Why your business should be on social media
Social media has become a phenomenon that connects the vast majority of us via different platforms. Social media platforms also allow businesses, large and small, to get their brand out before a broad audience.
There is also an expectation that you need to be on some form of social media if you are in business. Consumers want and expect to be able to contact, connect, and interact with your business.
Know your customer base
Knowing your customers and what social media platforms they are using is the key to your social media plan of attack. Different platforms appeal to different demographics, and it is no good being on LinkedIn if all your customers are on Facebook or vice versa.
While it is tempting to jump onto as many social media platforms as possible, you do need to consider just how much time and effort you will have to maintain and monitor these platforms. Businesses are often better off focusing on one or two social media platforms that their customers are using and posting to those platforms regularly.
There is no point having an account on a social media platform if you are not going to post to it for months or even years at a time. Just as disheartening is when a social media account is receiving engagement (comments, likes, shares, messages), but nobody is checking the social media account. All those potential avenues for building client relationships are lost.
Why Facebook is an optimal social network
Facebook Pages and Groups work well for many small businesses, simply because Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms. Facebook is said to have 69% of adults in the US using their platform. Additionally, of that 69% of US adults, just over 50% are reported to check into Facebook at least once a day.
A Facebook Page has many benefits
Gaining organic (not paid for) traffic to your Facebook Page is not as easy as it once was. However, a Facebook Page can still be extremely useful for small business owners.
Having a Facebook Page comes with many options, including the ability to list services, have people book appointments, promote offers or events, and buy from your Facebook shop (automatically imported from your website shop). If you have an Instagram account and want to use the shoppable posts option, you will need a Facebook shop.
Facebook Live, Premiere & Watch Parties
Unfortunately, not everybody that follows or likes your Facebook Page will see all of your posts. Statistics from 2019 indicate that as little as only 6.4% of your total Facebook Page followers may see your posts in their Facebook newsfeed.
Using Facebook Live is reported to be the most effective way of generating organic Facebook traffic. While going “live” can be somewhat nerve-wracking, many articles have tips and suggestions on how to use Facebook Live.
For those that find the idea of going live a bit overwhelming, Facebook has other options for videos uploaded to Facebook Page accounts. You can opt to debut your video as a premiere, or a special watch party.
A Facebook premiere video is said to get almost the same amount of organic traffic as a Facebook Live video, but without the stress and anxiety of doing a live broadcast. It can also allow you to interact with the viewers during the premiere, which may be more challenging to do while broadcasting live.
When you schedule a video you have uploaded as a premiere, a post informing followers of the upcoming premiere is posted to your Page, along with a “get notified” button. People that chose to be notified receive a reminder about 20 minutes before the premiere begins and a second notification 3 minutes before the video premieres. This can help boost your video views, as opposed to the numbers that might see it if you just upload the video as a post.
There is also the option to host a Facebook Watch Party. You can invite others to watch a video with you (a prior live, saved, or suggested video), and you and they can comment on the video as it is playing.
Facebook also has its version of stories. You can upload short videos or images that will show up in the stories section for 24 hours. These stories often feature at the very top of the Facebook feed.
Facebook is a jealous social network
Facebook might be one of the most popular social media platforms, but it’s also the most jealous of the platforms. Facebook doesn’t want its users to leave Facebook, if at all possible. So, when you are posting videos or links from other sites, it helps to have some strategies in place.
If you have recorded a video, you could upload this to your YouTube account and then share the link in a Facebook Page post. However, your video is more likely to show up in the newsfeed of your followers if you take the time to upload the video to your Facebook Page and share that version with your followers rather than the YouTube version. Uploading videos to Facebook will also allow you to put your videos into playlists, just as you can on YouTube. YOu can then separate your videos into different categories.
If you wish to share an article from your website, there are ways to make it more likely that people will see your post about it. Instead of just uploading the article to your post directly, you should upload a photo and mention that the link to the article will be in your comments section.
One advantage of this over posting a direct link is that you can tag products from your Facebook Shop in posts with pictures/videos uploaded via Facebook. If you want to schedule posts on Facebook, the recommendation is to use the Facebook Page scheduler to do so. Other schedulers such as Buffer can do this, but it is only in the Facebook Scheduler that you can tag your shop products (as long as the scheduled post is not a link to another website).
Your Facebook Insights
The Facebook Page insights will allow you to see when people are viewing your content as well as a breakdown of their demographics. This helps determine when to schedule content (even if you are using an outside scheduler).
The Facebook Page also allows you to add “Pages to Watch.” This feature will enable you to add a competitor’s Facebook Page. It gives you a weekly overview of their statistics compared to your own. The statistics include their total number of page likes, what percentage of those likes have been acquired in the past week, how many posts they had that week, and the amount of engagement that week. It also has your statistics listed so you can compare yourself to them.
Don't make people regret following you
There are many people on Facebook, and generally speaking, they are there to connect with friends and family. Some people recommend posting on Facebook several times a day. Still, I imagine there are very few accounts that most people would welcome seeing multiple posts from every day.
In a similar vein, most people don’t want to be sold to all the time. A ratio of 80% content that is of interest to your followers and 20% selling or promoting your content is often the sweet spot for many social media accounts.
Building a community
If you want to engender a close community, you can start a Facebook Group connected to your Facebook Page. With a Facebook Page, you can give more one on one focus to followers. You may choose to offer this to anyone, or as a special bonus only available to buyers/subscribers to your services.
You can opt to have units of information in Facebook Groups for members to learn at their own pace. Discussions (posts) in groups are searchable, and you can recognize members that are particularly responsive with various badges.
As groups grow, the need for monitoring grows. It is often a good idea to have admins available to make sure that people are not spamming the group, and that members remain civil toward one another.
Facebook Pages also have their own Facebook Messenger. You can elect to have automated responses, have your messenger answer frequently asked questions, or allow others to message you directly. Your Facebook Page messenger can be added to your website as well.
You can also connect Facebook Messenger to a chatbot that can take on some automated processes for your business. You can set the chatbot up to anticipate what people might be interested in learning about your business or notify subscribers of updates. People can subscribe to your bot, although there are strict rules about whom you can message, how often, and what type of content the bot can send.
Recommended Actions for Facebook Pages
- Post at least once a day, or at a bare minimum at least once a week.
- Know your audience and adjust as needed. If you are posting too much, some followers may choose to hide you, unfollow you or unlike your Page.
- Consider having a weekly theme for posts. You could have a day for sharing a quote, another for asking followers a question or post a handy tip on another day. You can show behind the scenes of your business, have a day for live streams, a quiz, or AMA (ask me anything).
- Plan ahead for the holidays, seasonal events, and even silly nominal days (happy donut day, etc.).
- When posting content, be sure to encourage engagement. Pose a question, ask for their thoughts, or even select a poll to post with your question.
- If someone has commented on one of your posts, respond to them. Either thank them, respond to their question, or even better, ask a follow-up question where applicable.
- You can tag products from your Facebook shop to posts that have photos or videos that you uploaded to Facebook to post.
- You can also post events, offers, and stories. If you have an offer or an event to promote, make sure to take advantage of Facebook’s tools to do so.
- It doesn’t have to be your content at all times. Followers often like a silly meme or you sharing other material that may be relevant to them. Followers want to be engaged with, but they don’t want to feel sold to all the time.
- Most social media platforms that encourage sharing of content recommend a ratio of 80% other content/non-selling to 20% of your content/selling.
- Many scheduling apps can provide content ideas for search terms you enter. That way, you can schedule other people’s content as well as your own.
- If you are stuck for more content ideas, creating Google alerts for specific topics or looking at Google trends might be helpful.
- You need to, at minimum, check into Facebook once a day and check for Facebook Messenger messages, and comments on your posts.
- Facebook notes how quickly you respond to messages and will often indicate this on your Page. While different time-zones can present challenges, and life can get busy, going days without responding to messages is not good.
- Your Page will also notify you when someone has shared your content. When this happens, it is helpful to visit their page/profile and thank them. This is not only polite, but it counts as engagement. Facebook lists engagement on posts, including shares.
- If you are a member of groups related to your industry, you can sometimes choose to join under your Private Profile or as your Page. Offering advice to others in groups is good public relations. Many groups will have rules about promoting yourself or asking people to pm or message you privately. If you are using your Personal Profile in a group, make sure that your Facebook Page is listed on your Private Profile so that those that are interested can find your Page.
- If you have your own group, check in to see if there are any requests to join, and what is being posted in there.
- Especially when groups are small, it is good to encourage interaction by asking questions or suggesting topics for discussion. Be sure to look over what has been posted to make sure that there is no spam or obnoxious behavior.
- Finally, make sure to check out your insights at least once a week. Note what types of posts do well, and what times your followers are online. If you have other pages that you are watching, maybe visit their Page and see what is working for them.