Facebook is one of the most well-known social networks in existence today. Starting from humble beginnings as a university friend-making tool, it has grown to support and connect billions of users every month. It helps families stay in touch half a world away, connects long-lost friends, and enables you to keep track of the busy lives of current ones. But Facebook’s features and benefits don’t end at the individual and personal level. It is also an amazing tool to help you and your business boost communication and engagement with new and existing customers alike.
So how exactly do you make Facebook and social networking work for you and your business?
Why Use Facebook For Your Business?
The best marketing strategy in the world is useless if it doesn’t reach the intended audience, and when it comes to reaching people nothing comes close to the reach Facebook can offer.
Since breaking the first world records for social media users in 2012 by flying past 1 billion users, Facebook has continued its stratospheric trajectory. Currently, the site sees approximately 2.38 billion active users every single month. To put that into perspective, that is equivalent to just under one-third of the world’s entire population, all in a single marketing channel.
68% of America is active on Facebook, and the numbers are similar for most Western and English-speaking nations — market penetration is lower in Asia and Africa, but still, nothing to laugh at. There is also good representation across age groups, with 35% of those active users being under 25, and an estimated over two-thirds of those over 65.
On top of those mind-blowing user figures, Facebook also serves 80 million small and medium size businesses with their own page, and that number is growing at around 23% per year. It may seem like that’s a good reason to avoid it; who wants to compete with tens of millions of other businesses? But whether you make Facebook a primary marketing channel or a complimentary one, the fact remains that your customers, young and old, new and existing, are on Facebook and you should be too.
Why Having A Strategy is a Must & Easy Tips to Get You On The Right Track
Social networks are, as the name would suggest, social in nature. They are not a fire-and-forget marketing channel such as a TV or magazine campaign. To take full advantage of the benefits offered by getting your business on Facebook, you will need to develop and maintain a strategy; posting the occasional update to your companies’ page is a good start, but is only the beginning.
The first thing to take note of when developing a marketing strategy for social media is that it’s a two-way system. It’s just as important to listen to your customers, responding to their comments, concerns, and issues, as it is to develop a social presence; just as you can reach billions of potential customers, so can a negative comment posted by a customer. Listening doesn’t just extend to you and your customers, though. It’s also vital that you listen to and pay attention to what is being said about your competitors and industry in general — you may just discover new issues and untapped development avenues.
The next two elements of your marketing plan go hand-in-hand, developing influence and networking. Developing influence is largely about creating a reputation for your business; leveraging your prior listening efforts to push engaging content that your customers would find interesting. Once you have some influence, you can start networking with other influences, businesses, and people in your industry. Don’t be afraid to interact with and share content even if it comes from a competitor; social marketing is all about being interesting and engaging rather than drawing lines in the sand.
The final stage of your marketing plan is the social sell. This is where you start to leverage all your work up till now to sell directly to your customers through offers, adverts, and relevant product postings. Be wary of overselling, though. Pushing too much sales material will only serve to annoy your hard-earned followers and destroy your influence — influence is lost much faster than gained!
Here are a few additional tips to help you get started when implementing your social media marketing plan on Facebook;
Vanity URL/ Facebook Web Address — setting up your page with a Facebook Web Address will help you to rank higher and make you easier to find.
High-quality Photos — nothing looks more unprofessional than pixelated, poorly sized images. Be sure to generate images with the correct ratios and sizing’s for their intended usage.
Page Layout — Facebook offers a number of tools to customise the look and feel of your page to tailor the content to you and your business. Be sure to pay particular attention to custom tabs and calls-to-action.
Division of Content — a good rule is that only 10% of the content you post on Facebook should be self-promotion. The rest should be mostly original content, related to your followers’ interests. This could involve questions posed, surveys, interesting articles you want to share etc.
Promote Your Page — promote your page both on Facebook directly through targeted ads, tailored to your users’ age and location demographics, and through external sources such as your business webpage.
Gaining Likes & Building Sustained Engagement
Whatever your goals from your Facebook presence are, “Likes” are the most obvious and simplest metric by which to measure their success. “Likes” show that users are not only seeing your content but are interested enough to interact with it, and they help to propagate content virally.
There are a few ways you can generate “Likes” and use them to build sustained engagement, but before we cover them a word of warning. Never, however tempting it may be, especially at the start, pay for artificial “Likes”. Bought “Likes” are largely worthless since they generally come from click farms and bots (so no real engagement), and may even risk your business’s reputation as Facebook bans and removes the accounts.
So how do you generate legitimate “Likes”? While you can’t force users to like your content, there are a few tricks you can use to increase the chance.
Boosting your “Likes” organically is all about content optimisation. Creating a profile and posts that is easy to find (searchable keywords!) and engaging will help to generate organic “Likes”. Ensure your profile has all the correct and up-to-date business information to make it easy to find. Also, responding quickly to messages will gain you a special green badge further boosting your business credibility and reputation.
Promoted “Likes” are generated by leveraging existing content and connections. Send requests to friends, family, and existing customers through the built-in tools and your business mailing lists. Also, promote and cross-link your page on your website and other social media channels; this not only helps with search rankings but reminds and encourages existing customers to “Like” your page.
While social media marketing and Facebook, in particular, may seem daunting and confusing, it really is an invaluable tool to help both sustain existing and develop new business and is much easier than you think. The potential benefits offered by even passive engagement are huge. The reality is not having a presence on the world’s largest social network is costing you and your business real money.
If you are interested in learning more about Facebook, our team are always available for a chat! Contact us today.