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Laura McLoughlin

Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR with a background as a web editor and writer. She currently works with branding agency Omnia.

Laura McLoughlin has written 2 articles for SB Informer.
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Getting the Best from Facebook’s Business Features: A Guide for SME

Laura McLoughlin

September 10, 2019


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The internet provides a powerful means of getting a message out to a vast audience. And nowhere is this power more focussed than in the world of social media. Every day, billions of us log onto one of the major social networks – and a sizeable proportion of us log onto two or even more of them.

Of the major players, Facebook probably has the most to offer the average SME. A broad range of demographics use the site, and there are powerful features in place to help put businesses in touch with their customers – and to collect actionable data on those customers.

But for many businesses on Facebook, the site can be a little overwhelming. If you’re short on time and resources, then investing them into learning how to get the best from Facebook might not seem particularly attractive. But do so, and you can reap considerable rewards.

So, without further ado, let’s examine some of the ways that you can get the best from the site with minimal time investment.

Optimising your Page

  • Put Images into Place
  • Fill in Every Detail
  • Make yourself Present

Your Facebook page is the front-end of your presence on the site. Your customers will come here looking for your business, and you need to make the right impression. That means filling in both the profile picture slot and the cover image. The former is the small picture which will appear beside every post that your business makes; it should almost always be your logo. The latter is the large banner that appears over the top of your page, and needs to be consistent with the rest of your branding.

Your page should include any contact information and links to your website. Your customers will come to your page looking for this stuff, and if they can’t find it within a few seconds, they might well give up and look elsewhere.

Forming a Posting Strategy

  • Post little and often
  • Post visually-engaging content
  • Include a Call to Action

Your would-be customers are looking, for the most part, for short, snappy posts which they can absorb in a few moments. There’s a place for longer-form content, but Facebook isn’t that place. Exceptions occur when you have a special announcement to make. Important posts of this (or any) sort can be pinned to the top of your page’s feed to ensure maximum visibility.

Visual content is near-guaranteed to improve engagement. That means images and videos. Even if what you’re doing doesn’t lend itself to pictures, the right stock image can help every post to stand out.

Your Facebook posts should aim to incite participation. The best way to do this is with a direct call to action. Your audience is more likely to visit your website, like your page, and ultimately buy from you, if you tell them to do so. So don’t be shy about it!

Dealing with the Settings

  • Keep Notifications On
  • Connect to Instagram

Navigate to your settings panel and you’ll be confronted with a host of tweakable options. So which ones are worthwhile? To begin with, you’ll want to keep notifications to a maximum. That way you’ll be kept constantly apprised of new contacts. Facebook keeps track of your average response time and puts it onto your front page, so it’s important to reply promptly, every time. Notifications can be received via text, e-mail, or Facebook messenger.

If you have an Instagram account, then it’s worth connecting it to your Facebook one. This will allow you to post to both networks simultaneously. This is buried in the options a little, but for the meagre effort required it’ll substantially boost your online presence.

Measuring Returns

  • Track the right metrics
  • Formulate Goals in advance

Facebook offers numerous ways of tracking the success (or failure) of your posts. But not all of these methods are worthwhile. The proportion of people who ‘like’ a given post, for example, matters far less than the proportion of people who actually act upon the post and click through to your website.

When measuring returns, it’s worth deciding in advance what success or failure will look like. This will allow you to maintain objectivity over months and years.

Buying Exposure

  • Pay to get started
  • Use paid posts to test new content

Facebook allows users to pay for a certain amount of clicks up-front. This works by putting your post onto the feeds of users who are predisposed to find your content attractive. Since you are paying for the clicks rather than the exposure, every penny you spend in this way will go towards bringing someone onto your website. This allows new and smaller businesses a chance to jump-start their time on Facebook. You’ll be able to stipulate an audience based on what you know about your existing customers, and Facebook can even identify a ‘Lookalike’ audience that shares the same demographic traits.

One practical use of paid clicks is the testing of new approaches to marketing. You might promote two different posts through Facebook, and see which performs best when put in front of your ideal customer. This not only brings visitors onto your site, but provides valuable information that might inform future marketing campaigns.

Delegating

  • Put a team in place to handle social media
  • Grant them the necessary privileges

Businesses of a certain size (or smaller ones for whom social media is especially important) might create a team whose full-time job is to monitor Facebook and other social media sites. But even it’s just a few people within your organisation who look after the account, it’s worth handing them administrative privileges so that you can monitor any action taken.

Administrative privileges are called ‘page roles’, and you can find them detailed extensively here.

Conclusion

It’s easy to get lost in the options available on Facebook, and lose perspective on what you’re looking to achieve. As with anything you’re investing time and effort into, it’s worth asking in advance what you’re looking to get from your time-investment. Is it more customers? Better information on your customer habits and wants? Are you going to be selling directly through the platform? Defining your goals up-front will allow you to gauge whether you’re getting the best from the site, and this will, in turn, inform future decisions.


                   



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