Internationally, the number of Facebook users has grown rapidly since the site opened to the general public in late 2006. Statistics reported in late 2016 by Facebook put the total number of Facebook users worldwide at around 1.13 billion daily active users, making it the most-visited site on the Internet. Many of us are choosing to join Facebook for business. Research in Australia carried out by Sensis Surveys in 2016 shows that Facebook for Business is being regularly used by 48 per cent of small business, 54 per cent of medium sized business and 79 per cent of large business. Business pages are one of the fastest growing parts of Facebook not only in Australia but worldwide.
How do I set up Facebook for Business?
Creating a Facebook page for your business is a really simple process In fact, it’s so easy and affordable that many small businesses are now using Facebook pages rather than establishing a website. Facebook provides its own step-by-step guide to creating a business page.
Our current series of business workshops provides a real time audit, which personalises answers to the critical question: “Are your business communication and marketing channels totally integrated?”
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Understand that Facebook for Business is quite different to your website
Just as you wouldn’t run a radio ad on television, you shouldn’t market on Facebook the way you’d market in a magazine or on your website.
Don’t use Facebook for Business for any ‘hard sell’ communication
Remember that Facebook is very social space where people go to have fun. They go there to chat to friends, check out photos and videos and relax. Hard-sell tactics – such as using advertising slogans, posting repeatedly about a particular product or service, or providing lists of products and prices in isolation from any related conversation – will result in other users ‘unfollowing’ you. They may even post negative comments about your business.
Have a clear goal and a specific business strategy
It’s critically important to have a clear business goal for using Facebook, and a defined strategy to achieve that goal. For instance a café might have the goal of increasing sales attributable to Facebook by 15 per cent in the next 12 months. This strategy might include:
- Creating a post every morningfeaturing a special of the day, using a coupon code so that the sale can be tracked to Facebook
- Post a daily photo featuring a customerwho would be its ‘Breakfast Queen or King’ of the day
- Encourage customersto post their own photos of them enjoying breakfast
Establishing a goal and developing a strategy, gives a direction for your Facebook marketing and a way to measure your success.
Create a human voice for your business
Facebook users like to talk to other people – not to an impersonal business. Whoever manages your Facebook page must be able to write in a voice that sounds real and likeable, using a style that suits the ‘personality’ of your business. They also need permission to express things in their own words, not in the company’s jargon or ‘official line’.
Unlike traditional print and electronic media or other online media, social media are built around frequent updates. Statistics show that around 50 per cent of all Facebook users check their page at least once a day, and they need to see that you are regularly posting new material. Some guides recommend posting at least once a day, but the core principles are to post when you have interesting content, and to judge how often your audience wants to hear from you.
Encourage comments and reply quickly
Make sure that you and all the members of your editorial team encourage other Facebook users to respond to your posts or to post their own comments about your business or a topic that’s of interest to them and you. When your Facebook users do post, ensure that your editorial team responds quickly – preferably within 24 hours is best. Failing to respond weakens your Facebook friends’ willingness to engage with you, and they will slowly drift away.
Use pictures and videos
Pictures and or videos are a key element of Facebook’s appeal. Use different images as often as you can to keep your friends engaged and entertained. For example:
- A shoe retailer could post photos of new shoes as they arrive
- An advertising designer could post day-by-day pictures of new promotional and marketing collateral
- A landscape designer could post an instructional video of how to do a particular garden feature wall, tree planting and shrubs
Nurture your relationships
It takes a considerable period of time to build good relationships with other Facebook users, so be patient it won’t happen overnight. Engage honestly and responsibly in conversations, provide useful content, and develop rewards for loyal customers to help maintain positive relationships.
Promote your Facebook page
With your Business Facebook page, ensure that you always promote it throughout your business at every opportunity. Make sure that your staff, all understand the critical importance of the need for your social media to work hand-in-hand with the business’s more traditional marketing methods.
Ensure your Facebook address is on your letterhead, business card and website, in store, in advertisements, and in your email signature.
Use Facebook Insights to learn more about your customers
Facebook Insights can tell you more about the people who choose to like your page. Once you know your Facebook friends’ characteristics, you can tailor and target your posts and offers to meet their needs and interests.