Every small business should be on social media, especially Facebook. From its powerful advertisement options to Facebook groups, Facebook has many tools small businesses can and should use. A solid Facebook presence helps you engage potential customers and grow your business.
"Having a Facebook page helps to legitimize your business in the customer's eye," said Jake McKenzie, content manager for AutoAccessoriesGarage.com. "Or another way to look at it is a business without a Facebook profile may seem outdated at the best or untrustworthy at worst."
With so many ways to promote your business on Facebook, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are six easy steps to make Facebook work for you.
1. Create a business page.
If you want to have a solid and professional Facebook presence, you need to create a separate page for your business – your personal Facebook profile won't cut it. A page is like a regular profile, but it's for brands and business. Also, instead of asking to "friend" someone, users must "like" a page to see its posts.
When you set up your Facebook page, you'll notice there are a lot of options to customize it. You should add as much information about your business as possible, including your address, contact information, website, business hours, products, etc. It's important to also add profile and cover photos that reflect what your business does.
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2. Post regularly.
To use Facebook to promote your business, you need to do more than set up a Facebook page – you need to use it and post regularly.
"Post as frequently as you can and, at a minimum, once per day," said Katie Campbell, social media manager at Fundera. "Your audience and customers want to feel like they know your business and can relate to you."
While it's important to post regularly, it's just as important to post quality content. Campbell suggests posts that share behind-the-scenes information and photos about your employees and that shows off your products or services. This shows your dedication to transparency and quality.
If you're unsure what your customers want to see, experiment. You can use Facebook's poll features to ask what they want to see or take a look at Facebook Page Insights, which helps take the guesswork out of sharing.
Facebook Insights is free for every business page and shows valuable information, such as how many people engage with each post and how many people it reaches.
3. Promote your page.
What good is sharing and creating great content if no one sees it? Fortunately, there are ways to build a following on Facebook. When you first create your page, send invites through Facebook to your current customers.
Traditional marketing techniques can also help you grow your audience. You should put a link to your Facebook page in your email signature and on your business cards. It's also good practice to include all of your social profiles on your website and any marketing materials you produce.
Put a special coupon or promotion on your Facebook page, and tell customers to like your page to get the deal. If you create a simple and memorable Facebook URL, it's easier to promote it.
4. Engage your followers.
Facebook's new algorithm favors posts and pages that create engagement. Before posting anything on Facebook, you should ask yourself if it will create a conversation. It's also important to remember that Facebook is a social media platform, so you should be social.
"Businesses should interact with followers by responding to customer comments, questions and concerns," Campbell told Business News Daily. "Use your Facebook page for what it's meant to be: a social site. Get to know your customers' needs by hosting polls and responding to reviews."
The key to engagement is posting quality content. For best results, try to be friendly and conversational. Keep updates timely and respond to comments and private messages.
5. Leverage friends of fans.
People are most likely to try something if their friends already use it.
"Social media is the new 'word-of-mouth.' You want people to be able to tag your business when they're talking about you," said Cat Smith, owner of Get Social with Cat. "Your customers are your best advocates."
When customers interact with your page, their friends will see the activity in their newsfeeds. You can also foster more interactions using polls and asking questions followers want to answer.
Encourage customers to check in to your business on Facebook when they visit by offering a small discount for anyone who does. Checking allows users to notify their friends where they are. Host a contest or sweepstakes and encourage users to post about your business.
You can also create special events and limited-time promotions and invite your followers, who can invite their friends in turn.
6. Try Facebook ads.
If you're having problems reaching users organically, try Facebook ads. Promoted Facebook posts look like regular posts but are highly targeted and reach more people.
Facebook's tools are very effective and make it easy to target a specific audience. You can target people who like your page or by location, age, gender and interests. Because Facebook collects user data, it can target your advertisement to those who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
The platform also features an analytics tool to helps you understand which ads drive interest and sales.
For more information about Facebook for business, read this Business News Daily guide.