Even though the majority of businesses today are on Facebook, many small businesses don’t use the site very effectively. Perhaps they think it’s irrelevant, or they perceive it as a waste of time and money, or maybe they are simply intimidated by the prospect of a “social media strategy.” These days, if your business is not on Facebook, you are missing out on a significant marketing opportunity. If you are on Facebook, perhaps you’re wondering how you can maximize this opportunity. Here are five pointers to help you get the most from your Facebook experience.
1. Be engaging (and engaged). Give folks an incentive to visit your Facebook page often. Offering coupons and discounts or even holding contests can attract fans and followers, but you should also mix it up with other content that will inform and entertain your readers. A blend of short but punchy videos, product information, and interesting photos can make your page - and your brand - attractive to readers. Links to articles about issues relevant to your niche or industry, or to topics you care about that are in sync with your brand message, help establish you as a credible resource. If you maintain a blog related to your business, you can link to new blog posts or to older posts that address an issue that’s popped up in the news again. Remember: part of being engaging is to avoid under-posting or over-posting. If you post too infrequently you’ll get lost in the crowd, and if you post too frequently you may start looking a bit spammy.
Related Class: 7 Elements of Highly Effective Facebook Marketing
2. Be accessible. Facebook is a conversation. It’s not all about you; it’s also about your customers, fans, and friends. You can conduct formal or informal surveys, perhaps asking a “Question of the Day” to encourage feedback and spur conversation. You’ll probably find that Facebook is an excellent way to engage in direct conversations with current or prospective customers. Not only can you use this dynamic medium to ask people’s opinions, but you can also address their questions and complaints. Carefully read what people have to say, and respond respectfully even if their comments are negative.
Consistency in tone is important, so even if you have a group of people managing your Facebook content, you should strive for a group “voice.” (If individual “personalities” are part of your Facebook strategy, each one needs to be clearly identified when she posts, but they all need to be consistent with your brand message.)
3. Use Facebook ads effectively. While some Facebook users find ads annoying, many others have no objection to clicking through to something that looks interesting. A Facebook ad campaign is worth considering because of the flexibility; your campaigns can target narrow audiences based on those audiences’ characteristics and interests. One caveat: Facebook frequently changes. Facebook users often complain about the constant “improvements” Facebook makes to its user interface, and many business owners have been flummoxed by changes in its ad programs. For a more in-depth exploration of ways you can maximize the benefits offered by Facebook ads, consider a class, such as this one in the Online Marketing Institute eLearning library.
4. Optimize for mobile. More than three-quarters of Facebook users in the U.S. primarily access the site on mobile devices. Given its importance, you need to make sure the visual content on your Facebook page is optimized for mobile. And if you’re running Facebook ads, there are specific things you need to know about mobile advertising.
5. Gauge your results. There are numerous tools and apps to help you determine whether or not you’re achieving your Facebook objectives. For some businesses, the chief objective may be traffic to your website. You can use your website’s own analytic tool, or Google Analytics, to monitor traffic being driven to your website from Facebook. Many small businesses may measure their Facebook success by sales, and you can choose from an array of tools for completing or tracking sales from your Facebook page. Facebook has become more business-friendly in recent years and has an abundance of information on how you can track your results.
One of the advantages of Facebook marketing is that it allows you to quickly change your strategy when necessary - without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on traditional media advertising and promotions. If you haven’t yet begun to explore the opportunities Facebook offers, there is no better time to jump in and start using it to grow your business.