Facebook is the world’s largest social media network. Every month two billion people use it to connect with friends, family – and businesses. If your business is not on Facebook then you’re missing the opportunity to engage with a huge audience in a very personal way.
You probably think that you know Facebook – you have a personal account and pretty much every person you know has one too, whatever their age. But using Facebook for business can be surprisingly tricky to get right and there are a bunch of mistakes that are very easy to make.
The following steps show you how to successfully start using Facebook to raise awareness, drive demand and boost sales for your business.
Step 1: Check out the competition
If your business is not yet on Facebook then you can be sure some of your competitors are. Take a look at their Facebook pages and see how they are talking to their customers. What is working for them (the more likes on a post the better, the more shares better still), and what is receiving little response, or even a negative response? Look at how they use images and videos.
Imagine yourself as customer for a second, and consider how successful they are in reaching out to you. Could you do better? (Of course you can!)
Step 2: Do the groundwork
Okay so you’ve created a new page for your business. It exists but it’s empty, so take some time to add your key business information – contact details, opening hours, company overview and so on. Try and complete as many sections of your ‘About’ page as possible, and where applicable add your ‘Services’ too so you can showcase what your business offers.
You also need to select suitable a profile picture and cover image for your page. Your profile picture is displayed next to all of your Facebook activity so choose wisely. If you have a company logo then you should select that and stick to it.
Your profile picture is often displayed quite small so keep it simple – don’t included too much text as it will become unreadable. If you want to prominently share your slogan, phone number or website address you could always add these to your cover image.
Step 3: Create a posting plan
This step is absolutely key. You can’t treat your business page like a personal page, where you might post or react to something on impulse. To keep people engaged you need to post regularly – at least once a day ideally – so this will take a little planning. Do not try and ‘wing it’ as your posts will likely peter our and your page will suffer.
Here’s a seven-day example plan that you may find useful:
Day 1: Participation post
Engage visitors by asking for their input on an issue or topic. “Let us know what you think”, “Share your opinions” etc.
Day 2: Promotional offer
Share details of an offer that you are currently running. If it’s an exciting offer it will share itself.
Day 3: Service or product outline
Remind visitors of a product or service that you offer. Perhaps something that’s not immediately obvious.
Day 4: Client story
Relate a recent success story. “A customer contacted us with this unusual request… we were able to help by…”. That sort of thing. Keep it concise!
Day 5: Staff story
Share positive stories about ‘the team’, so that your customers can get to know your staff better. Again, keep it nice and concise.
Day 6: Industry news item
Write about or comment on a development which may affect your business and the wider industry.
Day 7: Link share
Share interesting or useful links with visitors. Always add brief commentary to this link rather than just sharing as-is.
Don’t go overboard with direct advertising posts, as it may deter users from liking your page. Balance promotional posts out with ones that provoke and inspire.
Step 4: Use multimedia
Facebook values multimedia content so should always try and enhance your posts with visual elements. Images are good, video is great. Shoot your own photos and videos wherever possible – never just steal something off the internet. If you’re not able to produce your own images consider signing up to an online photo library.
Step 5: Factor Facebook in
Having got the ball rolling you now need to make sure it doesn’t stop! Ideally you need to factor Facebook in as another ‘task’ that needs attention. Delegate where necessary (you can easily grant your colleagues admin access to the page). It’s likely that some of your employees will already be social savvy and they may enjoy the friendly competition of seeing whose posts receive the most likes and shares. Maybe start a ‘social climbers’ league table!
Try and respond to enquiries as soon as you’re able to. This does mean you’ll need to keep an eye on messages outside of your normal working hours. Also note that you’ll often receive enquires via comments to posts, so check for these regularly.
Step 6: Build a community!
It certainly won’t happen overnight but if you keep posting and responding to feedback, your levels of engagement can only increase. Facebook provides a number of useful tools which you can use to monitor how well your page is performing, so try and act on this insight (we’ll explore this in greater detail in a future post). Remember: with engagement comes trust, and with trust comes a sense of community.
Hopefully these steps show you how straightforward it is to use Facebook for business. The only real requirement from you is time. If time is something you can’t really afford, we can help. Our digital experts can manage your Facebook account and other social media channels for you – see here for more details.