By Laura McLoughlin
Facebook is among the most powerful marketing tools ever devised. It offers access to a potential global audience of more than 1.6 billion. Given that establishing a presence on the site takes a matter of minutes, there’s no reason for a modern SME not to have a Facebook page.
But to get the most out of Facebook, you’ll need to put a little time into honing your page, and persuading would-be customers that your business is worthwhile. This can present something of a learning curve, which might be enough to dissuade SME decision-makers (especially those with more immediate demands on their attention). Here, we’ll provide advice that’ll help you better manage your Facebook page. Let’s go!
1. Maintaining Visibility
- Post regularly
- Get to the point
- Use images
- Use publishing tools
For your Facebook page to appear on people’s feeds, you’ll need to get content out there into the world. Ideally, you’ll want people to engage with it (that means ‘liking’, sharing and commenting) – since Facebook is designed to reward content that keeps users enthralled.
Posts should arrive at a fixed point in the day. For most small businesses, a single daily post is sufficient: flooding everyone’s feed with low-quality content is likely to have Facebook’s algorithms identify you as a spammer.
You will be, for the most part, competing for brief fragments of consumer attention. It’s therefore worth keeping posts as short as possible. There are exceptions to this guideline – if you have a specific controversy to address or a heartfelt ‘thank you’ letter to publicise, your audience might indulge the occasional longer post.
One thing that will almost always improve engagement is the addition of a quality, appropriate image. This might be a photo of the crowdsourced product you’re about to ship, or of the new warehouse – or even a stock image you’ve paid for.
Among the most useful features your disposal are the publishing tools. These will allow you to schedule posts to arrive at a certain time of day, even if you haven’t logged in to click upload. This will ensure that posts arrive consistently while you take care of other things.
2. Optimizing Your Settings
- Keep notifications turned on
- Dial restrictions as necessary
- Connect your Instagram account
Replying to customer messages on Facebook will ensure the continued wellbeing of your brand – but only if you’re aware that they’ve messaged you. You’ll find the notifications tab under Facebook’s settings. By default, everything that happens on your page will result in a notification, but you can also receive notifications via email, Facebook messenger and text.
Facebook is just one of several major social media sites that businesses can use to promote themselves. Another is Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook in a billion-dollar deal back in 2012. One consequence of this is that it’s easy to link your business’s Facebook page to its Instagram profile. This makes it possible to post on both networks simultaneously, hugely upscaling your potential audience.
For certain sorts of business, this is a sensible step: Instagram is mainly used by younger people, who are in turn more likely to access the internet via their smartphones. Crucially, Instagram users are more likely to engage with content than Facebook, with one study putting the figure at 0.09% for Facebook and a healthy 1.6% for Instagram.
Whether you turn the profanity filter on will depend on your personal preference, and the shape of your businesses. Most will likely want to keep their page clean. You can find the filter under the ‘general’ tab of the settings, alongside similar restrictions that you can apply to keep certain ages and countries away.
3. Measuring Engagement
- Use Facebook Insights
- Review demographic information
- Review engagement
For good reason, Facebook recommends that you install their pages manager app. This comes, much like the browser-based Facebook control panel, with an insights page, which will allow you to monitor how many likes and followers your page is generating, and how your individual posts are performing, through a range of helpful line graphs. It’ll also allow you to make changes to your Facebook page from wherever in the world you might be.
As well as providing a means for businesses to reach their audience, Facebook can also allow information to flow in the other direction. You might think that you have a clear picture of the demographics you’re targeting, but your engagement rates might tell another story. The ages, genders, and location will all show up via the app. This information can be used to develop more targeted, more effective marketing strategies in the future.
4. Splitting the Workload
- Grant administrative privileges to your staff
- Track what changes your staff are making
Facebook’s Page Manager allows the user who owns the page to give other people partial control over it. There are six different ‘page roles’, namely Admin, Editor, Moderator, Advertiser, Analyst and Jobs Manager. They each afford varying degrees of control over the page.
You’ll want to grant your staff the privileges they need to carry out their roles. Make someone an ‘Editor’, and they’ll be able to do just about everything except assign new page roles. Make someone an ‘Analyst’, on the other hand, and they’ll only be able to view a few key pages. You can find an exhaustive chart detailing the roles and their associated privileges over on Facebook’s help page.
We’ve just scratched the surface of the tweaking that’s possible when you delve into Facebook. But to get the best from the platform, you’ll need to do more than just check all of the settings and fill in all of your contact details: you’ll need to form a cohesive long-term plan, and take the time to occasionally review your approach to the platform and see how it’s paying off.
As well as being a great way to bring in new customers, Facebook provides a free source of quality market research, and businesses which want to get ahead online would be wise to take advantage!