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Grow Your Business Social Media

Facebook for Business: Everything You Need to Know

Facebook tips, business
Credit: Gil C/Shutterstock

With more than 2 billion active users, Facebook is a cheap and effective way to market your business. Using Facebook for business purposes is sometimes difficult, because its rules and algorithms can make it hard to ensure your followers see your posts.

However, Facebook is one of the best tools for targeting a specific audience through paid campaigns. Facebook knows a lot about its users (more so than we ever thought), and it uses this information to your advantage when you purchase ads.

Here are the basic features of a Facebook brand page and how to use them to your advantage.

Creating a business page is mostly straightforward: Facebook guides you through the steps, and you can always visit the help center for assistance if needed. Keep in mind that to create a business page, you need to have an existing personal account on Facebook.

Beyond the basic general information required by Facebook (name, username and business category), be sure to include as many details as you can about your business, such as your contact information, website, social accounts, default and cover photos, "about" section, hours, and location so your customers know they've come to the right page.

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These are some other important features to pay attention to on your business's Facebook page:

You can add a call-to-action button to the top of your page to encourage visitors to interact. Things you can have customers do include get in touch, shop, sign up, or download an app or game. Facebook recently rolled out some new call-to-action options to give you a wider selection of buttons to display for your page visitors.

On the left-hand side of your page, you can add a link for reviews. Here, customers can leave a star rating and write a review on your business. Reviews and ratings show up at the top of your page. These reviews help verify your business and make it easy for satisfied customers to recommend your product.

The community page is where posts, photos and videos from customers show up. Customers can also check in to your store here. This page is a great area for your audience to interact and learn more about your company.

The messages option at the top of your page takes you to an inbox with messages from your audience. This is similar to the regular chat feature on Facebook, but it lets you respond as your business. Keep in mind that your page messages don't come through on the Facebook Messenger app; you must download the Facebook Page app (iOS, Android) to receive these messages on mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger is an important customer service tool, and customers expect you to use it. In fact, Facebook tracks the response rates and times of brand pages so customers know how quickly they can expect an answer. As your business grows, however, it may get more difficult to keep up with the volume of incoming messages.

Messenger has several new tools and updates that make it easier for brands to engage with customers on the platform, including Natural Language Processing for Messenger chatbots. It's also easier and more attractive for consumers to use, especially if they are making purchases. When purchasing via Facebook, customers can now use Payments on Messenger for a one-step checkout process.

This is an analytics tool provided by Facebook. It's free to use, and it shows data on actions taken, page views, the number of people you've reached, the number of post engagements and more. This information can help you create social campaigns that are effective.

You can use Facebook Publishing Tools to schedule posts to go live in the future. You can also create videos, advertise your business, promote an event, make an offer, write a note and post job applications here.

Facebook recently rolled out a polling feature that allows you to get your followers' opinions, similar to Twitter's polls. This tool lets you give respondents two options (25-character limit for each), and you can set a specific timeframe for your poll to run (one day, one week or custom). To create a poll, go to your Page Manager and select "create a poll" from the icon menu below the Write Something box.

Once you've created your business's Facebook page, the real challenge begins: creating and engaging an audience of followers and customers. Here are 10 tips to help you along the way.

Facebook has excellent targeting tools. It can help you target specific demographics, locations and interest groups. You need to know who you're trying to sell to first, of course. Once you have a mental picture of your ideal audience, utilize the targeting tools Facebook offers.

Though you've created a business Facebook page to gain more customers, your audience won't respond well if you're only trying to sell them your product or service with every post. Try to be personable in your Facebook posts. Help your audience feel comfortable with you by sharing more than marketing content.

It can be difficult to get organic traffic on Facebook, but doing giveaways and other contests can help. You can use services like Rafflecopter to offer an incentive for liking and following your page. It's a good idea to get followers to share your page to qualify for the contest. Be sure the giveaway is relevant to what you're selling. You want to attract the ideal audience, so don't give away something random; give away something that your ideal buyer would want.

Facebook allows you to create events as your business. You can invite anyone to these events, and pay extra to promote them to a targeted audience on Facebook. Events can be a smart way to engage your audience and turn them into customers.

It can be time-consuming to create and share only original content. You can save some time and effort by curating and sharing relevant content from other sources that your ideal audience would also be interested in. Networking with these other sources might benefit you in other ways as well. Some of these sources might share your content in return, which can help you connect with a wider audience.

Don't just publish a post and then be done with Facebook for the week. Create and share posts that will engage your audience, and then respond to their comments, questions and concerns. If you're having conversations with your audience, they're more likely to become your customers.

In January 2018, Facebook announced it was making major changes to its newsfeed algorithm. With this change, Facebook will prioritize personal connections and engagement. In short, your posts won't be seen unless they generate a conversation.

Remember the good times and celebrate anniversaries by highlighting company milestones like the anniversary of your opening or your first 1,000 followers. This can help you engage your audience and seem more personable. If you're offering a special promotion for any milestones or anniversaries, you can promote them on your page as well.

Facebook offers insights and analytics on how your posts are performing. Take advantage of these statistics to find out what kind of content is engaging your audience. Adjust your posts according to what you find to become more engaging, and reuse the most successful strategies.

If you find that you're spending too much time on Facebook each day, you can try scheduling your posts. You can do some of this in Facebook itself, or you can use a third-party platform like Hootsuite or Buffer to create and schedule content to share in the future. While this does take some time upfront, it can save you time in the long run. For more information about social media tools, read this Business News Daily guide.

The best way to reach your desired audience is to run Facebook ads. While these do cost money, they're effective because you can choose your targeted audience based on demographics, behaviors or contact information. You can choose a daily or overall budget for ads, select the amount of time an ad runs, and adjust your desired audience. Facebook tracks the interactions on each promotion you run, which can help you develop highly successful campaigns in the future.

If you're scrolling through your Facebook timeline, you might notice a lot of videos. That's because videos do great on the platform. One way to create Facebook videos is through Facebook Live, which allows you to broadcast to a large audience for free.

"Facebook Live is one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools a small business can use to engage with their market," said Elizabeth Giorgi, founder and CEO of Mighteor. "In today's mobile-first world, live video serves as a way to connect directly with the followers you have acquired on your social channels instantly."  

With Facebook Live, you can have real-time conversations with your followers and give them an inside look at your business. For more tips on how to effectively use Facebook Live, read this Business News Daily guide.

Facebook also puts a priority on video and is trying to keep video creators on the site. In March 2018, it announced it was launching a new subscription feature for videos creators. Users will have the option to pay $4.99 a month to video creators in exchange for exclusive content.

For more tips on using Facebook for Business, check out this BND guide.

Additional reporting by Jill Bowers and Nicole Fallon.

Saige Driver

Saige Driver graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism. She started her career at a radio station in Indiana, and is currently the social media strategist at Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.