Aug 23, 2013 • Jessica Jones
Last week in our series about inbound marketing we discussed Pinterest and how to use it effectively to promote your business and improve your SEO. This week we will continue our exploration of the benefits of social media by talking about Facebook.
Most of you are probably more familiar with Facebook than you are with Pinterest; in fact, it’s likely that most of you have your own personal Facebook accounts already. According to recent statistics Facebook has 1.15 billion users - roughly 16% of the population of the world. If you aren’t already utilizing Facebook to connect with your audience hopefully that statistic will help you understand its potential as an inbound marketing tool! And if you think that your target demographic doesn’t use Facebook you may want to reconsider. Social media user demographics show a wide range of people regularly making use of social media, with Facebook being the significant leader in all categories.
So you’ve realized that Facebook is too good of a resource to ignore. Where do you start? First off, you need to make certain that your Facebook is properly set up as a business page rather than a personal profile. If you’ve already created a Facebook account for your business and it was set up as a personal profile you may be tempted to let it go, thinking it doesn’t matter that much, but that would be a mistake. Facebook may disable businesses operating under personal profiles. Facebook’s rules are different for personal profiles vs. business pages, and if you “cheat” with an improperly set up account you may find your account suspended, forcing you to start from scratch and lose the following you’ve worked so hard to gain.
If you’ve been operating your business Facebook as a personal profile and didn’t realize until now that this was a bad idea, don’t panic. It is possible to convert a Facebook profile to a page and convert your “friends” to “likes” in the process. You will have to re-upload your photos and you will lose your history of posts, comments, etc. (you can back them up but there is no real way to restore them to your new Facebook page) but this is a minor setback compared to losing control of your account completely and losing your entire following.
Once your Facebook page is properly set up and ready to go, what do you post? And how often?
Relevant information about your business is crucial - having a sale? Post the details. You could even have a Facebook-only promotion, give your Facebook audience a code or phrase to say in order to get a special deal, or provide them with an exclusive coupon. If your business is involved in any kind of event, charity work, etc., make sure your followers know about it. When there’s an event, post pictures. If you maintain an active blog on your website (which you should consider, something we’ll talk more about in a future post in this series) make sure to post a link to every new blog entry, which will also help drive traffic to your website and, if your link is shared and circulated, give your SEO a boost.
You may find, however, that you still don’t have enough to post about regularly, or that you posts aren’t getting you a significant amount of engagement. Engagement refers to your audience interacting with your posts rather than just watching them go by - are they “liking” your posts, or better yet, commenting on them or sharing them? Your reach - the number of people who see your post - is increased by engagement, so it’s worthwhile to make an effort to engage your customers, reaching out to interact with them rather than just posting dry or static information.
How often should you post? You want to keep your business’s name in front of your audience on a regular basis but you don’t want to overdo it. If you flood their Facebook feed they’ll be likely to block your posts from showing. Anywhere from several times a week to once a day is a good range to settle into.
It’s easy to find tips for increasing your engagement online, but here is a basic idea to start with - don’t just give your customers information, ask them questions! Do you wish you knew more about what your customers want, what they’re looking for, what draws them in? Ask them! You’ll be surprised by how many people will be eager to answer!
Like many things, you can get as in-depth with Facebook marketing as you want. If all of the strategies and metrics seem overwhelming, however, don’t let yourself get bogged down - just remember that Facebook is an incredible tool for simply interacting with your customers. If you use Facebook with this in mind you’re sure to engage your followers and expand your business’s reach!