Running a business page on Facebook is no small endeavour. On the outside it might appear like a bit of fun to upload some content and tap into a community hub that will automatically gravitate towards what you have to offer. If that is your mindset – prepare for a shock.
Like any strategy in the online sphere or anywhere for that matter, there is a consistent challenge to engage, understand, respond and venture forward with a proactive agenda. Even in that scenario – a brand is never guaranteed the type of results they are seeking, with other external forces at play throwing a campaign off course.
What is an undeniable fact is the sheer weight of numbers that makes Facebook such an attractive proposition to organisations. The 15 million active monthly users domestically is dwarfed by the 2 billion tapping in around the world, illustrating that any company with ambitions beyond Australia can achieve rapid growth through overseas exposure.
The trick in this case, whether the target is to gain a greater foothold on the local front or branch out to new pastures, is to operate under a model of best practice. Facebook is seen by a certain demographic as the fresh new app on the scene, yet it has been around long enough for millions of case studies to take place.
In that time, there have been some fundamental lessons learnt by brands who have taken risks or opted to play it safe. It is that delicate balancing act that must be appreciated when you are embarking upon a Facebook page for the business. That accounts from start-ups to those that have already moved beyond that initial phase.
Here are 10 vital steps to undertake when running a business page on Facebook.
Slick aesthetic presentation
First impressions matter in the business world. We can examine all of the intricate strategies that can be utilised to ensure that traffic is generated and brand awareness is at the forefront, but none of that matters if the message that is being broadcast from an enterprise appears cheap and second rate. That immediately turns people off, even if other metrics are being met.
The best mode of approaching this step is to generate a cover photo that pops. This is the image that takes up the most space from the get-go and is the only real location on the page that allows for branding to occur.
The logo is another domain that should be respected as a high-resolution image is highly recommended. Do keep track of Facebook’s guidelines on this matter though, because dimensions can shift between desktop and mobile users.
Utilise Facebook advertisements
The adage “you have to spend money to make money” is as old as time in the marketing 101 playbook, yet nothing has really changed in this respect. Of course there are major differences in the application in which money is spent, but with Facebook’s platform it is strongly advised that an organic page presence be balanced with a coherent and targeted advertisement push.
Financial limits can be managed as the user sets their own internal guidelines as per the age and location demographics, shared interests and other elements depending on the specificity of the campaign. Especially when it comes to the geo-targeting of consumers, this tool offers an insight and cut-through that many other marketing endeavours simply cannot match.
Facebook have virtually copied the Google model in this sense to take what Google Adwords provides and mirror it for their own purposes. Despite some initial scrutiny, Facebook advertisements are a tremendous means of scoring high volume views and impressions, channeling targeted groups of people towards your page to become regular followers via the ‘like’ button.
No one wants to login to a bland Facebook page. Naturally a company needs to illustrate a strong, professional standing but in the world of Facebook – social content wins out every time. This places the emphasis on the creative types who can find articles, images, video and anything else that captures the eye and can be easily shared.
Take note of the Facebook pages of your peers and even take cues from the biggest brands on the planet. From Nike to Starbucks, Microsoft and Coles – the common thread among the conglomerates is the need to be engaging through creative content.
All of the tools should be open to exploring for the business:
- Image galleries
- News articles
- Customer profiles
- Promotions and prize draws
- Historical callbacks
The only limit to what you can offer your user base is your imagination.
Seek user feedback
Along the journey to engagement with your consumer base, many questions and debates will be taking place internally. Perhaps the balance is not quite right, maybe one product has passed its used by date or there is a difference in opinion between different segments of the market.
Rather than stewing over these problems and wondering ‘what if’, why not ask the page followers yourself? The whole concept of a social media hub is to open up channels of direct communication, so take advantage of this space and seek user feedback.
The software is at your disposal to do with what you please. This is data that you can access and act on after taking onboard criticisms, praise and general comments that can garner a Facebook experience that matches the habits of the consumer.
A key method of garnering some new traffic is to tie a link between your brand and a trending topic. This ploy can be fraught with danger if used incorrectly, often viewed from the consumer’s point of view as a cynical tactic to score some cheap views (there is truth to this admittedly, but the merits of this strategy is all determined by the context and execution in which it is applied).
The trending topics are designated from general news to politics, science and technology, sports and entertainment, so why not find out what news related items could be applicable to your business?
The magic of the hashtag can open up your brand to a whole new world of visitors. By adding some humor, insight or general comment on something that won’t be divisive or corrosive, the page can tap into a movement or story that the community is invested in right at this moment.
Cross-promotion with other pages
One of the key search engine optimisation principles that always emerge is the necessity to include backlinks. By incorporating these links onto your site in an efficient manner, you tell the search engine that you value the sources of a niche that have authority on the topic. This tactic will often give you points in the ranking process and it boosts the health of brand visibility as a result.
Cross-promoting other companies might be seen as a poor means of gaining a leg up on the competition but it achieves a couple of important points.
Firstly, it illustrates that your operation does not live inside a bubble – telling all in sundry that you realise your base engages with the wider marketplace.
It also opens up channels and opportunities to score organic traffic from more sources, working as a win-win from both ends of the spectrum.
Tap into consumer schedules
Timing in life is everything. One hour too early or too late can mean the difference between a lost lead and a string of new customers banging down the door. This concept applies to Facebook, requiring business operators to be savvy and switched on when it comes to the scheduling of their posts.
The latest studies in this field has produced some figures that should be made for mandatory reading for all Facebook marketers:
- The highest traffic is generated between the hours of 1-3pm
- 7pm posts score higher traffic than 8pm
- Thursday and Friday posts have an 18% increase in engagement than other posts during the week
- The average time spent on Facebook is approximated to be 20 minutes
Clearly the midweek window during lunch hours is primed for content in the social sphere. Should scheduling be an issue whereby resources are stretched or it is simply a case of struggling to remember – then a tool like Hootsuite should be utilised. By logging into this application, businesses can time their posts to meet these demands on the clock to drive a campaign that runs on autopilot.
Keep CTA at the forefront of your page
The call to action (CTA) is the make or break moment for all companies when it comes to their digital strategy. Amid the bells and whistles that drives visibility and caters a message to the wider marketplace, the goal for every organisation is to score more customers to increase revenue and ensure the long-term viability of the operation.
Don’t confuse the CTA with a phone call or an opt-in landing page though. While those two certainly apply to this conversation, a call to action on Facebook is a wider tent that can incorporate a share, like, comment or RSVP to an event.
Anything that manages to get a follower to make an action on your page can classify as a CTA and this activity eventually becomes apart of common behaviour. Encourage it at every opportunity.
You will now notice that individual Facebook pages are judged on their response time. Scoring a rating that is clear for all users to see, brands are now in a battle to ensure that their customer questions and feedback are met with a fast reply – even if that means that the user does not have their enquiry dealt with on the spot.
Just by replying to ask for further details or a chance to speak in a private message, other followers can see that any of their future queries can be taken onboard and acted upon in due time.
For many consumers, the Facebook page is a source of direct communication that can be more favourable than a call or email. Every brand should respect that fact and treat every comment and message as if it was a call or email.