Facebook can be an incredible tool for small business promotion. In fact, there are some businesses that have even built their entire marketing strategy around Facebook.
The site offers so many different opportunities for both paid and free promotions that it can be difficult to know which tools will be the most effective. So we talked to some social media experts about the best ways to use your Facebook presence for small business marketing. Below are 20 of their best tips.
Editor’s note: watch a video featuring the 10 Facebook Business Page Tips that Will Keep You From Screwing Up Your Marketing Efforts.
Avoid Leaving Out These Critical Details
The first thing you should do once you’ve decided to use Facebook for your marketing efforts is to set up a page, says Larry Kim, founder and chief technology officer at WordStream. Your page’s content will grow over time, but you’ll need to include at least a few basic details right away. Include your business’s name, a profile and cover photo, your location or contact information, and a website or any other relevant links.
If you leave out any of these basic details, your page will look bare. And potential fans will be less likely to see you as a legitimate page that will offer any kind of value for them.
Think About Who to Invite and Not Invite
Once you have at least the basics filled in, it’s time to build a following. If you have an existing list of customers or leads, you can invite them to like your page via either email or phone. Kim told Small Business Trends in a phone interview that this should be the first step in building a Facebook following.
In addition, if you already have a personal Facebook, you can invite your existing friends to like your page. However, Kim cautioned against inviting fans that aren’t part of your target audience.
Figure Out Your Sharing Sweet Spot
Once you have a page and a few fans, you’ll need to post some content. But you can’t just post a link or two and then forget about it. Kim suggests posting to Facebook as often as you can in order to increase the likelihood that your loyal fans will see your content.
The actual amount of posts may vary depending on the type of business. For example, a small bakery might not have as much to post as an active tech blog. But whenever you feel that you have valuable content to offer or share, you should do it.
Don’t Rely on Facebook Analytics
To get a better idea of both the types of posts you should share and how often you should share them, keep an eye on your analytics. Facebook offers some basic insights for each page, but Kim said businesses should also consider using Google Analytics.
When you look at the analytics, pay close attention to which posts get the most clicks, views, and engagement. And also pay attention to any trends that may occur over time. For example, if you used to post two times per day and received a lot of engagement, then increased to five posts per day and engagement decreased, you could be posting too much.
Beat the Facebook Algorithm by Getting Liked
As mentioned above, your goal with Facebook posts should be to receive engagement from fans, said Kim. This includes likes, comments, and clicks. Thanks to Facebook’s algorithm, a very small amount of your fans will see each of your posts. But the more engagement you receive from fans, the more people will see your posts in the future.
Promote Your Business — But Only a Little
In order to increase engagement for your posts, you shouldn’t just post links to your website all the time. In fact, most experts recommend that less than half of your content be directly related to your products or services. Kim recommends that about a third of your content be related to your offerings, while the rest should be either helpful resources related to your industry or funny, entertaining posts. Those types of posts will get your engagement levels up, which will allow your future posts to be seen by more customers.
Share Something Entertaining — Like a Super Bowl Video
So aside from those posts about your business, you need to add some content that’s valuable to your target audience. Kim suggests posting some resources related to your business or industry, along with some fun, entertaining posts. You don’t need to think too hard about these entertaining posts. Just include something you think your fans might enjoy.
Penney Fox of Fox Interactive Consultants explained in an email to Small Business Trends:
“Entertainment could be anything from inspirational quotes to funny Superbowl videos. It’s something to give your customers a little smile and connect them to you on a personal level.”
Use This Trick to Guarantee Comments
Another strategy you can use to drive engagement is to ask open-ended questions in your posts, said Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media. When you ask questions, it encourages people to leave comments. You can ask for opinions about your latest offerings or just general questions about the fun content your sharing.
Remember, More People Will Comment on a Photo
Images can also drive engagement. As people scroll through their feeds, they don’t necessarily stop to read every post. So if you add an attention-grabbing image, people are more likely to stop and read what goes along with it. And then they’ll be more likely to interact with the post. Fox explained:
“First we see the image. If that catches our attention, we’ll read the headline. Then if we’ve made it past the image and the headline, we’ll click on the post to read more.”
Give People a Behind-the-Scenes Look At Your Team
People use social media to connect with their friends. Sure, they might follow some of their favorite businesses. But they still want to feel like they’re interacting with real people. So you need to add some personality to your posts. To do this, add some photos and posts that give your fans a behind-the-scenes look at your business.
Strella said in an email interview with Small Business Trends:
“Go behind-the-scenes especially with the people who interact with your customers and clients the most. Let them know what you’re doing behind the coffee counter, the project you’re working to complete for a client, or how you start your work day.”
Include Exclusive Content You Don’t Post Anywhere Else
To get more of your customers to like your page, don’t make the mistake of just sharing content from your website or blog. Post things on your Facebook page that people can’t find anywhere else. Even consider sharing coupon codes or special offers just for your fans. If people feel like being a part of your page is really valuable, they’re more likely to connect with you. Fox said:
“Using Facebook to develop a ‘we’re sharing this with only our fans’ can create a special bond with potential customers.”
Pin Your Most Important Posts to the Top of Your Page
Since you post so many different types of updates to your page, your most important updates can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. But you can choose what you want people to see when they first visit your page. Facebook offers an option for page owners to “pin” one post to the top of their page. Strella suggested using this feature, saying:
“If you’re building new likes to the page, call attention to what you want them to see first. One tactic is to ‘pin’ a post to the top of your page, which will remain there for one week.”
Pay Extra to Reach Your Target Audience
Facebook’s easiest paid marketing option is the “Boost Post.” However, this option isn’t always worth it, according to Kim. The feature can simply amplify the post’s reach to your existing fans and their friends. But those friends aren’t necessarily part of your target audience.
However, Facebook does offer you the option of specifying the audience you want to reach more precisely.
Know Exactly When to Invest in Promoted Posts
For example, you can pay for “Promoted Posts” using Facebook’s ad manager, said Kim. Promoted posts give a page owner more control over targeting and pricing.
“This option allows you to target who will see your post. You’ll be able to narrow your selections to include where they live, their age, their gender and up to 10 different interests.”
Believe It Or Not, Pay to Boost the Posts That Are Already Popular
When choosing which posts you’d like to promote, you should choose content you already know is successful. Don’t pay to promote a post that is under performing or isn’t getting the exposure you would like. Though this might at first seem like the best of action you may just be throwing your money away. Instead, Kim said:
“The posts that receive the most organic engagement are also the most likely to receive the most engagement when you promote them.”
Pay close attention to your analytics to find the posts with the most engagement. Then promote those posts or create a new post that is similar.
Use Sponsored Posts to Get Your Audience to do Something
One way to increase engagement in promoted posts is to include a call to action, said Fox. This can be a special offer, or a very specific reason for visitors or customers to click your link. It should both drive more engagement to your page, and get you more value for your advertising investment.
Use Promoted Page Ads to Get More Likes
Facebook also offers the opportunity for people to promote their page as a whole, instead of a single post. If you’re looking for more likes, instead of more engagement or clicks on a particular post, you might consider using this option under the ad manager, Strella said.
Don’t Forget About Facebook’s Custom Audiences Tool
No matter what type of ad you select, it’s important to carefully target to your specific audience for that message. The tool Facebook offers to help with this is called Custom Audiences. And it lets you choose the characteristics of your target market, or even promote your content to specific customers.
Marcus Torrey, a rep speaking on behalf of Facebook, said in an email to Small Business Trends:
“Having a fine-targeted audience allows marketers to create content that caters to that specific group, which increases the chance those people will engage or otherwise react to ads served to them.”
Remember To Drive Traffic From Your Website to Your Facebook Page Too
Some people might argue you should only use Facebook to drive traffic to your website, not the other way around. The problem is this strategy doesn’t help you get more engagement on your Facebook page.
Traffic driven from your site to your Facebook page means more potential engagement on Facebook. This will make your Facebook page more visible and ultimately probably generate more traffic for your site and brand. You should always drive traffic to your Facebook page by including a link to it on your website or any other online accounts you might have, Strella said. You can even embed some specific posts onto your website to show off the valuable content you share on your page.
Ultimately, Know When It’s Time to Move On
At first, you might be tempted to use Facebook as your main or only promotional outlet. But as you have more time or money or both, it can be even more effective as part of a larger marketing strategy, said Strella.
If possible, set up other social media accounts and cross-promote them across each platform. You can also purchase other types of online ads and focus on things like search marketing so that your business has a more well rounded marketing strategy.
Despite its problems, Facebook remains a very powerful marketing tool. But understanding how best to use this tool is the key. We hope this list will help you avoid some of the more serious mistakes that can thwart your efforts.