Many small businesses have a Facebook page just because every businesses seems to have one. They have no plan on how they want to use Facebook to grow their business. I do believe almost every business should have a social media presence as the web is getting more and more social especially in the all important area of search. However simply having a presence is not enough you also should have a plan on how to use each social media channel. With that being said let’s look at how to optimize your companies Facebook page. I discussed in a previous post on how to properly set up your Facebook timeline so if you are at that stage please check it out first. Deciding on a Facebook strategy is essential before you delve into using Facebook for business. It would be a good idea to do this even before you setup your business timeline. In order to get a clear idea of how to use Facebook for business you should first determine a few things:
What goals does your company have in terms of Facebook?
Determining the outcomes you want from you Facebook strategy is vital. It will help answer the question of why to use Facebook? Rather than just because every other business is on it. To help you get a better idea on how to go about setting your Facebook goals here are some examples:- Acme Toy Company wants to increase traffic to their website via Facebook by 10% by the January 30th 2013.
- Acme Florist wants to use Facebook to raise online orders by 15% by September 30th 2012 using Facebook.
- Acme Business Consulting Service would like to increase top of funnel leads by 25% by November 15th 2012 using Facebook.
You will notice that all of the Goals listed above are measurable and time bound. Now that you have the goal or goals set you now have to go about the process of implementing a process using Facebook to help you achieve your goals. We will cover that a little later in this post. Let’s finish answering the other questions first.
How does it fit in your overall marketing plan?
I am sure you have seen a “like” or “fan” us on Facebook on many companies offline and online campaigns outside of Facebook. What marketing materials or media that you currently use can you also incorporate your Facebook strategy into? Do you send out direct mail? What about signage? Commercials? Online video? Magazine ads? To see how this works in relation to one of the goals mentioned previously look at the chart below.
Who in your company will be involved in content creation/distribution, customer engagement, campaign creation/management and any other facets related to your Facebook strategy?
It is important to make someone responsible for your social media activity. Not that this person does all the tasks but ultimately makes sure everything outlined in your plan is done. This is something you can outsource to a consulting agency such as SuperHero Marketing and they can help create a plan and outline various tasks necessary to accomplish objectives. The agency can help you assign roles and responsibilities and provide follow up to make sure everything is on track. We do not recommend outsourcing all your social media tasks to the agency as they will never be able to communicate your message as well as someone within the company that is involved in day to day activities. However they can implement and assist in executing various campaigns using social media. If you choose to keep everything in house you need to make sure to assign roles and responsibilities to your social media strategy. Consistency and accountability are essential to the overall success of your social media strategy.
What type of work related to your Facebook strategy can and should be outsourced?
As mentioned earlier we do not recommend that you outsource all of your social media tasks. After all social media is at it’s heart about more personal connections and engagement and the more detached your company gets from it’s social media presence the less you will be able to properly evoke your business’s message and values. It is possible to create a “corporate” feel to your social media engagement by outsourcing everything and/or just pushing promotion after promotion. That however is the wrong way to go about social media. Everyone has heard people do business with those they know, like, and trust. That sentiment should be kept top of mind when executing your social media strategy.
If you do outsource make sure that the company you outsource to takes some time in really getting to know your brand and company. Some of the companies that have been the most successful using social media have done so by actually engaging rather than by pushing products or service. If you have someone on your staff that really “get’s it” when it comes to the essence of your company and is naturaly engaging and outgoing – That person is most likely the best choice to be your chief engagement officer. Essentially engagement should be handled in house as much as possible. It is a good idea to hire a consulting agency to get you off and running and then to help plan and assist in the execution of campaigns. The agency can also be responsible for tracking progress in relation to company goals and adapting the strategy based on data feedback.
How often will measurements be evaluated and the strategy adapted based on those measurements?
How often you measure results should be based on the size and rate of growth of your audience. The more data there is to analyze the more frequently it should be done. Even with small audiences things such as reach, conversions, traffic, leads generated, should be checked at least on a monthly basis to make sure everything is progressing based on the companies goals.
Now that you we have laid a foundation – Let’s talk about how to properly execute a social media strategy.
One of the most common questions that comes up is – How often should I post? My answer is usually as much as possible – However that answer is not measurable. So how often you should post should be in direct relation to your goals. If your goal is to increase website traffic by 10% by January 30th 2013, then initially we do not know how often to post to reach that number until you have some initial data. So for the first month you should should set a consistent schedule such as posting 5 times a day with two of those posting having links to your website. Then examine the analytics at the end of the month and see where you are in relation to your goal. At that point you should have a good indication of whether the number of posts should increase or decrease. Initially when growing your audience frequency may need to be a little higher as you have a smaller audience clicking through.
The next question most businesses have is what should I post?Below is a list of some ideas.
- Link to your companies blog – You should have a blog for your company. The benefits of having a blog that your company is committed to are numerous. One of the biggest benefits is providing fresh new original keyword rich content for search engines. I will post another post outlining all the benefits of a blog in another post – Just know that your company should definitely have one.
- Behind the scenes – What goes on behind the scenes at your company that your audience may find interesting?
- Highlight your favorite customers or vendors – Tell your customers how much you love them. If possible tag them in posts. There are many ways to do this including picking a customer of the week/month. You can also showcase one of your vendors or business partners. They may just return the favor.
- Employee Spotlight – Got an employee that always goes above and beyond. Showcase them on Facebook (and link to their profile on the website). This lets your audience see the real people behind the company (Remember – Know, Like, and Trust).
- Video – Got a new product you want to show off? Or better yet how about a customer testimonial? Video is extremely engaging and the content possibilities are endless.
- Photos – Pictures of customers using your product or service, behind the scenes pictures, product pictures, you get the idea.
- Contests – Engage your audience with contests ( Link the post to details about the contest on your website or a Facebook app). A more immediate contest example would be – in the comments come up with a caption for this pic and receive _____.
- Link to interesting content related to your industry.
- Events – Is your business holding an event or participating in an charity event – Let your Facebook followers know.
- Promotions – Yes you can actually promote products and services on Facebook. The best way to do this is to not make promotions the majority of your content on yous Facebook page. They also should be tied to a landing page so that you can measure conversions.
- Education – Educate your audience about what your business does.
That should take away all the excuses of not knowing what to post.
Another common asked question is how do I get people to like the Facebook business page? - When first getting started you should reach out to your existing networks – Got an email list? Email your current customers and prospects. As mentioned before you should promote it thru your existing media -Website, Other social media channels, add it to directories if possible, signage, Direct mail, Coupons, Commercials, etc… We often recommend search ads when companies first launch a website. In this case it may also make sense to use Facebooks advertising to help build your initial audience. You should also make sure your page is publicly searchable. Are you primarily a local business? Create a list of personal Facebook friends that are local to your area and invite them to like your page. Do you have business associates, relatives or customers that love you? Ask them to help promote your page. Like other business pages on Facebook especially those of vendors and businesses you have done joint ventures with in the past. They may end up liking you back and/or promoting your page.
What else is Facebook good for? You can also use it to promote your other marketing channels – You can use it to gain subscribers to your email lists and blog. Ask your followers to subscribe to your Youtube Channel or follow you on Twitter. Sometimes all you gotta do is ask. You can also ask your followers to share your content – Example: Did you love this video? Share it with your friends. Yes I know the share button is there but a little extra nudging never hurts. Also remember to interact with Fcaebook as your business identity -Work out cross promotion opportunities with other businesses. Well that about as much as I can cover without this post becoming ridiculously long. Thanks for reading – post any questions in the comments and I will be glad to answer.