Last week we provided you with eight must-know Facebook tips for small businesses; the tips focused on generating content that increases engagement. In this week’s post, part two in our series, we’re talking about ways to leverage your Facebook presence.
Tip #1: Create a social media plan
Having a successful Facebook Page does not happen overnight. It takes commitment, structure and, most of all, time. Businesses often jump on board with Facebook but when they don’t see immediate results, or the results they hope for end up being more difficult to attain than they anticipated, the Page gets ignored.
Creating a social media plan for your staff, including an office policy, is a great way to keep your company on track. In July, our CEO Jim Belosic, wrote 7 Tips for Creating a Social Media Plan for Your Business, an article that provides a great starting point for creating a social media strategy.
One point we want to emphasize is in order to maintain an engaging page, you should delegate tasks to your employees. Running a company page is not a one-man job. Facebook recently introduced five tiers of Facebook admins for business pages – familiarize yourself with it and then delegate tasks to help you maintain a consistent presence and keep momentum going.
Tip #2: Invite people to your page
It’s easy assume that everyone and every business is on Facebook, and to assume if someone wants to be your fan they’ll find you and Like your page. In our experience, when you want something to happen on Facebook, you have to ask for it. Inviting people to your page is similar to including a call to action in your status updates — a tip we covered in last week’s post. Bottom line: If you want people to like your page, ask. Try including a direct invite to your Facebook Page in email blasts, company newsletters and on your other social media platforms.
Tip #3: Schedule posts
Even if you have multiple team members dedicated to your Facebook Page there will still be times where you’re just too busy to post every day, let alone multiple times a day. This is especially true for users who have international clients. At ShortStack, our clients live in 184 different countries so there really isn’t a “best” time for us to post on Facebook. We post at all hours of the day and see similar rates of engagement and sharing.
We recommend that you don’t scheduling all of your posts, because then it’s easy to forget about your Facebook Page for the rest of the day. At ShortStack, we use the schedule posts feature for posts that we want to publish during hours we’re not working or know we won’t be at a computer to post.
Remember that you can’t schedule everything, either. You can schedule links, photos, status updates and videos, but you can’t schedule photo albums, events, questions, offers and milestones.
To schedule a post: write a normal status update but don’t hit “post.” Instead, in the lower left hand corner of your post, click on the clock symbol. Add the year, month, day and time you want the post to appear. You can schedule your post to go out up to six months in advance. You can also “target” the post, which we will discuss in the next tip. Once your post is ready to go, click the “schedule” button on your post. If you need to edit your scheduled post you can navigate to your activity log and make necessary edits — as long as there is a photo or other image in the post. (Text-only posts can’t be edited.)
Tip #4: Target posts
Facebook gives you the ability to target your posts by gender, relationship status, educational status, interested in, age, location and language. This tool is beneficial for the times when you want to advertise something to a specific group of fans, or if you want to ask a certain group of fans a question. For example, if you’re looking to engage with more fans between the age of 20-35, you can schedule a post to go to that age group asking them what they want to see from your Page.
Facebook shows you how many people are being targeted when you narrow your target. A tip for using the target feature is to make your target known. We recently asked our Australian users if they knew of any good tech/social media bloggers. You can see how we targeted the post in the image below. Targeting a post, by the way, is free.
Tip #5: Make your page shareable
Part 1 of this series included tips for offering valuable content to your users. This tip carries over into tips on leveraging your Facebook Page because you should always be asking yourself if you are offering value to your fans. If you focus on providing value to your fans, they will share your information with their friends and their friends will want to experience this same value. Consider offering exclusive content, such as eBooks, infographics or a special offer. If it is only available to your fans, they will see it as more valuable and want to share the information.
Tip #6: Build an e-mail list
One of the best and most crucial ways to leverage your Facebook marketing and business marketing is to build a mailing list via your Facebook Page. Facebook apps give businesses the ability to collect data from their users in a fun and non-abrasive way. You can have a direct newsletter sign-up app or offer a fun promotion in which you require fans to answer a few questions before they can enter.
Once you’ve grown your mailing list be sure to make your subscribers feel welcome and keep them interested with great content. Avoid flooding their inbox with unimportant company updates or newsletters.
Tip #7: Use ads and promoted posts
Facebook advertising is a great way to get information about your brand or business in front of people who are most likely to want it. We’re big fans of Facebook ads because costs are low and results are high. The best time to run a Facebook ad is when you’re running a new promotion, launching a new product or resource, selling something or simply promoting your business. Check out this article that talks about 4 ways to get the most bang for your Facebook Ad bucks for some more ideas and tips.
In February 2012, Facebook let business Page admins in on a secret: The average post from a brand page only reaches 16 percent of fans. So how do you reach the other 84 percent? With promoted posts. We use promoted posts to expand the reach of important status updates like new business announcements, new feature launches, webinars and resources.
To promote a post: write a status update like you normally would (you can promote a post before or after you publish a post). Click the “promote” link in the bottom right corner of the post. There are two targeting options for promoting your post — people who like your page and people and their friends who like your Page. Facebook then provides different price levels and tells you how many people will see your post at each budget level.
Note: We seem to get a lot of spam comments when we promote to our fans and their friends, but it really depends on the post. We’ve noticed that promoted posts about contests receive a lot of spam comments. On his blog, Jon Loomer offers some insight about why promoted posts can result in spam comments on his blog.
Tip #8: Use Facebook Insights
Facebook should not be a mystery. Facebook Insights provide an in-depth look at your Facebook marketing efforts. And they’re free! Facebook Insights can give you a breakdown of your likes, post engagement, page engagement, app visits, etc. For example, you can get a feel for which status updates perform the best and whether video or photo posts bring more engagement. You can also get a sense where your likes are coming from.
You can learn the gender, age and location (cities and countries) of your fans or Likes using Facebook Insights, which reduces the types of data you need to collect in apps.
For more best practices and Facebook tips for small businesses subscribe to our blog, Socially Stacked.