There are currently over 1.49 billion* monthly active users on Facebook, with each one spending around 20 minutes* on the network every day, so it’s no wonder the social media giant enjoys the attention of over 50 million* Facebook business pages. Yours is probably one of them.
But the constant changes to Facebook make it tricky to keep your page working hard for you – how can you make sure Facebook is bringing you measurable business success while also building relationships with your customers?
1. Ensure your settings are right
87% of posts to Facebook pages go unanswered*, leading to missed opportunities and disgruntled customers, but with a simple change to your settings you can receive an email, phone notification or even a text message to let you know when someone sends a message to your page or commenta on a post.
Simply visit your Facebook business page, click ‘Settings’ top right, and select ‘Notifications’ from the menu on the left.
2. Activate your ‘Call to action’ button
In 2015 Facebook introduced a new button for business pages, which sits on at the top of your business page on the cover photo, as shown below in blue.
This button provides seven options that can drive traffic through to your website or an app:
- Book now
- Contact us
- Use app
- Play game
- Shop now
- Sign up
- Watch video
To edit yours, click the button on your Facebook page and follow the steps – you can change the text and the page it links to, depending on the time of year and what you’d like to promote.
3. Boost relevant posts
The average organic reach for a Facebook page post is just 2% – that means that for every 100 people who like your page, only two of them will see the posts that you publish.
One way to increase the number of people seeing your posts is to ‘boost’ them – this means that for a fee you can push your content into more people’s newsfeeds.
You won’t want to boost every post, only those which will help you achieve your marketing goals – maybe you have a late deal on a property that you need to fill for next week – boosting this content will reach a wider audience and increase the likelihood of you securing a booking.
To get started, publish your post then click the blue ‘Boost Post’ button below to access the options to select your audience and set your budget.
When choosing who sees your boosted post you have three options:
1. People who like your page
2. People who like your page and their friends
3. People you choose through targeting.
This final option gives you the chance to have your post seen by anyone on Facebook who fits your chosen profile – you can choose people by age, location, occupation – the possibilities are enormous!
You can even target people who have visited a page of your website. Jon Loomer writes extensively on creating custom audiences and using Facebook’s powerful tools so check out his step-by-step guides for more info.
4. Complete your ‘About’ section
Of course you’ve already done this, right? Address, phone number, price range, website, mission…
I’m sure you have, but let’s just check – to access this section, click ‘About’ underneath your cover photo, and you can add any info here that’s missing.
5. Post videos to your page
In 2014 Facebook overtook YouTube for the number of videos viewed online, putting it at the top of the video marketing tree – the autoplay feature (where a video starts playing automatically as a user scrolls down their newsfeed) has seen videos double organic reach of posts.
If you’re not using video, you’re missing out on massive potential traffic, so grab your smartphone and head outside to grab some short footage of the countryside, or interview one of your team or a customer.
6. Ask questions of your audience
What is your biggest problem when trying to market your business through Facebook? If you could outsource one part of your marketing, what would it be? How often do you review your marketing strategy?
I have loads of questions I’d love to explore with you, but what could your audience tell you?
Asking questions of on your Facebook page is a great way to find out more about your customers, and it’s also a good way to drive engagement in the form of likes and shares, which shows Facebook that your page is doing a good job.
7. Vary the types of posts you share
The most common reason for a person unliking a Facebook business page is ‘uninteresting posts’ (32%) (Kentico Digital Experience Survey, 2015) but what makes a post interesting?
The ideal length of a Facebook post for maximum engagement is 40 characters (Fast Company, 2015) but what sort of content should you be sharing?
Let’s look at Oreo, one of the most successful brands on Facebook – they consistently use video and humour to increase reach.
One of their biggest social media wins was in 2013 when the power unexpectedly failed during a Superbowl game – within minutes, Orea had published this to their Facebook page:
The timely post received over 13,000 likes and 4,000 shares. Not bad for a reactive, hastily crafted graphic.
The lesson? Users love posts which are topical, relevant and friendly.
8. Understand what works by using Facebook insights data
When was the last time you looked at your ‘Insights’ data? If you can’t remember, then you’re missing out on information which could show you the best time to post to your page, which content your audience likes the most, and which posts generate the most comments and shares.
This free tool is easy to access via the menu at the top of your Facebook page.
Once into your ‘Insights’ page, scroll down and use the subheadings to to see:
- Page likes
- Post reach
- Competitors’ pages to watch
- When your fans are online
- and much more
Razor Social has published a comprehensive guide to Facebook insights if you want to explore this in more detail.
9. Add featured likes
Share your favourite business pages by adding them to a ‘Featured’ list on your page.
It’s a good idea to like other pages when logged in as your business page, to increase your audience and build connections, but you might not want to make all of those pages highly visible on your page.
Luckily you can choose which pages to show – navigate to the ‘Settings’ tab (see above) and click ‘Featured’ in the lefthand menu. To change which pages are shown to your visitors, click ‘Edit Featured Likes’ and select from the pages you’ve already liked.
10. Schedule posts to maintain presence
One of the biggest complaints I hear about social media is how much time it can potentially take up when you’re trying to run your business.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could write your posts in advance and schedule them to publish at regular intervals through the week while you get on with your day?
With Facebook’s scheduling tool, available for free to all business owners, this is exactly what you can do. It saves time and gives you the freedom to maintain a presence on Facebook without having to be there creating content every day.
To schedule a post to publish in the future, simply create your post as normal but instead of clicking ‘Publish’, click the small arrow next to the ‘Publish’ button and select schedule, before choosing a date and time that suits you and your audience. Once you have chosen a date and time, click ‘Schedule’.
You can view scheduled posts any time by clicking ‘Publishing tools’ from the top menu on your page, and selecting ‘Scheduled posts’ from the menu on the left.
PS Be aware that scheduling posts has its risks – if you’ve scheduled a post rejoicing at the arrival of Summer on the same day that a national tragedy occurs, your post will stand out as being totally out of sync with your audience – remember to update your social media in line with current events – remember: topical.
11. Check post attribution
Have you ever hit ‘Publish’ on a comment before realising you’ve just posted as your personal Facebook profile rather than your business page? In the new look Facebook it’s easily done, but there are some simple steps you can take to minimise the likelihood of this happening.
Control this individually on posts (as above) or via set the default within the Settings tab (select ‘Post Attribution’ from the menu on the left).
12. Use branded graphics to increase your profile
You have just milliseconds to catch someone’s attention as they scroll down their Facebook newsfeed, but one way to stand out is through visual content such as photographs and graphics.
A strong brand image is a valuable asset for your business, presenting content to audiences in a clear and consistent way, and this is just as true on social media as it is in print, so consider this when sharing images.
Try and stick with three or four brand colours (see Google’s brand colours above) and use these consistently in your graphics, add your logo to photos and graphics where possible and use two or three fonts that are already present on your website and printed material.
These simple steps will gradually build your brand to increase your profile in the busy online world.
13. Share links to your website (and include a good image)
Research shows that people click more on shared links when they’re displayed using its own native link format (as below, with an image from the webpage):
14. Upload a featured video
Facebook videos get more reach than any other type of post so you should be using them in your mix of social media content.
Once you’ve uploaded video to your page, you can choose to feature one of your videos on your page below the cover photo – to set a featured video, simply click ‘Videos’ beneath your cover photo (you may need to click the dropdown ‘More’ menu to find the ‘Videos’ option).
Once clicked through, you will see all the videos already published to your page – click ‘Add featured video’ to choose which one should be the main video shown.
15. Save content to publish later
Creating fresh new content to share on your Facebook page every day can be daunting, but sharing other people’s content provides a fresh perspective and saves you writing posts from scratch.
But what if you’ve already published something when you see an interesting post in your newsfeed? Did you know you can save it for later using a simple feature within Facebook?
See something you like in your newsfeed? Click the small dropdown arrow at the top right of the post, and select ‘Save link’ (or ‘Save video’ etc.). You can access these posts from the ‘Saved’ option in the menu on the left of your newsfeed to share at a later date.
16. Tag other pages in your updates
Tag relevant business pages in your posts by typing @ followed by their business name – you should be given a list of possible pages from which to select as you start typing:
Tagging other pages in your posts achieves two things – when a business sees they are tagged in your post, they may share it with their audience, and they may tag you in future posts, further increasing your reach.
17. Be conversational in your posts
This is an obvious one, I know, but it’s easy to slip into marketing mode, selling special offers and using capitalisation in posts so they read like headlines: 75 Christmas Cookies Recipes That Are Flat Out Addictive! (see below – although this is still pretty tempting with that mouth-watering photo…)
But instead of barking your updates, try being informal: We’re addicted to these 75 cookies recipes at the farm – click through at your own risk – nom nom nom.
18. Ask people to engage with your posts
Ask and you shall receive – consider asking your audience for their comments at the end of your post:
This post by Dreams of Cornwall achieved 193 likes and over 340 comments in just a few hours – the question is open, simple and anyone is qualified to answer.
19. Change your cover photo every month
It’s only September and already my local supermarket has tiny chocolate snowmen stacked at the end of aisles, the high street is filled with knitwear and ‘back-to-school’ stationery. The retail environment looked very different just a month ago in August because customers wanted different things.
Just as our high street changes throughout the year, so should your Facebook cover photo.
What does your holiday business look like in September? What will your customers want to see photos of in December? How could you excite them about your latest offer in January? Origin shares its coffee of the month in its cover photo, updating the graphic every month to keep the content topical and fresh.
Your Facebook cover photo measures 851px x 315px – you can create your own, using photo editing software, or download one from one of the many sites such as Trendy Covers, First Covers or Cover Junction.
Bonus tip: Each time you upload a new cover photo, a post is published to your page to inform your fans, so be sure to add a description to the photo (see below) so when people view it they can see what you’re offering or featuring this month.
20. Be personal
The clue to social media success is in the name: SOCIAL media. Don’t be afraid to share stories about the people in your business, staff birthdays, business milestones, and even pet updates!
21. Add email opt-in to your page
How do you think your ‘Fans’ would feel if tomorrow Facebook announced they were going to charge £100 a month to continue using the network? What if Facebook shut down altogether and launched a video platform instead?
Neither of these are likely to happen of course, but while your audience lives on Facebook, you are reliant on the social network itself to reach them.
Encourage fans to join your email list so you can contact them with emarketing, hopefully building loyalty and moving them further down the sales funnel towards making a purchase.
Email platforms integrate well with Facebook and most have apps ready to add in just a couple of clicks – simply click the relevant link below to get started with your page:
22. Like other pages
I love to see what other businesses are up to – what new products they’re developing, what’s happening in the office today, who they’re working with, what plans are in the pipeline.
Ten years ago I would have been accused of being a weirdo for trying to discover this stuff about other businesses, but today it’s all freely available on Facebook – hurrah!
No more lurking in bushes, hacking email accounts and tapping phone lines for me.
As well as satisfying an unhealthy interest in other people’s lives, this form of Facebook ‘research’ is also a good way of keeping up with competitors and seeing what works for other them in terms of content.
To like another page as your Business Page, type a company name in the search box in the blue navigation bar at the top of your Facebook page. Once you’ve found the page you’d like to follow, click the three small dots below the page’s cover photo and select ‘Like As Your Page’ from the dropdown menu.
23. Grow your likes
Someone liking your Facebook page increases the likelihood of them buying from you by 35% (Inside Facebook, 2014) so growing likes is important, but they need to be useful likes.
Earlier this year Facebook shut down thousands of inactive and fake accounts, giving Facebook page managers a slight cause for concern as their likes inevitably dropped in response – but provided your likes are from genuine people, who are likely to buy from you, they’re definitely worth having.
To grow your likes, think outside Facebook – include a link to your page on your website, your email signature, printed invoices and receipts – anywhere your customers may see your brand.
24. Respond faster
Since Summer 2015, Facebook page admins have been able to show just how fast they respond to customers’ questions through a new ‘customer response’ feature. Pages which respond to 90% of their messages within five minutes or less over seven days are rewarded with a spangly icon below the cover photo.
This shows fans that you are likely to reply to their message promptly and could encourage engagement.
Obviously you must have enabled messages within your Page’s ‘Settings’ in order for this functionality to be available – then you have to be more alert than a meerkat on 25 espressos, responding to messages with lightning speed (no pressure).
25. Integrate Facebook into your wider marketing plan
Facebook is just one of the tools out there in your digital marketing arsenal but it needs to be used in conjunction with the others – what other social networks are you on? What content do you publish on your website? How do you use email in your marketing? What offline activity are you planning and how does it link with Facebook?
Create an integrated plan which includes online and offline activity to effectively build loyalty with customers and hopefully achieve your business objectives.
* Source: Expanded Ramblings, 2015