Over a billion people from around the world visit Facebook every day to connect with friends and family – and visit their favorite businesses. That’s a billion potential opportunities to get your products or services noticed.
And while having a Facebook page for your business is a good start to building an online community (and attracting new customers), to successfully leverage Facebook for business, follow these 11 tips.
1. Enable native checkout
“For retailers who are trying to grow their business on Facebook, it's critical to think beyond a simple company page,” says Nate Stewart, group product manager at BigCommerce. “While that may help grow visibility, it doesn't guarantee a sale. Instead, retailers need to make it easy for customers to convert without ever leaving the digital walls of Facebook by enabling native checkout. Beyond providing an additional opportunity to make a sale, tools like native checkout create a positive (and simplified) purchase experience for the customer – a win-win in today's competitive retail environment.”
2. Post regularly
“The lifespan of a post on Facebook is very short,” says Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO & chief publicist, Three Girls Media. “The more regularly you post, the higher the chances your posts will be seen. “We recommend at least once a day, although three times a day is ideal. At Three Girls Media, we've seen the Facebook pages we're most consistent with perform best for us as well as for clients. In fact, we've seen many client accounts' engagement improve once we start[ed] posting updates regularly.”
3. Hold contests and giveaways
“Conduct giveaways on Facebook,” says Grainne Kelly, founder, BubbleBum. “This is a great way to grow your social media followings and gain new customers.”
Facebook has an app to help you run a contest on your Facebook page – or you can run a contest or giveaway on your own. It can be as simple as having someone like your Facebook business page and enter their email address to win free product or some other prize.
4. Offer Facebook-only discounts and promotions
Make your Facebook followers feel special by offering them discount codes and promotions only available to Facebook followers, as well as advance notice of upcoming sales.
5. Share content your audience will find fun or helpful
“Share interesting content – and not just about your brand,” says Jody Serrano, communications manager, MainTool. “People can get bored [or turned off] if they see you talk about yourself all the time. However, they will appreciate you making an effort to provide content that’s interesting and useful to them.”
(Though if there’s some big or exciting news about your business – say you were featured on Shark Tank – by all means share!)
“We post anything we think would keep customers engaged,” says David Krippendorf, founder & CEO, kSafe (formerly The Kitchen Safe). “We've showed our product being made in the factory, stories about customers and interesting press. One of our product videos went viral. In the first day of posting, it received 10 million views [climbing to] 25 million [by] Day 3. That has really boosted our sales.”
So how often is it OK to write about your business? “Follow the 70-30 rule on Facebook: 70 percent of the content should be interesting and helpful to your readers, and only 30 percent should be promotional,” says Liza Viana, CEO, CMK Marketing. “People will get tired of just reading about your latest product, service, sale, etc. They want information that is helpful to them or interesting, even fun! Don't be boring and self-serving.”
6. Post original and customer-generated photos (with permission)
When posting on Facebook, include photos of your products, especially people using them. Also encourage customers to share their photos of them using your products. There’s no better testament than a photo showing someone enjoying your products or service.
7. Use native video instead of posting from YouTube
“When posting videos, we tell our clients to embed, embed, embed,” says Patricia Kilgore, owner and president, Sterling Kilgore. “Instead of linking to YouTube, embed the video directly to your page. The videos will play automatically in the news feeds of your fans, which can lead to a significant spike in total views and clicks. It’s a must.”
“If content is king, then video is prince,” says Kelsey Nelson, senior content manager, Ferebee Lane + Co. “If you’re looking to increase the organic reach of your posts, consider adding [video] to your content mix. Facebook’s algorithm favors native video – not outside links to places like YouTube or Vimeo – allowing for a better opportunity for more people to see your content.”
Also “try to keep your videos around the two-minute mark, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different lengths to see how your audience reacts,” she says. “[And] remember that Facebook’s auto play feature doesn’t include sound automatically, so consider onscreen captions, CTAs that direct the viewer to turn up the volume or content that can live on its own without sound.”
8. Make use of Facebook Dynamic Ads
“With the constant changes to Facebook's algorithm it can be next to impossible for a brand to get organic views on a single post, especially if they are not Facebook power users,” says Stewart. “Rather than hoping for the best in the vast Facebook ecosystem, use Dynamic Ads – one of Facebook's newer features – to promote a product catalog. For retailers looking to drive brand and product awareness, this tool not only lets you target specific audiences, but it adds an additional layer to that targeting, putting algorithmic intelligence to work.”
“Create individual ad sets for each demographic you would like to target, including age ranges, gender, or interest targeting,” says Nikki Powley, senior digital advertising specialist, Direct Online Marketing. “This allows you to test and tailor ad copy and images to best communicate with each unique audience. Plus, you can easily add to the daily budget [of your] best performing ad sets or pause low performing ads.”
9. Use Facebook Insights
“Many sources tout the best times to post on Facebook, but don't forget that every audience is unique,” says Kilgore. “Facebook Insights offers a wide variety of data to help your page succeed, including telling you when your audience is most active. Posting when activity is high will increase your opportunity for engagement.”
10. Boost posts
“My top tip for using Facebook for business would be to boost posts,” says Beth Griffiths, content writer, strategist and marketer, Bowler Hat. “Boosted posts help your posts reach more prospects and increase the chance of your post being seen. You can also target a more specific audience based on age, location, interests and gender to get in front of the right market.
“You can boost blog posts, videos, images or any type of content that you want to use to drive traffic to your site, increase brand awareness and boost engagement,” she continues. And “you can choose how much you want to spend on each post boost, and, in contrast to just posting to your page, your content [will be shared across Facebook] to help you achieve your goals.”
Indeed, “a boosted post will show more prominently in the central news feed that Facebook users see,” says Tom Gricka, CMO, BizFi.
11. Use Facebook as a customer service channel
“Your customers will use any method to connect with you, and this includes Facebook,” says Danielle Olesen, brand manager, StickerYou. “When they leave comments, positive or negative, make sure you react fast and respond. Your customers want to feel acknowledged and appreciated, and you can use Facebook to create conversations with your customers and turn a negative situation into an opportunity.”