At this point, it’s common practice for just about every type and size of business to have a Facebook page. You probably already created your page, but where do you go from there? It may be easier than you think. Facebook offers powerful results with the right strategy.
Business owners can use Facebook and other social media platforms to connect with new customers, improve awareness for causes that align with their business, engage locally in the community with events, and build a deeper loyalty among current clients.
There’s no denying it: just about the whole world is online and on Facebook. 86 percent of American adults are online, and 79 percent of those users are on Facebook. What’s more, 57 percent of consumers report that they’re influenced to think more highly of a business after seeing positive online comments. As a result, social media is becoming a bigger part of a successful marketing plan. It’s estimated that spending on Facebook digital display ads will reach $10.03 billion in 2017.
This data clearly defends the importance of a Facebook presence for small businesses, but what’s the prescription for success? I have outlined seven key parameters to get your business’s Facebook page on the right track. In my years helping small- to medium-sized businesses across the country, these guidelines have generated proven, repeatable, results—whether you want to grow your audience or build a stronger connection with existing customers.
Engage in Dialogue
Your Facebook page is not simply a platform for posting information; it’s a conversation with your customers and the community. As a business owner, you’re an expert in your particular industry, and you should use your page to provide information and tips that support your work. By sharing relevant content, your audience is more likely to share and comment on posts. Make sure you respond! They want to know that there’s a real human behind the post, so be sure you take the time to address inquiries quickly and thoroughly. Facebook will show users an estimated response time on your page, so users will know that they can rely on you.
Keep It Natural and Consistent
Facebook algorithms can spot unnatural, overly promotional posts, which will get less organic distribution on the platform. These algorithm updates make it all the more necessary to create an authentic, consistent voice when writing your posts. Make sure your content is professional and informative, but that you also maintain a similar tone and style throughout all posts. Consistency will build your brand identity and make fans feel that they can get to you know your services or products through the platform. Again, your page should provide helpful tips and information without being too pushy, just as you would do with any other type of customer service interaction.
Target the Right Audience
Your promoted posts and paid ads should cater to your audience’s behaviors and interests. Facebook allows you to target very specific demographics, from recent residential movers, to age and even major milestones like getting engaged or buying a house. The more you know about your ideal customer, the more specifically you can target the right users on the platform. Consider zip code, profession, relationship status, income, social interests, and more to make your promoted posts and ads more compelling. No matter the specifics you determine for your business, always keep your ads straightforward with a clear call to action.
Take Advantage of All the Tools
Another way Facebook can help you promote your business more easily is their scheduling tool. By scheduling all your posts for the week or month in advance, you can cut down the amount of time each day devoted to social media management. Facebook will also share when your users are most active, so you can strategically schedule posts throughout the week to get your highest reach. While this makes posting a breeze, it may also be helpful to check posts throughout the week to respond to questions and maintain engagement levels (see point number 1). If you want to take it up one more notch and sync all your social media platforms on one schedule, you can also use apps like Hootsuite, MeetEdgar and HubSpot.
Create Community-Centered Events
Facebook events offer small- and medium-sized businesses a great opportunity to stay involved in the community. You can build a bridge between your online presence and your offline work. Does your staff volunteer with a non-profit, or do you have a team participating in a local cause? Do you have your own fundraisers or special events coming up? Make sure you create an event on Facebook and encourage users to attend. This will help you get a head count and connect your business to the causes that align with your values.
Analyze Your Results
Again, Facebook offers great free tools to help you analyze and keep track of how your posts are doing. The Audience Insights tool allows you to see how fans are responding to each post so you can track which type of content gets the most positive reactions. For example, see if articles are consistently shared or testimonials receive positive responses. Keep track and give your audience more of what interests them.
Keep It Up-to-Date
While consistent posts are obviously important, don’t forget to build in time to update the other aspects of your Facebook page, as well. Change out your banner image to highlight different services or upcoming events, and be sure to keep your hours and contact information up to date. Accurate content will ensure that your fans can easily find you in real life, too.
Whether you have a medical practice, own a local boutique, or operate a mid-sized law firm, Facebook can help you connect and keep your audience. Take advantage of the many tools and analytics to continue to build your fan base. With a little bit of consistency and the right targeting, you might be surprised how easily you can grow your business using Facebook.
Will Scott is CEO of Search Influence, a national online marketing firm focused on small and medium-sized businesses, and white label online marketing products for publishers and media partners who serve them. Search Influence is the largest online marketing company on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans’ only Inc. 500 honoree in 2011.