Facebook Marketing For Small Business

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Two of the biggest problems business owners face when they consider creating a Facebook page for their business:
a) They don’t think it will make a huge difference in their bottom line, and
b) Facebook is always changing, and they don’t think they have time to continually make changes to go with the updates.

While the second problem one is a legitimate one (and one we’ll deal with momentarily,) overcoming the problem of simply not knowing is an easy one.

Facebook is changing the way people do business – it’s as simple as that.

Even business owners that have no interest in being on Facebook or having a page, do so because they know that’s where their customers are, and that’s what’s going to give them an edge over their competitors – which could be you!

In order to get over the hurdle in your mind that Facebook simply doesn’t bear any importance on your business, consider these facts:
• Facebook has more than 800 million users as of 2013.
• One out of every 13 people on the planet is on Facebook.
• More than 71% of Americans use Facebook.
• About 50% of Facebook users logon to the website at least once a day.
• Facebook has become the number one choice of social networks.
• The average Facebook user spends more than 13.5 minutes each day on the website.
• About 48% of Facebook users aged 18-34 check their Facebook page as soon as they wake up.
• Over 1/3 of professional marketers call Facebook “critical” or “important” to their business.

Get the idea that Facebook is important, and that it’s one of the best ways to reach a huge audience in a very short amount of time? That still doesn’t do you much good if you think that you don’t have the time or the capabilities to do it.

The process of actually creating a Facebook page for your business is very easy and in total takes about five minutes (ten if you really hem and haw about it.)

But actually maintaining it, and keeping up with the different changes Facebook is always making? That can be a little tougher.

And while most business owners have the ability to research each change, and find out how to best use it to their advantage, still many more find it much more beneficial to hire a marketing consultant to do it for them.

This in itself is a very easy process, and you’ll find questions at the end of the report that will make it even easier.

For now, let’s look at what you need before you even log on to Facebook, or even start creating your page.

 

One of the biggest benefits that comes from creating and owning a Facebook page is that you don’t really need that much to get started.

Facebook pages are free to businesses so unless you want to do additional advertising on Facebook, you won’t even need your credit card!

Still, it’s always good to be prepared and you may want to arm yourself with a few things before you set about building your page.

A personal profile page

Your personal profile page has nothing to do with your business’ Facebook page. You can place a link to the company page on your own personal page if you’d like, but that is it.

This is not the place to promote, sell, or market your business; and Facebook may even ban you from the site if you do.

So why have a personal profile page at all? It’s important to have this before you create your business’ page, especially if you’re not familiar with Facebook, so you can get used to all the different features and know what’s available. Plus, once your business’ page is up and running, visitors might want to check out your own profile page – and that kind of interaction between the two pages is definitely okay!

Two photos or images

With the new Facebook pages that include the Timeline, instead of having just one picture displayed, you get two!

Along with the standard profile picture that Facebook has had since Day One, you now also get a cover photo. This photo is much larger than your profile picture and looks very similar to a banner ad displayed across the top of your page.

But to be very clear – this is not to be used as ad space!

Facebook is very clear about that and placing any kind of advertising or promotion here is sure to get you booted from Facebook.

We’ll get into the specifics later on when discussing the step-by-step process of setting up your page, but do make sure that you have two general photos in mind. It can be discouraging to be extremely motivated to create your page, only to find out that you can’t find two photos that you want to use.

A vision, theme, or idea for your page

Just as it can be frustrating to be ready to create your page and be left with no photos, it can be equally frustrating to be left staring at a white screen because you don’t know what you want to say.

Go into your Facebook page creation process with a clear vision or idea in mind of what you want it to look like, what you want it to say, what links you want to display, what videos and pictures you want to share, and what the main theme or topics of your posts will be.

Not knowing this ahead of time can make for a very confusing page or worse, one that’s boring with little on it – and one that doesn’t get many visitors.

Whether it’s based around the products you sell, giving helpful information to customers, or helping people in their daily lives, know what you want to do with your page and it will be much easier to create.

 

So you’re all set up and you’ve even gotten your Facebook page for your business looking and feeling exactly how you want. But how do you use it most effectively?

Recent research collected by Buddy Media investigated some of the biggest questions business owners had about their Facebook business page: When should they post? How often should they post? And other questions just like these.

Their findings can be applied to your own page, and can help you determine when and how the best ways are to post onto your Facebook page.

•The research showed that the best times to post were when people were not typically at work. For example- first thing in the morning, between the hours of 8pm-7am, on weekends, and on holidays. This is when your fans will be most likely to comment and “like” your posts.

•The research focused on pages that were updated regularly throughout the week, including weekdays and weekends. Wednesday was the very best day to post, with 8 per cent higher engagement than any other day. Sunday was second to that, but by a long shot at 4%.

•As long as the posts are useful information, posting one two times a day showed a rating of 40 per cent higher user engagement.

•So one or two times a day, but how often per week should you post? According to Buddy Media, cluttering up your fans’ News Feed with a ton of posts throughout the week is not the way to go. The study showed that publishing to your page yields a 71% higher user engagement than pages that had five or more posts within any one retail brand.

•Now you know how often, but how long should your posts be? The research showed that the shorter the post, the sweeter it truly is. Posts that had fewer than 80 characters (not words) received a 66% higher user engagement than those that used more than that. Posts that contain only 1 to 40 characters have the highest user engagement of all at 86%; but only 5% of businesses make their posts this short.

•Ask questions! The study also showed that question posts receive twice as many comments as non-question posts.

•Make them fill in the blank! The research also showed that when you ask your visitors to fill in the blank (i.e. “My favorite thing about summer is _____)” people are nine times more likely to comment on the post and to “like” it.

•Know your keywords and how to use them. Facebook is very SEO and keyword-oriented so you might need to research which keywords best fit your page and industry and focus on those. The research from Buddy Media showed that for the retail industry the best keywords to use are “$ off” and “coupon”.

•Keep it simple. Buddy Media says that posts that contain only text have a 94 per cent higher user engagement than those that include links, photos, or videos. If using some type of media, be sure to only use one per post.

You know how to create your very own Facebook page for your business, and you even know how to effectively use it once it’s up and running. The only problem is, you don’t have the time or the energy to want to spend time actually doing it. And you definitely don’t have the time to keep with Facebook’s ever-changing policies and formats.

For this problem there’s also a solution, and that’s to hire a marketing consultant.

While there are several things you’ll want to ask any firm or consultant you hire, these are the most important when it’s time to focus on your Facebook page.

How long have you been using Facebook? Why did you start?
Here you’re looking for one of the first people to jump onto the Facebook bandwagon. You want to know that they understand where Facebook has been, where it’s going and most importantly, that they can adapt to all the changes always being made.

You also want to know that they didn’t create their first profile yesterday in an effort to boost their own business.

What do you use your personal Facebook page for?
It’s okay if the consultant uses it to upload pictures of family events, or even pictures of the party they attended last weekend. But you also want to know that they are marketing-minded all the way, and they also use their personal profile page to advertise their own business.

What background do you have in social media, other than Facebook?
Any good consultant will tell you there’s an entire world out there beyond Facebook when it comes to social media. By understanding all the sites and all the networks, your consultant will be able to tell you how to effectively incorporate all of the ones you’ll be using.

Do I need to be on Facebook and every other site?
You are definitely not looking for a resounding “Yes!” here – that would take an entire team of consultants alone. Instead, the consultant should explain which ones are best for you considering your industry, your business, and what you’re trying to achieve from your page.

How do you measure your own results for your own page?
You want specifics such as “My business has improved by X amount of dollars…I’ve gained X amount of new PR opportunities….I’ve met X amount of new people.” Any consultant worth their salt in social media will be fairly obsessed with it and will know the detail down to the exact number. They also won’t be afraid to share it with you; it is after all, a huge achievement!

What exact results can you promise me?
You’re not looking for specific. No one can guarantee that 1,000 more people are going to “like” your page, or that you’re going to get 500 more comments per week. Instead your consultant should talk to you about different strategies, the ones that will work best for your business, and the results you can expect to have – not that you’re guaranteed to have.

Can I cut out my offline marketing now that I’m on Facebook?
Of course, here you’re looking for a resounding “No!” You can’t stop all other forms of advertising. Facebook is good, but it’s not that good. Still ask the question so that you can get an idea if the consultant is trying to help your business, or help themselves.

How much will it cost to set up my Facebook page?
Truthfully, setting up a Facebook page – and only setting up a Facebook page – isn’t very difficult, and doesn’t take that much time. Because of this, no consultant should be charging you a fortune to do just that. Now, running and updating your page on a daily or weekly basis? That’s different and it will cost a little more, but it still shouldn’t eat away at your profit margin too greatly.

Have you written online content before?
This question only needs to be asked if you plan on having the consultant post to your page for you. And of course, if you want them to do that, you want to know that they have a bit of experience in doing it.

Will this fix the problems my business is having?
Do not make the mistake of marketing on Facebook in order to solve your business’ problems – it will only emphasize them rather than solve them. Any consultant that tells you otherwise isn’t interested in genuinely helping you.

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