Over 50% of small businesses have a Facebook Marketing budget of less than €200 – so how can they manage to have a successful and engaging presence on Facebook and use it as a means to drive traffic to their website or bricks and mortar business resulting in an increase in sales?
What are the steps needed to follow for success?
No. 1. Put in the right foundations
In other words, set up your Facebook Business Page correctly. Use a professional looking cover image, and an equally professional looking profile image – this should be your company logo – something that gives instant recognition to your brand as it is the image that appears next to your posts and comments on all pages.
Complete the entire Basic Information section, paying particular attention to the “Short Description” “Description” and “Mission” sections. This is where you’ll describe what your business is about, use keywords that people might search for you with.
No. 2 Nurture, grow & encourage your fans
You want happy cheer leader fans, fans who love your product or service, fans who will recommend you to their friends. So how do you do that?
The first thing you should do is identify who your perfect customer is – what are their demographics – quite often it is good to actually sit down and write down the full profile of your perfect customer, i.e. female, married, thirty something, has 2 kids, lives in the suburbs, car driver, interested in crafts and home making, does some baking, loves entertaining, takes weekend breaks four times a year, fitness fanatic, dresses to impress, always organised and punctual – her name is Sally.
Now think of Sally when you’re thinking about what might interest her in your business – what problems might she have that need to be solved? What can you sell to her that would make her happy or that would sell her the idea of happiness – maybe you’re a travel company and you do “total care packages”, maybe you have a stationary company and you sell the most amazing little wall charts, daily diaries, organising calendars – do you see how what you have to offer should fit in with the lifestyle and demographics of your perfect customer?
No. 3 Engagement, engagement, engagement
Constantly provide your customers with value, get them engaged with you on your page. Ask questions that are easily answered – i.e. ‘what’s your fav holiday destination”? “what car would you love to own? “use one word to describe your…..” Ask questions that fit in with your business, ask questions that you need answers to, maybe show them different designs for a new product – ask which one they prefer the look of – what product improvements could be made on an existing product – what products would they like to see – people love being asked for their opinions and they love it even more if you pay attention to what they express in their opinions!
Let your fans tell you a little something about themselves – you could choose one day a week – “Fans on Friday” – and give them a chance to promote themselves, – again you’re showing that you’re interested in “Sally” or whoever your perfect fan is!
If a fan asks a question, mention them by name in your response – the most important word in the whole world for almost everyone is their own name – so use their name and you’ll almost certainly get their attention! Engage in conversations with them, keep it interesting and lively, and never, ever discuss anything controversial on your page, no matter what your views are, especially political or religious.
No. 4 Don’t shout about your brand ALL THE TIME!
A big mistake a lot of Facebook page owners make is that they think they should only focus on their own brand, and that they shouldn’t engage with, follow or mention any other brand as they could be driving traffic away from their business. Wrong. You must be proactive in following and liking other business pages, comment on posts that are of interest to you, that are in your field, pages that “Sally” might also like. Fans don’t want you shouting about all the stuff that you do, they want to be loyal to you but you have to provide them with what interests them. Think of the High Street and your favourite shop, let’s imagine that it’s called “Whispers” and they sell cushions and bedding etc. You decide to go shopping with your friend and you are walking towards “Whispers” but as you approach the shop the owner is standing at the front door, shouting out about all the wonderful offers that they have in store. The shouting is getting louder as you get closer, so instead of you bringing your friend it to show her the beautiful embellished turquoise cushions that you saw there last week, you cross the street and avoid “Whispers” like the plague!! Online is not much different to offline when attracting customers and fans. Remember DON”T SHOUT! You can intermittently sprinkle the news of your “latest offers” or “new stock” with lots of other information that is of interest to “Sally” – be subtle but be effective – remember it’s all about engagement.
No. 5 Reward your Fans so that they become your greatest cheerleaders
When your fans are on your page and engaging with you, it’s time then to give them some rewards! Yes, keep them sweet! But first you must get them to your page.
How are you going to do that? There are many different ways to promote your page and let your customers know that you are on Facebook.
- Facebook Ads can be a very effective and low cost way of getting in front of all the “Sallys” that your business wants to attract. They are very targeted and can be aimed at the exact demographic that your niche business targets.
- Experiment with the use of different Headlines and images until you find the most engaging Ads – the ones that get the clicks! DigitalMarketingSolutions.ie are experts at helping to create and promote FB advertising campaigns.
- Use social plugins on your website to alert your customers to your presence on social media platforms.
- Set up a Twitter Account and LinkedIn Account and again promote your presence on FB. Connect your FB page to your Twitter account so that everything that you say on FB is also shared on Twitter as these platforms can have two very different audiences.
- Use signature icons and links back to all your online presences on all emails that are sent out from your company – make yourself easy to find!
6. Optimise your content
Your goal is to get your fans talking about and sharing the content that you publish on your page, the more they do this, the more your audience will grow. By keeping a close eye on your Page Insights (found in the Admin panel of your page) you will be able to see which posts got the most engagement, the metrics will vary depending on the time of day, day of the week, images included, url’s linked, questions asked, other page or url contend shared with or without images.
You’ll also need to examine who your audience is based on the fans who have already “Liked” your page. Click on the Likes tab for details of where your fans live, their age profile, gender – all of this information is very useful when planning your content. (For example if most of your Fans are in a different time zone than you are, then they will never see posts that you publish during your normal working hours – you will need to schedule your posts so that they appear in your fans newsfeed at a time when they are most likely to be logged onto FB. Keep checking back at your page Insights on a regular basis to ensure that you are current with any trends relating to your page, also to aware of where your fans are coming from and if they are leaving, then you’ll need to examine you data to find out why.
7. Publish effective wall posts
Some marketers might tell you to only publish your posts Monday to Friday, however if you do this, then you’re missing a large part of the action on FB. Saturday and Sunday posts generally get a high proportion of interaction and engagement as people tend to have more free time to browse through their networks and spend time on the pages that they follow.
You’ll need to experiment with different post times for the industry that you’re business is in, for example if you have a restaurant then most likely most of your engagement will be at the weekend when people are planning on making a reservation or they’re commenting on somewhere they’ve already been to and enjoyed, or possibly not enjoyed!
Use Sundays as a time to reinvigorate your fans about your business, tell them what you’re planning for the coming week, where you’ll be, any special promotions that you’re running, throw in some humour to your posts and generally get into the “unwinding space” that the weekend may have created for your fans. Show them you’re thinking about them, but don’t bombard them with information overload.
8. Schedule your posts using FB’s scheduler.
Until you have a perfect understanding of the most effective times to post for your page, experiment with various types of posts throughout the day and night, weekdays and weekends. Remember people have more time to browse online in the evening time and at weekends!
Publish your posts one to two times a day, your aim is not have approximately ten posts a week that you have created, however reacting and responding to your fans engagement on your page should take place pretty quickly – these responses are not counted in your ten a week!
Now you’re probably wondering what you should say in your posts! Initially keep your posts short, fewer than 80 characters and you’ll have found the sweet spot for more active engagement. And don’t forget the image (or video), yes DON”T FORGET THE IMAGE!! Pages that include an image or video in their posts will receive much higher interaction and engagement.