In this article Mark Tomkins presents his 10 top tips for setting up and running a Facebook business page to get the best out of the platform. He covers the basics of set up, what to post, when to post and an insight in to working out who your audience is so as to appeal to them at the best time.
There’s a 10-minute video followed by a transcript.
1. What is Facebook for business and how to utilise it?
Put simply, Facebook for Business is about leveraging the Facebook business page platform and Facebook paid-for adverts to the best possible advantage for your business. Also to make sure your communications are effective, engaging and, above all, have a purpose. All too often we see businesses using Facebook as if they are talking to their mates on a Friday night. Not necessarily offensive, but inappropriate content, ill-thought messaging and a lack of purpose – what do you want to happen as a result of the post? It is important to consider your post’s purpose as well as your tone of voice before posting something.
2. How to use Facebook for business – driving visitors to your website and not luring them away!
The best sales tool you possess is your website. It’s the 24hr, 365 day a year salesman when you can’t be there. It should have all the information a user needs in order to either get to the point of sale or begin an enquiry.
Drive traffic TO your website.
Make sure that all posts have a call to action that’s to visit your website (a prompt that tell the reader what you would like them to do) . If you don’t have a website, why not? Even if it’s just a couple of pages made on a Wix.com website that you built using one of their free templates (shudder), it is better than nothing.
3. Getting started – how to set the page up, add users and getting the custom URL.
Got one? If not, set one up, nobody can see it until you publish it so don’t be scared. Make sure you add good images, a logo, complete all the fields about the business and what you do (The Facebook tool will guide you). Facebook likes to change things regularly so you won’t know what fields of information it will use and where so fill as much as you can and make sure there’s a call to action.
Once you like the look of it, you can then invite your connections to like it. Remember, Facebook appends a business page to users and you can add other users to that page to manage the content. When you post on that business page you are posting as the business, not you. The business has an identity and a personality – you’re just an administrator of the page.
When your page as more than 30 likes, you can claim the custom URL – eg www.facebook.com/aubergine262
Use this on your marketing material. PLEASE don’t just put the Facebook logo on your marketing. All too often we see Facebook and Twitter logos on websites and vans but no URL, name or address to get to the page which is pointless.
Make it easy for your potential customers:
1. put the address – www.facebook.com/aubergine262
or simplify it – remember 90% of people who use Facebook use the app and not a computer/desktop so they’ll just search for you in the bar at the top of the app:
2. Write ‘search aubergine 262’ on Facebook
4. Likes and followers – don’t buy (ever), ask.
Simple. Don’t buy likes and followers. You are devaluing your brand. Your messages won’t ever be seen by more people only more robots and other like scammers. Better to have 200 real people that you know follow you and read your stuff than 22,000 robots from the Far East.
In short, if you are buying followers, they are following the money, rather than making the decision to follow you. Better to be talking to people who chose to follow you rather than have been paid to follow you but quite clearly aren’t interested in what you have to say.
5. What content to post – using licensed images and the length of your content.
Always use an image or video if you can – it’ll help with grabbing attention BUT make sure it’s not ‘one you found on Google’. Images shown on Google are other people’s images – make sure you have the correct image licence. Don’t be cheap. It’ll cost you a £5 per image to stay the right side of the law and will also make you think about what sort of image is appropriate to the post. Never use watermarked images.
Preferably – use your own!
Content post length. Do not write War & Peace. It won’t get read and will be truncated in people’s timelines. The guideline is no more than 300 characters.
Think like a journo. You’re creating a story – make sure the post has a start, middle and an ending. The ending is the call to action (CTA).
Honestly? I wouldn’t post more than twice a week maximum. Facebook, Twitter and co. all have their own figures worked out on likes and engagement that xxx number of times per day and at certain times are optimum. I say ignore that and work it out for yourself – you know your customers better than they do so trial different times and days of the week and then look at the analytics to see what works for you and your business.
7. Using Facebook Ads – is it worth it?
This depends. It’ll work for local businesses and services – pre-school/nurseries, landscape gardeners, solicitors even. It’ll work for specific products. I won’t work for national businesses unless there’s a specific offer. Let’s say a ‘national tyre fitting company’. If they have a ‘buy one get one free this weekend only’ – it’ll work. If they just run a ‘hey, we’re here and have garages all over the country’ it won’t work.
In short, unless you have a specific offer, Facebook ads are for the local marketplace.
8. Don’t be fooled by the demographic data.
This is a tough one. Facebook make all sorts of claims about who you’re selecting when placing paid-for adverts. You get to choose demographics, ages, gender, locations blah blah. But it gathers its data from profile information. Facebook and other Social Media sources have already admitted that 1 in 3 accounts have false information – so how can it be trusted for adverts?
Go with instinct – if you want to talk to parents about a nursery in the MK area, target users with a wide age range 18-45, don’t be gender specific. Keep it in in a sensible geographic area.
Facebook ads are cheap enough so you’ll pick up the data within a week or so. Adjust it regularly and test what works best. Facebook Insights will help with this.
A recent test by Moz claimed that for just $1 per day you could increase your reach by 4,000.
Reach just means how many timelines has it been delivered to and scrolled past. ‘Engagement’ is what you want. Put out a Facebook-only offer or claim and that’ll help you keep track of the success.
9. Facebook groups – share advice and don’t hard sell.
Most groups won’t allow you to post as a company or business – you have to post as an individual – essentially sharing the company info. They are most definitely worth the effort.
Join local groups – then write a post that directs people to your website or blog. Remember, they don’t know you or what you do. Follow basic journo rules – ‘what, why, when and call to action’. Post in a few groups at a time and then post something else in other groups. If you post the same content in all the groups you belong to (much like other businesses) all you will do is highjack people’s timelines – adios amigo.
10. Engage – don’t set it up and leave it to fester.
If you can promise to yourself to set aside 30 mins to an hour per week for a Facebook page – commit – do it and do it regularly. If you can’t, don’t do it. If you have a Facebook page and it festers and gets left, it reflects badly. Better to not have one than have an old smelly one. Don’t feel compelled to have a social media channel because everyone else has. If you have something to say, you’ll find the right platform on which to say it and, once you have worked out how and with what your readers interact you’ll adjust your frequency accordingly.
And here’s a freebie…!
11. Quality over quantity.
Always. Give your advice away for free. Don’t hard sell. Social messaging is about expressing your expertise not hard selling. Better to do one, good post a week than a pointless and noisy one every day or so.
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