how you can improve your product, services and your customer service, all of which can greatly help your business in the future.

Raise Awareness Through “Likes”
The Facebook ‘Like’ button can be seen everywhere from packaging to TV advertisements and has become a fundamental tool in the marketing efforts of businesses. Whenever a user interacts with your page by liking or sharing your content this action could get published to their friends and so forth resulting in excellent exposure for your brand and goes a long way in increasing your brand awareness. Through sharing and promoting great and valuable content that encourages interaction, you are deepening existing customer relationships at the same time as potential creating and attracting new ones, therefore making every post an invaluable opportunity to generate awareness and attention for your business.
It Shows Your Personality
The internet can often be an impersonal place; however having a business Facebook page offers an informal and chatty platform for your opinions, stories, humour and advice that gives you an opportunity to attach a face, name and personality to your brand. Having a Facebook page allows you to foster genuine social connections with your audience and as you share your brand story with others and enjoy interaction and conversation it allows others to see the human side of your business helping you create richer, more human relationships.

You Can Build a Community on Your Page
Facebook pages can work as excellent hubs for creating a community of customers, prospects and other businesses. As you continually post consistent, valuable and informative content you will be rewarded with a rich and very beneficial experience with your community in that they will share reviews, opinions, raise queries and offer feedback all of which can greatly help your business in the future. By encouraging engagement in this way you help your business build a reputation based on loyal followers making your page and brand more attractive to others who will be likely drawn to your page.


Checklist for Developing a Clear and Effective Facebook Strategy

Determine Your Facebook Business Objectives
One of the first things you must do is determine what you want your Facebook Page to achieve for your business. Whether you want to use it to drive more traffic to your website, promote your events or use it as an outlet to build your brand by engaging your community, having clear objectives for your page helps optimise its reach and impact and is crucial as you later come to measure your success. So ensure you have clearly defined objectives that are realistic and achievable for your business.

Common Facebook Marketing Objectives

  • Increase Brand Exposure and Awareness
  • Create a Loyal and Engaged Community
  • Generate Leads
  • Generate Sales

Define Your Target Audience, Are They Using Facebook?
In addition to determining your objectives, having a clear idea of your target readers and if they are themselves using Facebook is key. If you do find your target audience is active on Facebook then you can tailor your posts effectively around content that maximises interest and engagement from your readers. It is also important to consider how your demographic behaves on social media whether they are people who actively comment or can be described as lurkers, as posts can then be tailored accordingly in order to maximise your potential for impact and engagement.

Do Your Research
Conducting research before you start using Facebook for business is fundamental to a successful presence. Your Facebook research should include these several key areas;

  • Identify your Target Audience – You will need to know important factors such as where they spend their time online, how they like to digest content and other general demographics.
  • Research your Competition – Find out what is and isn’t working for your competition on Facebook, find out what they do well and what they don’t and then apply it to your own strategy.
  • Understand the Latest Techniques – Make sure you are aware of the latest updates, tends and techniques on Facebook so that you can keep your page up to date, competitive and effective.
  • Case Studies – Compile examples of businesses that are similar to you and have thriving Facebook pages, look at what they do well, what their audience responds well to and other important factors that you can apply to your own efforts.
  • Facebook’s Future News, Updates and Projections – Ensure you track Facebook’s trends and updates as they regularly change so you need to keep your business up to date and effective.

Who is Going to Manage Your Page?
Whether you yourself are going to maintain your page or you are considering hiring an external consultant or agency, you need to clearly establish the person who will be running your page and ensure that they are equipped with the right knowledge and experience to know how to effectively maintain and run a page that is representative of your business and will become a valuable asset to your marketing efforts.

How are you Going to Promote Your Page?
You need to consider how you are going to promote your page and build awareness of it which involves you having to utilise all your relevant assets that you have available. Everything from your website, e- newsletter, corporate literature, blog, word of mouth to signage and business cards present an opportunity for you to advertise and promote your page. So be clear on what tools and assets you are going to use to help successfully drive traffic to your page.

Have you Got a Clear Content Strategy? How Often Will you Post?
Deciding on what major content categories you want to include regularly helps you to stay focused and maintains a clear direction for your posts to go in order to ensure your content is in line with your business goals and is targeting reader’s needs. Part of this process is to also determine how often you will post on your page as having a clear schedule of when you will be posting is paramount in order to ensure it is in line with your wider social media strategy. Creating content that people will interact with takes some thought and scheduling. Your first priority should always be to create content that your audience is interested in so look to experiment to find out the most effective content strategy and share a variety of different types of posts, at different times during the day and in different quantities. Through this initial experimentation you will find out valuable information that will guide your future strategy from what content resonates best with your audience, to the times they are most active on Facebook.

What is the Corporate Character of Your Page?

Defining the corporate character of your page has a crucial part to play in how successful your Facebook strategy will be as it is here that you will outline and determine how you are going to present yourself to your audience. This consideration involves establishing a clear vision of every aspect of your page from what your brand values are and how you will get them across, what tone of voice you will present, how you will apply your branding to the creative aspects of your page right through to the type of messages that you will be sharing.

  • Develop Your Facebook Voice – it is important to have an idea of what voice you want for your page that can be consistently applied across all your posts, especially if your business page is going to be managed by several different contributors. Put simply, avoid generic corporate speak and replace it with your own unique voice and customers will be more drawn to and engage with your page.
  • Outline Creative Elements – Consistency should also be applied to the creative aspects of your Facebook page that is the overall presentation including the colour scheme and typography. By setting consistent guidelines over the presentation and integration of your branding into your page it ensures that all these factors support and are in line with your overall branding and help reinforce your message and brand across all social media platforms.

Posting on Your Wall: What, and How Often?

Now it’s time to start posting, there are several fundamental basics to follow to ensure you create a powerful and engaging post.

With over 25 million Facebook business pages and with users sharing 2.5 billion pieces of content each day, it can be hard to make your page and posts stand out from the crowd. For small businesses without an already established brand this is an even more difficult task to manage. There are however several guidelines available to aid you in what to post, but always remember these four key things;

Never Go For the Direct Sell
When you first start posting it may be tempting to go with the direct sale approach posting information about how wonderful your business is and all of the things you sell or offer. This however is not a successful approach and in most cases will see you viewed as a spammer and will quickly lead to people avoiding your page and not becoming fans. To avoid making this mistake you must strike a balance between subtle business posts and ones centered on customer engagement, with a favourable emphasis on the latter.

Try to Include Some Form of Media Within Your Posts
Not including some form of media content such as a relevant video or picture is a common Facebook mistake and makes posts look uninviting and will not capture a reader’s attention. To avoid making this mistake make sure to post insightful and valuable content that your readers will want to read and looks visually appealing also. Posts with some form of media such as a photo or link always get more clicks so it is vital that you try to include some form of relevant media.

Say Something Interesting and Useful
Write your posts with your target audience in mind so rather than trying to appeal to a generic wider audience, provide content that contains specialised information and analysis that those interested in your services or in your sector would read. By openly giving out advice and information you will become an online repository of specialist knowledge and this will attract the attention of your target audience.
Be Creative
People always respond better to something that is new, fresh and clever so always brainstorm ideas in the mind-set of producing something that is creative and breaks the mould of other generic posts. You are competing in the fast-paced and growing industry of social media marketing so you need to make yourself stand out and give potential customers a compelling reason to choose you over your competitors.


Engagement on Facebook is reflected in four forms: likes, shares, clicks and comments. Here are several ways to create the right type of customer engagement with your posts;

The Photo Post
A picture is one of the simplest ways to catch someone’s attention, as it is more visually appealing than the average post. For ideas you can provide links to photographs of your employees, offices, celebrations, etc. Similarly, posting a photo and asking fans to come up with a caption is a common and successful way of encouraging fan interaction and engagement. When it comes to brands, a familiar image is also key and can be as simple as including your company logo or a face that is tied to your brand.

The Fill in the Blank Post
Fill-in-the-blank posts are great at encouraging engagement. The blanks are essentially platforms for people to share their creativity and often gather fun and short comments, which then encourage your audience to interact.

The Question Post
You will get a lot more out of Facebook if you enable and encourage your customers to respond to what you write. Beyond asking questions with your posts, you also need to remember the conversation is two-way, so respond to the comments readers leave and you are likely to develop a community on your page that can help turn your customers into fans who will promote your products and services and provide you with quality feedback.

The Tips Post
Successful posts often deliver something valuable to the reader, whether that is entertainment or information. A tip is engaging because it gives value to your audience and therefore makes them more likely to interact.

The Promotion/Discount/Incentive Post
By giving discounts or other benefits to your Facebook fans, you give them a reason to follow you and you get a captive audience for other business messaging. Common promotions offer a free gift or service upon receiving a certain number of likes. Facebook however has stringent rules when running a contest, so always consult these rules before you choose to run yours.

The Fun Post
Ensure you show your personality and inject a bit of humour into your page and posts and you will attract attention and show your brand has a personality. Strike a balance between business related posts and fun, humoured ones as you need to remember people come to businesses on Facebook to not only be informed and educated but also to be entertained.

The On-Trend Post
Utilising relevant events/ observances and occurrences that are on trend is a great way to attract attention to your page. Seek out relevant trending topics and find a way for your business to join in with and share content relating to them.

The Quote Post
Quotes are one of the easiest and most popular ways to get likes and shares on Facebook. They tend to get more interaction compared to comments because quotes are often inspirational, making it personal in nature and thus showing a more human side to your brand that people are drawn to and appreciate.

The “Behind the Scenes” Post
Sharing behind-the-scenes content helps your audience to know more about you and also works towards humanising your brand.


Although it takes some experimentation to find the best publishing schedule for you, there are two things that should always be considered and will dictate your posting schedule; your business goals and what your audience wants.

In general, posting 5 + times a week is optimal because it helps maintain good relationships with customers, attract natural search traffic, and avoids customer attrition from posting too often. This however may vary depending on what works best for your company, goals and readers so it is important to experiment to find a posting schedule that works for you. For example, if your goal is to become a cutting edge information resource, you might want to post shorter articles more often or if your main audience is mostly interested in technical or behind-the-scenes details, you’ll probably publish longer articles less often. So the first step to determining your ideal posting frequency is to find the perfect balance of what you want and what your audience wants.

To maximise the benefits of having a Facebook business page you need to ultimately ask yourself, Can you keep this schedule consistently?, Can you always publish high-quality content at this rate? And will you have enough content for this schedule? Once you’ve discovered the best times to post, being consistent with your publishing schedule has the benefit of expanding your reach and encourages readers to come back regularly for more.


How to Create an Effective Facebook Post – Checklist

Every post that you create must be done so with purpose and a clear goal in mind. How successful your post will be depends on two important factors before you even start writing;

  • Have I Built a Relevant Audience?
    One of the fundamental aspects of whether your Facebook posts and indeed presence is successful depends upon having built an audience that is already interested in what you have to say. A relevant and invested audience is key for your success as those fans are the ones you are trying to target with interesting and valuable content as in doing so you help turn those highly targeted users into brand advocates who genuinely care about you, will interact with you and share your content, helping you to grow your fan base. No matter what any person or article says, having 100 genuine and interested fans is far better than 5,000 fans who never interact with you, share your content or show interest in building a relationship.
  • Have I Utilised Facebook Insights So I Know What My Audience Wants and When the Best Time to Post is?
    Understanding your audience and important aspects about them from their demographics, which types of content they engage with most to the times and days they are mostly online is fundamental to an effective and well performing Facebook post. You can easily find out this information through regularly analysing your analytics, so ensure you are actively looking at this data and then apply it to the content you post. In doing so you ensure your posts are going to be as effective as possible as you have directly targeted and addressed the wants and needs of your audience and will know exactly when to post the content for maximum potential for viewers.
  • Have I Included Visuals?
    Posts that contain visuals such as photos and videos get the highest amount of engagement on Facebook, so you need to actively and consistently incorporate visual elements into your posts. Photos and videos are more visible and take up more space on a user’s newsfeed than a simple text based post so look to include high-quality, eye catching and relevant visuals and you will find you encourage your audience to become interactive with your page.
  • Is the Post Shareable?
    Your main goal when posting something onto your Facebook page is to get your fans to act on it through engagement, sharing and participation. It is widely accepted that posts containing photos, videos and links get shared more often than simply texted based posts, but ultimately none of your posts will get shared by your audience unless they are interesting, valuable and engaging which is what makes them sharable. Before you publish your post ask yourself if you would be willing to share it yourself and if you wouldn’t then you need to change it. The key characteristics of sharable posts often have one or more of the following; They are informative, humorous, buck the latest trends/ events, provide a solution to a problem, have an effective and clear call to action or contain an inspirational quote or bit of advice that fans can’t help but like and share.
  • Is the Post The Right Length?
    Facebook offers you a larger area for content that other social media networks such as Twitter but this does not mean you should post lengthy content. The key to getting attention with your posts is to keep the length concise and easily digestible for online readers. There is no perfect length size for a post but in general the idea is to make your posts stand out in a user’s news feed so you need to grab their attention with images, good links, solid CTA’S and short, snappy sentences.
  • Does the Post have a Clear Call to Action?
    By including a clear CTA within your posts ensures that each and every post is working as hard as it for you to get something out of it. Importantly, a CTA doesn’t have to be about getting people to buy from you, it can include a wide range of other actions from encouraging people to like or share your post, commenting on it, clicking a link to directing them to a landing page or to one of your other social media platforms. What you want your readers to do is up to you just make sure you tell what to do with a clear, simple and concise CTA.
  • Is the Post Relevant to My Business and Audience?
    With Facebook’s continuous updates making it even harder for pages to reach their audience organically, making sure that the content they do see is highly valuable, entertaining and relevant is more important than ever. When it comes to what you post on your page you need to ensure that you stay on topic and only post relevant, high quality and varied content that your audience is interested in.
  • Am I Available to Quickly Respond to Posts?
    Actively watching your posts for audience comments and interaction is just as important as the post itself. You need to be regularly available to respond to the comments you receive and then consciously act on the feedback. By responding to what others write you not only provide good customer service you publicly show your audience that you are genuinely interested in interacting with them and listening to what they have to say about you and your business. There is so much you can learn from becoming sociable with your audience and listening to them and as you become familiar with them more you can then better understand their needs, wants and opinions which you can apply to future content creation and better target their needs and interests.

How to Build a Following and Amplify Your Impact

Make Yourself Likeable
If you want to be liked on Facebook you need to make yourself likeable first. This means you need to incentivise and attract people to your page by having an active page full of quality and consistent posts with good, valuable information and consistent engagement and interaction between your page and others.

Promote your Facebook Page on other Social Media
Anywhere your customers interact with your brand is an opportunity to encourage them to follow you on Facebook. Once you develop your presence, remember to promote it across all your other social media platforms sharing your URL in your profile descriptions as well as sharing your most recent posts as well as mentioning it on your e-newsletter, your email signature, business card, product packaging and anywhere else your customers will see it. This also applies if you’re an active participant in a forum or membership site, placing a signature with your fan page link will direct more attention to your page.

Use Tagging and Acknowledgments
Tagging an author or a popular Facebook page in your post is a great networking tool that can drive new connections. You should however have a good reason to do this, for example if the page or author has posted something that will be useful and valuable to your fans. Be authentic and selfless in how you do it and you may be rewarded with increased attention to your page.

Reward Your Loyal Supporters
Encourage your loyal customers to join your Facebook page as supporters, and reward them with special deals for consistent support. This equally applies to those already fans of your page that continually show their support. A recommendation or shout-out from a happy customer is a lot more attractive than a marketing slogan, so reward your fans and they will likely share with their friends how great you are.

Host Contests
Contests are a popular method of building an audience on Facebook and, if executed correctly, can drive huge fan growth over a short period of time which will have a big impact on your Facebook page. You should test a wide variety of different types of contests and see which resonates with your audience but always remember that you need your contest to captivate attention in a way that gets people thinking about your products or services, but make it simple enough that the majority on people can easily take part in.

Popular Contest ideas

  • Tell Us How You Would Use [Product] to Win it!
  • Help Name our New [Product]
  • Caption This to Win [Prize]!
  • Friday Giveaway! Simply post ______ in the comments to be in with a chance to win!

Connect With Other Page Managers
Connecting and interacting with other page managers, especially local business to you can be a powerful tactic for making new connections and gathering attention. If there is a local business to you on Facebook then look to connect and work with each other to cross-promote. Not only will you develop a meaningful connection with another business that can lead to future opportunities, you will become visible to their audience which can help drive new likes and connections.

Join Conversations and Comment on Other Pages
One of the easiest ways to gain more exposure to your Facebook page is to utilise the social side of the network and interact with and join conversations of others to make yourself more visible. By actively searching for relevant businesses and conversations to interact with and join you can demonstrate your authority and authenticity by adding your relevant and valuable thoughts to conversations which will ultimately get yourself noticed by others who will likely be drawn to your page.

Utilise Print Media
Every piece of print media you use in your business from brochures to signage, business cards, magazine ads and vehicle stickers presents an opportunity for you to clearly display that you are on Facebook. Make yourself visible and you make it easier for the people you have connected with in person and who have seen other forms of your corporate literature to know you have a presence and connect with your Page.
Use Facebook Advertising
Facebook offers several paid options for you to advertise your business. From promoted posts to app installs, there are many customisable options for you to utilise allowing you to have the freedom to create an ad campaign that works for your business.

Add a Like Box to Your Website/ Blog
Adding a Like Box to your website and blog is a great tool to utilise and it can be a big generator for likes and traffic to your page.

Give Your Fans a Reason to Connect
To make people want to connect with you, you have to give them a reason to do so. This means in addition to consistently providing quality content you need to utilise other means of incentivising people to connect with you from hosting regular competitions or giveaways to holding a fan of the week showcase, there are many options available for you to encourage people to like you. Simply learn what your target audience wants, why they like you and what content they respond well to and you will easily be able to use this information to attract more people to connect with you.

Turn Your Facebook Page Into a Community
Turning your page in to a community hub where fans are free to interact and share their opinions is a great way to learn more about your community and help build your brand. By actively getting your fans involved in your page by asking things about them and encouraging them to interact with each other, you utilise the fundamental aspect of why they are on social media, they just want to be heard. Therefore build your strategy around encouraging others to use your Facebook presence as a platform for sharing, and you will reap rewards for your business.

Be Social With Your Fans
Make it a habit to check your page daily for any new interactions or conversations you can join in with and respond to. It is by taking the time to respond to those who are talking to you that you show that you are genuinely interested in what they are talking about online and you have real conversations that build relationships. From this follows the development of a community of loyal followers that are likely to recommend you to others and share and interact with your content, allowing it to be shared and seen across whole new audiences.


Tips for Success

Optimise Your Profile
Facebook is continually working and updating its features for businesses to help them create the best experience for your audience when they are on your page. It is up to as the business page owner therefore to utilise the many features Facebook has to offer to make your page as competitive and effective as it can be.

  • Featured Video – The use and popularity of video has grown exponentially throughout the past few years and as such Facebook has revamped its video sharing tools to accommodate this growing trend. One of the great features you can now utilise is the ability to upload and select a featured video for your Facebook Page. The video will occupy a prominent position on your page, highlighted under the video section of your Page in addition to being visible on the left side of your Facebook Timeline. Videos are a popular and powerful way to share your story in an engaging way so ensure that the video you choose to represent your page is high quality, engaging and informative.
  • Use Photos – Using visual content such as photos within your posts is continually shown in studies to get the highest amount of engagement on Facebook. As such, they present a huge opportunity for brands to connect with fans and generate more likes, comments and shares. Photos and videos are more visible and take up more space on a user’s news feed than a simple text based post giving you the opportunity to showcase your business in a way that text alone cannot. So it is vital you regularly and consistency include high-quality, eye catching and relevant visuals.
  • Create a Unique Facebook Web Address – Facebook offers you the invaluable opportunity to change your Facebook URL and personalise it for your business. The URL is what people will enter to find your Facebook page and it follows the format of http://facebook.com/username. It is vital therefore that you choose a clear username that is reflective of your business as URLs are heavily weighted by search engines.
  • Keyword-Rich “About” Section – Ensure that when you fill in your About section on your page that you not only consider making it clear, fully filled, accurate and concise but also look to utilise the SEO benefits by filling it with keyword rich information. Your About section, Mission and Company Description are all searchable on Facebook and other search engines, so it is vital that they are as optimised as they can be.
  • Relevant, Up-To-Date Contact Information – When someone is looking on your page it is vital that you make yourself easily contactable. Ensure that all the contact information you have on your page, from your email address to your phone number and location is all up-to-date.
  • Call-to-Action Button – The Call-to-Action button is a great feature that you can add to further utilise your Facebook page. With this new feature, admins can choose from a selection of call-to-action buttons such as Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up and Watch Video that will be added next to the “Like” button at the top of your Facebook Page. An added benefit is that admins can edit the call-to-action button to link to a page on or external to Facebook.

Never Stop Listening to Your Audience
Listening to your customers is a fundamental aspect of having a successful social media presence. The essence of social media is based upon creating conversations, engaging your audience and listening to them showing you have a genuine interest in what they have to say about you and your business. You can then take what you learn from listening and use that information to help better many aspects of your business in the future from your products and services, to your content and future marketing campaigns. Ultimately by listening to what others say about you are armed with the valuable knowledge to know what your customers really want and need which will help your business to successfully grow.

Humanise Your Brand
The most successful companies on Facebook are those that show the real people behind the brand. Facebook offers an informal and chatty platform for your opinions, stories, humour and advice that gives your business a human face and it is through this great ability to humanise your business through the content you post that ultimately makes your business appear more engaging, relatable and trustworthy to others. Ensure you utilise this opportunity for your customers to get to know the real you better, so whether you are sharing industry expertise, reviewing a product or sharing an aspect of your brand story, each post gives your customers helping them to better understand who you are, what you do, and ultimately tells them why they should care about you.

Be Consistent With Calls to Action
By ensuring you include a clear call to action in every post, you make each post purposeful for your business. Whether you direct the reader to an external blog post or ask them to leave a comment for example you need to consistently encourage the reader to continue the interaction with you either on Facebook or externally on one of your other sites.

Be Prepared to Adjust if Things Aren’t Working
A key aspect of maintaining a successful Facebook presence is to continually look to see what is and isn’t working and how you can improve your Facebook marketing. This involves initially setting realistic objectives for your presence in the beginning and continually analysing your analytics to ensure you are meeting them. If you find you are not getting what you want from your Facebook presence then you know you need to adjust some aspects of your strategy. It is through this adjustment that you can learn and grow as a business online which will ensure you are presenting yourself as effectively as you can online and creating better experiences for your audience.

Stay up to Date with Facebook’s News and Developments
As Facebook evolves it is likely to make important changes that you as a business need to be aware of. Remember to follow the official Facebook business page and subscribe to their blog to make sure you are aware and up to date with Facebook’s business updates.

Optimise the Cover Photo
Your page’s cover photo represents one of the most important parts of your page. When someone visits your page, the cover image is most likely going to be the first thing a visitor will see and as such presents an opportunity to showcase your products and services, show your personality, and attract attention with eye catching and relevant photos that utilise holidays, seasons and other special events etc. all of which help towards lead generation for your business. Ensure you optimise the cover photo by creating an eye-catching, good quality image with a strong CTA. Ultimately, design your cover photo with a clear primary purpose of gathering attention and prospects.

Utilise Major Events, Trends and Holidays
Major events, tends and national holidays present great opportunities for you to utilise to generate more attention for your page. From running a special competition, updating your cover photo to reflect the holiday season, to running a special promotion to coincide with a big event, there are many ways in which you can utilise these major occurrences to encourage fan engagement. Ensure you are organised and plan ahead so make a list of major events and holidays and start thinking of ways in which you be inspired to get your business involved.

Always Make Giving Good Customer Service a Priority
Giving great customer service is essential for any brand on Facebook. You need to accept the social aspect of social media and take the time to respond and interact with those who are talking to you. Answering questions and queries and responding to complaints and issues are a natural part of any business so you need to show your fans that you are listening and care about what they have to say by responding quickly and genuinely to them. In doing so you not only boost engagement, you show your audience that you are human and that you care about what they have to say.

Let People Post Content on Your Facebook Page
There is the option on Facebook pages to not allow others to comment on your page. However whilst it is available, it doesn’t mean you should use it. In fact, not allowing people to post content on your page is a mistake as you stop the ability for people to interact with you. Whilst it opens you up to the potential of public complaints and negativity, it also opens you up to a genuinely interested audience who wants to interact with you, hear your story and share your content.

Learn from your Audience Insights
By regularly exploring your analytics, you have the ability to understand your audience from what they engage with best, what content they like most, when they are online and many other important factors that help you optimise your content strategy, target your advertising better and generate more return on investment.


Common Mistakes to Avoid

Posting Only About Yourself
The essence of social media marketing is about creating social engagement. Therefore you need to encourage interaction from your fans by sharing valuable and informative information and comments and listening to and joining in with conversations. It is vital that you do not simply use Facebook as an outlet to push your hard sales and promotional content. Whilst you have a presence as you will ultimately want to drive sales, your posts should not blatantly reflect this, rather you need to make people love your brand by sharing stories, responding to interactions and sharing information they are going to find useful and interesting.

Posting Unrelated Content
It is important that you do not treat your Facebook business page like your own personal page. Those that have chosen to like your page expect to get relevant, valuable and informative information regarding your business or industry therefore you need to create a content strategy that clearly shows the themes and topics you will be sharing and will ensure that every post has a relevant purpose and is branded and directly written with your target audience in mind.

Not Responding to Negativity
Rather than simply deleting any negative comments you receive, as even the most universally loved businesses receive negative comments, view them as an opportunity to win over a customer offering help, guidance or even acknowledging where something went wrong. By dealing with negativity in an open and authentic way you can help build rapport and trust with your customers.
Begging for or Buying Likes
The more people that like your page results in the more potential reach you have for your content as people interact with, like and share it. This leads many businesses to beg for likes or buy them from external sources rather than earning them through posting engaging content, interacting with others and giving incentives to encourage people to like you. Buying likes will bring no benefit to your business as whilst you may appear popular initially, those bought ‘likes’ are not going to be from real people that want to interact with you, so therefore you will lose out on important engagement and potential business opportunities. Begging for likes also reflects badly on your businesses reputation online as it makes you appear untrustworthy and desperate.

Connecting Your Facebook and Twitter Account
Connecting your Facebook and Twitter feeds is not recommended as each platform requires a tailored approach, from the use of content right through to the best times to post. Therefore you need to treat your Facebook and Twitter account as separate entities and share your content individually tailoring them to each as opposed to having Twitter automatically tweet the same message you posted on Facebook and vice versa.

Not Using Facebook Insights
If you fail to analyse your Facebook analytics you are missing out on the opportunity to gain valuable insight as to whether your page is successful and is reaching your business objectives. It also helps you to determine other crucial bits of information such as which types of posts are most successful and which aren’t, helping guide future content creation that ensures your page stays effective.

Not Checking for Bad Links and Grammar & Spelling Errors
You must remember that you represent your business with every post therefore it is vital that you review your content carefully before you share it. If you have included a link to an external site check that it is working and points to the correct page in addition to double checking your grammar, spelling and ensuring your post is clear and concise before you post it as a post that is grammatically incorrect, incoherent or riddled with spelling mistakes will affect your credibility and reputation negatively.

Trying to Write Every Post for Everyone
Remember when writing your posts you need to do so with your target audience in mind as this will ensure that your content is focused, interesting and informative to those who are interested in you and your industry. Writing to please a generic mass of people will not help your aim of becoming a source of valued information and expertise in your industry, so always consciously aim to directly target and address the needs and wants of your audience within your posts.


Measuring Success

Like any other marketing strategy, the success of your business Facebook page must be measured against your business objectives. Analysing your Facebook Insights will show you a wealth of information and help determine whether your page is having a measurable impact and whether the data is reflective of the overall goals of your business page.

Engagement
Engagement is about gauging how much people interact with you and the comments, shares and likes on your Page are a good way to measure engagement. Your aim should be to create conversation and if your readers are interacting with and responding to your posts then it is a good indication that you are engaging your readers making them more likely to respond and continue interacting with your page.

Negative Feedback
Tracking negative feedback is also an important part of the process as it can show you areas for concern. If fans are hiding your posts, unliking your page or reporting your posts as spam, then you need to know. If you are regularly experiencing negative feedback, your posts will get less exposure over time so it is paramount that you look at what posts are getting you negative feedbacks and when, as you can then use this information to adjust your content or marketing efforts accordingly.

Conversion
Another piece of important information to track is how much traffic that your page brings to the rest of your website. In other words, how many fans are converted into potential customers. If a significant number of website visitors were referred from Facebook, you know that your posts are generating interest in your products or services and are possibly helping to drive sales.

Likes and Unlikes
Tracking the rates at which you are liked and disliked by others is an important metric to regularly analyse as it will show you when you have performed well and the times when you haven’t allowing you to establish what you did at those times that could have made others follow you or unfollow you. Learning from this information helps develop a more successful strategy as it will show you the areas in which your audience responds too better and which areas they don’t, allowing you to learn what your audience wants and then applying it to your future efforts.


Facebook Maintenance Checklist

Daily

  • Respond to all new messages, tags, likes and comments
  • Engage with and contribute to Facebook groups
  • Post a post with original, relevant and interesting business content being aware of the best time to publish
  • Check relevant hashtags that present opportunities to interact
  • Go through news feed and get updated on news and insights and add your thoughts and comments to any relevant discussions and/or share relevant content

Weekly

  • Check Facebook insights to see how posts are performing
  • Look to see if any new connections from other social media platforms have Facebook and ‘like’ their page
  • Actively find and ‘like’ any relevant other businesses and industry influencers
  • On a Sunday or Monday plan the upcoming weeks content
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