A Facebook Guide for Small Business

By Rob Woods | Social

Mar 16

Facebook has come a long way from being just an ordinary social site to stay connected with friends and family. It is the most popular social media network on the Internet and is a great tool for connecting your business with the outside world. With a few general guidelines and practices, you can use Facebook regularly to grow your business.

Create Your Page

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The first step to using Facebook is to create your page. This will be the link on Facebook where your customers go to see all of the posts you share about your business. To get started, log on to Facebook’s Create a Page site and choose the option that’s best for you. You’ll most likely want to use Local Business Place or CompanyOrganization, or Institution. Once you’ve selected your primary category, you can select a secondary category. Check the “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms,” and click “Get Started.” Now you have a custom Facebook page for your business.

Set up Your Page

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Image via Flickr by Phil SextonDecide what information you want on your page. Include your company name, location, web address, and a description into the “about” section. Add a Cover, the large picture at the top of your page, and a Profile Picture, the smaller picture that will be used to represent your page wherever you post on Facebook. These images can be updated whenever you like simply by hovering over the Cover and Image boxes and selecting “Change Cover” or “Edit Profile Picture.”

What to Post

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Image via Flickr by cambodia4kidsorgPost updates about your business, ongoing and upcoming sales, and contests and sweepstakes you are running. Include posts that will keep your customers excited to visit your page, and engaged while there. Don’t just share content that you create; also share content created by other people that you think would be of value to users. Use the EdgeRank algorithm to track the importance of your posts to your visitors. This will show you what posts are reaching your visitors so you know what type of posts draws more in. Once you’ve created your content and posted it, you can promote your post on Facebook to bring in new customers. Be careful not to post anything that devaluates the post, and is clearly asking for a like or share.

Sharing Content

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Image via Flickr by search-engine-landNow that you have content on your page let your customers know that you’ve posted something new. Invite them to interact via a link on your website or blog. Ask them to “like” and “share” the posts with others. You’ll find the “like” and “share” buttons on every piece of content you post on your page. You can use this to share the post on other Facebook pages. When viewers “like” and “share” your page with their own followers, it increases visibility and your Edgerank. Be careful of how often you’re sharing posts to avoid being locked out of Facebook. Make sure you understand Facebook’s sharing policies.

What type of content you share and how you share it also matters. Pictures and video tend to get better visibility than when you share a URL, and sharing the URL gets better visibility than simply sharing a text update. It’s also advisable for you to share directly on Facebook, when possible, as updates that are shared through third-party sharing apps tend to get a lower base edge rank.

Facebook recently modified their algorithm for posts to somewhat downgrade the visibility of meme type posts and of posts which very overtly ask for a like or a share in the copy around the post. You can still use these posts to some degree but you shouldn’t overuse them and you should expect somewhat less engagement and visibility for these posts then you would’ve seen a few months ago.

How Often to Update

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Posting three times a day is a good ratio. For example, in the morning, announce any events you have going on that day, specials and/or sales, and special announcements. In the afternoon, you could post something engaging for your followers, such as a survey, to help them feel they are an integral part of your daily business. You could also post contests and sweepstakes to enter, coupons they can use to order your products online, and new products you’re offering that they may be interested in. At the end of the day, wrap everything up by announcing any contest winners and promotions coming up the next few days.

How to Respond to Others’ Posts

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In addition to posting, you also need to continuously check your page for comments or posts by visitors, and respond. Throughout the day, log on to your page and look for new comments and posts by visitors. Respond to them and keep them engaged. If someone is asking a question about your business, be sure to answer it in full, and point them in the right direction for anything they need. You can respond to your customers privately in a message if you don’t want to share something publicly on your page.

Understand Your Numbers

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Now that you have a Facebook page that you are updating regularly, how can you determine if it’s working for your business? Your page has a section on top that shows how many visitors you’ve had, how many comments you’ve received, and how many people liked your posts. This Admin panel will help you keep track of your Facebook page.

Grow Your Fan Base

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So, you’re posting regularly, engaging your visitor’s with surveys and offers, and responding to their posts and comments. These are all great for increasing your Facebook fans. Some other ways you can increase visitors is by using ads. Facebook ads can be targeted at specific audiences to drive more traffic to your page. You can create multiple ads to bring more followers to your page. The Facebook ads create tool is an easy-to-use system that will help you set up your ad and determine the best pages to place it, based on your objectives.

Ads are, of course, an added expense but can be very effective at gaining new followers. Facebook ads are also very targetable so you can make sure your spend is reasonably effective. I’d recommend you either test ads on a limited basis, as the spend can get a little bit out of hand if you don’t watch it carefully, or I’d recommend engaging someone who is experienced in marketing through Facebook ads.

Create an Event

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In addition to ads, setting up Facebook events is another way to draw in more visitors. You can set up an Event Page on Facebook to introduce yourself to new visitors and then advertise the event on your page. Invite your followers, and let them know they can invite their followers. Create an event that will draw in a crowd, keep them engaged, and entice them to continue to visit your page. You can create an event to introduce a new product, celebrate a success in your business, or even set up a simple meet-and-greet.

These tips will help you get your Facebook page off the ground, and start working towards growing your business. Keep it up to date and your business will reap the rewards. Be patient with growing your social media following. Growth can tend to start out slow and you may not see much improvement in the first little while, but as you start to increase engagement and gain more followers you should reach a tipping point in which the growth and engagement continues as long as you are diligent about sharing good content and interacting with your users on a regular basis.

Sample Action Plan

Month 1:

  • Make sure your profile is optimized with all your contact info and good profile images
  • Find at least two good brands or influential people follow per week
  • Like or re-share at least three posts that you see on your wall per day
  • Find at least two interesting articles or images from outside of Facebook to share with your followers per day
  • Check your page at least twice daily for any comments or messages that need to be responded to

 Month 2:

  • Ensure that your Facebook page is linked to from your website
  • Ensure you have Facebook sharing on all of your important content pages
  • Find at least two good brands or influential people to follow per week
  • Like or re-share at least three posts that you see on your wall per day
  • Find at least two interesting articles or images from outside of Facebook to share with your followers per day
  • Check your page at least twice daily for any comments or messages that need to be responded to
  • Start sharing your own content that you think will be of interest to your followers

Month 3:

  • Check your Facebook insights to see how much growth in followers and engagement you’ve achieved so far
  • Consider a small test of Facebook ads to gain more followers if you haven’t seen much organic growth to this point
  • Continue sharing and liking content you find on your wall
  • Continue sharing interesting content from outside of Facebook
  • Continue sharing your content as long as you think of the compelling to your followers

I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comments below.

Reprinted by permission from http://www.isoosi.com/blog/a-facebook-guide-for-small-business.html

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