With more than 2 billion active users, Facebook is currently the biggest social media platform in the world. Because of its wide potential reach, many businesses have found it useful for advertising and connecting with customers.
Using Facebook for business purposes can sometimes be difficult. Facebook's rules and algorithms can make it difficult to ensure that your followers see what you post via organic reach. However, Facebook is one of the best tools to use if you want to target a specific audience through paid campaigns. Facebook knows a lot about its users, 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 your page
Creating a business page is fairly 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, location, etc. so your customers know they've come to the right page.
Other important features to pay attention to on your business' Facebook page include:
Add a button
You can add a call-to-action button to the top of your page to encourage visitors to interact. Some examples of things you can have customers do include book services, get in touch, shop, sign up, or download an app/game. Facebook recently rolled out some new call-to-action options, so you'll be able to choose from a wider range 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 at the top of your page takes you to an inbox with messages from your audience. Messages are similar to the regular chat feature on Facebook, but this lets you respond as your page. Keep in mind that your page messages don't come through on the Facebook Messenger app; you have to download the Facebook Page app 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 now 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 tools provided by Facebook. It's free to use, and shows information 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's publishing tools to schedule posts to go live in the future. You can also create videos here, post job applications and create lead forms.
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 time frame 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.
Tips for using your Facebook page
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.
1. Know your ideal audience.
Facebook has excellent targeting tools. It can help you target a specific demographic, location, and interest groups. You have to know who you're trying to sell to first, of course. Once you have an idea of who your ideal audience is, utilize the targeting tools Facebook offers.
2. Be personable, not just salesy.
While you've created a business Facebook page to gain more customers, your audience won't respond well to you 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.
3. Do giveaways and contests.
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 in order 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 the ideal buyer will want.
4. Create and advertise events.
Facebook allows you to create events as your page. You can invite anyone to these events, and pay extra to promote them to a targeted audience on Facebook. Events can be a good way to engage your audience and turn them into customers.
5. Share relevant content from other sources.
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.
6. Have conversations.
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.
7. Highlight business milestones.
Remember the good times and celebrate anniversaries by highlighting company milestones like the anniversary of your opening, your first 1,000 followers, or another milestone. These can help engage your audience and seem more personable. If you're offering a special promotion for any milestones or anniversaries, you can promote them here, as well.
8. Use tracking and analytics.
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 strategies that are most successful.
9. Try scheduling your posts.
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 up some time upfront, it can save you time in the long run.
10. Use Facebook ads.
The best way to reach your desired audience is to run Facebook ads. While these do cost money, they're effective because of Facebook's audience targeting tools. 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.
For more tips on using Facebook for Business, check out this BND guide.
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