Having managed a portfolio of social media campaigns for businesses of all sizes and types, I still continue to get asked by business owners "why should my business be on Facebook?".
I answer this question with this analogy.
As a business owner, having a large billboard on a dense traffic route such as the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto would be desired by almost any business. Millions of people would pass by that billboard everyday on their way to and from work. You may never know exactly how many people saw that billboard or were affected by that billboard, but you'll know for sure that a fairly large number people did see the billboard because it's a stretch of highway that millions of people take every single day. Essentially, the business derives value from that billboard in the number of impressions they received.
Likewise, Facebook is like that billboard on the Don Valley Parkway - a place where people pass through every day - a valuable channel for your business to gain impressions and also interact and engage with your brand. Simply put, if you know there's a place where there's a large audience - then make your business presence known.
Here are 3 tips on how to build your business presence on Facebook.
1. Create Your Facebook Page
In order to create a Facebook Page for your business visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php.
There are 6 different page options you can choose from:
- including a local business or place
- company, organization or institution
- brand or product
- artist, band or public figure
- cause or community
Most small and medium sized businesses are likely to create a local business, place or company page.
Once you've selected your appropriate category, proceed with filling out all your business's contact information, about us info, website info and all other information parameters that are listed in the set up process.
Keep in mind that Facebook is a great way for the public to get to know about your business so be as detailed as possible when filling out your business's information in Facebook.
Upload your profile picture and cover photo and ensure that your page is searchable to the public.
Encourage your customers to like you on Facebook and also promote check ins.
2. Prepare A Content Schedule & Deploy It
So now you've set up your Facebook page - what's next? As mentioned earlier, Facebook is yet another channel for your business to gain visibility in the online landscape. So you need to have a plan in terms of what kind of content your page should contain in order to grow your follower base and attract your ideal fans/customer base. Here is a list of the different types of content you could promote on your business page and plan in advance:
- Owned Content: Most businesses in today's day and age will have a company blog. If you have a blog, push out the content from your blog onto your Facebook page.
- Promotional Content: If you're having any specials, promotions or sales - highlight these on your page to drive foot traffic to your store or e-store.
- Industry Related News: It's a good idea to promote other relevant content from trusted sources as well. For example if you're a dentist and the Toronto Star publishes an article on teeth whitening procedures, share this content on your page.
- Employee or company milestones: Highlight employee and company milestones as they come up so people know the personality behind your company as well.
- Local News: Local news and events make for great content as people within your immediate vicinity are more likely to be drawn to that type of content.
- Fun Content: This type of content may bear no relevance to your industry or business but may provide some great entertainment or humour to your fans - such as the Harlem Shake video put out by Search Engine People.
Having your content schedule planned in advance allows for you to effectively manage your content on an ongoing basis and also enhance it.
There is no room for a "set it and forget it" approach when it comes to social media as you constantly need to be monitoring how your audience is engaging with your page and responding as necessary. In addition to putting out content on your page, make sure you are responding to your audience on an ongoing basis.
The more your audience is engaging with your brand on Facebook, the more impressions you are getting on Facebook because now your audience's friends will also see your brand impression in their newsfeed.
So post, listen and respond in a timely fashion.
3. Facebook Ads
Now that your page is set up and your content schedule is planned and rolled out, you need to get your business found on Facebook.
Unless you're a large and established brand like Nike or McDonalds fan growth is not going to come instantaneously.
In the case of most small and medium sized businesses, investing a small monthly budget for fan growth or to promote your content is highly recommended so your business gets that additional visibility it needs. The beauty of Facebook ads is that they have specific targeting options including but not limited to age, gender, location, education, likes and interests and language to name a few. Here are some of the options that are available for Facebook Ads:
- Page Post Ads: This ad option is used when you want to highlight a particular post that is on your fanpage (let's say for example a blog post). The ad will be served amongst to your targeted Facebook users and be shown on the Facebook news feed or sidebar. The feature also allows for user to like a page or post and is effective for fan acquisition.
- Promoted Posts: Promoted posts are slightly different from page post ads in that you can run the ad directly from the post on the page instead of having to go through the Facebook ad tool. Additionally, you would pay a flat rate to reach a certain number of users whereas other ads are paid via cost per impressions or cost per click.
- Offers: These are ads that allow businesses to post an offer (or coupon) on Facebook. To claim the offer, users will have to click on "get offer" from the ad and the coupon will be mailed directly to their email address with details around the discount.
- Mobile App Installs: These are ads that show up in your newsfeed that prompt you to install an app that's available for download. This ad type is effective if you're trying to promote app installs or drive app sales.
- Sponsored Stories: These are ads that show up in your newsfeed and are centered around user activity. For example, if your friend Jane Doe liked the Search Engine People page, it would show up in your newsfeed as "Jane Doe liked Search Engine People". Under this ad option, you are paying Facebook to highlight an activity that a user has already taken on Facebook.
These are only some of the many Facebook ad options you have. Check out the other ad options available at https://www.facebook.com/advertising.
The digital landscape provides many opportunities for businesses to gain visibility in the online space. Whether it's a website, Twitter page, mobile app or Facebook business page - these are just some of the many popular channels for online users to find and get to know more about your business.
Statistics show that online users are spending more time on Facebook than Google - and this number continues to grow especially with mobile users. In light of this development, it's imperative for businesses to establish a presence on Facebook.
So whether you're a small barber shop or a large multi-national corporation, now is the time to make sure your business is on Facebook and leverage your brand.
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