We all know Facebook and more than 2.8 billion people use the platform every single month. There might be a tendency to dismiss it as a place to see pictures of your friends’ dinners, but Facebook has become an essential marketing tool for small businesses to promote themselves. This is evidenced by the fact that two-thirds of Facebook users report going to the Facebook page of a local business at least once a week. In this guide we will let you know how to make the most of your presence on Facebook.
Set Up a Business Page
The first thing to do is to set up a business page. Don’t use your own personal account as you won’t get access to Facebook Business Manager and many features that will help grow your business. Don’t worry it won’t put your personal information on the site.
Once you tap on pages and then create, you will be given the options to fill out typical information about your business:
Business name – Try and make sure your business name is consistent across all social media. Note: if you haven’t decided on your business name yet, then you may want to hold off as changing the name at a later date may take time.
Description – This is Facebook, so there is no need to write too much, but get across the values of your business and what makes you different in a brief paragraph.
Templates – Facebook provides a number of templates that are designed to reflect the mood and style of specific industries, so choose one that best fits what your business stands for.
Profile Image – It is crucial for your profile image to be snappy, engaging and convey what you offer at a glance. Your small business will have competitors. And the chances are your customers will be influenced by the quality of your profile image long before they go in and look at your service – especially if they don’t expect major differentiators in that service.
Call to action – Make sure you enable your call-to-action button. Once you do so you will have a number of options – for example go to your website, make a call, email. So choose the option that is most valuable to you.
Define Your Target Audience
In order to successfully do ads and create content that will engage your audience you need to define your target audience and create a buyer persona. You can do that by thinking about the following questions and others:
- How old are your target followers?
- Where do they live?
- What kind of jobs do they have?
- What are their challenges?
- How and when do they use Facebook?
Once you have done that you can cross reference by going to Facebook Audience Insights to see demographics of Facebook users. This should confirm that they are active on Facebook. You can then get further insights into their usage patterns, interests and likes so that you can develop the right content for them.
Set Your Objectives
Your small business is going to spend time and potentially money on Facebook marketing, so it is essential to have planned out what you expect to get from that effort. While Likes can hold some importance, they are often a vanity statistic. Measurables like generating leads, getting conversions on your website and improving customer service are more specific and practical. As always you should plan out how to achieve those objectives and use the SMART or OKR goal frameworks.
Plan Your Content Mix
Before you plan out your content, you need to understand the formats, or simply ways, you have to express that content. You can opt for simple text posts, photos or video. As you can guess you can expect better engagement from photos and then again video. When making video bear in mind that 85% of users watch Facebook videos on silent so as not to disturb those around them. This means that you should put subtitles or captions on the video.
Other Forms of Content
Facebook Stories – This option disappears after 24 hours. And perhaps because of the urgency to watch that brings, over 500 million people watch Facebook Stories every day. In addition, they appear at the top of the news feed.
Facebook Live and Facebook Watch Party – Both of these options offer you the ability to stream live and therefore bring yourself closer to your audience. For example, you can offer your audience the opportunity to ask you questions and interact with you. It is a tool that has proven very successful to create connections that are not possible from just reading posts and commenting.
Choosing Your Content Mix
The next step is to plan out the kinds of content you will create. What is important to understand here is that your content shouldn’t just be about how great your product is. There are a lot of studies addressing this subject, but the general suggestion is to follow the “80-20 Rule”. This rule states that 80% of your posts should inform, educate and entertain, while only the remaining 20% should promote your services or brand. Another approach suggests that one-third of your content should share ideas and stories. One-third should include personal interactions with your followers. And the rest can sell your business.
This is the same for small businesses if they want to successfully do Facebook marketing. For example, if you are a plumber or handyman you can post guides on fixing basic household problems. While if you are a piano teacher you can do content on buying pianos, approaches to study and the basics of piano teaching.
To help yourself decide what kind of content you need review what your competitors are doing and perform social listening. The latter enables you to see what your customers are thinking about. One other way to understand what your customers are thinking is to join a forum or group where they are active discussing their problems. They might not let you comment or sell your services, but you can listen and learn and produce content for them to find.
The above may sound complex therefore you should create a content calendar. It will enable you to see that you have created a good balance of content types and have their frequency and order optimized.
Facebook Business Manager
You can do an ad without joining Facebook Business Manager and you can make posts so it can be confusing why you need to use here. However, Facebook Business Manager offers a way to unify your posts and ads together and see statistics for both. It also offers a way to create a post with an image carousel and when you do ads to post also to Instagram and Messenger at the same time.
These are the equivalent of forums and are exceptionally popular with Facebook users. If you create a group remember that people are going there to find information and get help, not for you to sell to them. Therefore, you have to make sure that is what you are offering them.
If you are worried that it seems you are giving away your service by offering all this information, you need to view it from another angle. Your job is to establish yourself as an expert in your field that someone can trust. You can do that without giving away everything about what you are doing. If you are a piano teacher they still need the lessons and if you are a handyman, some people will watch the video and then decide it is too much trouble for them and call you – that is your target customer.
Messenger and Messenger Chatbot
A staggering 20 billion messages are exchanged with businesses on Facebook every month. You should be utilising Messenger for ads and to reply to messages from your potential customers. If you only offer the facility to post on your wall, then those customers who are expecting answers immediately will go elsewhere. As I mentioned before, especially if you are a local business, you need to understand the potential reasons why someone would want your service and their timeframes for making a decision. If they have a burst pipe, then they are not going to wait for a reply.
Of course, answering customer questions is difficult if you are the person providing the service for your business. You can help solve that problem with Messenger Chatbot. Chatbots are not a thing of the future but a practical tool to handle some of your customer service now. And you don’t need to be a programmer to set it up, it has easy to use interface where you just add the answers relevant to your business.
Facebook Ads and Pixel
Facebook has led the way in terms of delivering hyper personalised ads. Whatever your opinion on the controversies around how Facebook advertising has been used, it shows one thing: that it works.
If you are going to make the most of Facebook, then you are going to have to pay for a little advertising. It is an incredibly competitive space, meaning all that great content you produce will be hard to get in front of your potential customers. It is therefore necessary to at least boost it a little at first to drive up your subscribers. The majority of ad engagement comes from mobile so make sure you are optimized for it.
When you start to set up your ad you have to choose between three objectives for the ad: awareness, consideration and conversion. These objectives relate to the buyer journey and how customers decide to buy products. They are an industry standard and should be understood to do effective marketing on any platform.
Buyer Journey Stages
Awareness – At this stage you are trying to attract and make yourself known to customers who are not aware that you or your service exists. They feel they have a problem, but they are not sure that there is even a solution for it. Your job is let them know a solution is out there.
Consideration – Here your customers know that you and your services exist but are not sure that your solution, compared to others, is the best thing for them.
Decision – Finally, your customers have decided that they want a solution similar to what you are selling, and they are looking around for the best solution. Here you will be offering discounts or free trials to push them over the line.
Types of Ads
The Individual ads that you can create for different goals are:
- image or video ads
- carousel ads
- slideshow ads
- collection ads
- instant experiences ads
- dynamic ads
- Messenger ads
- Stories ads
- augmented reality ads
- playable ads
There are a lot of different ad formats here and that can be confusing, however, the starting point should be budget. Both for serving the ad and production. Obviously, the more rich, dynamic, and interactive your ad is the better but not everyone can afford those options. And it may not be necessary – have a look at what kind of ads are your competitors making.
Get together a plan for a mix of ads based on your budget and build testing into that. What I mean is to run variations of an ad to see which one is most successful. Remember your objective here is to test so just change one element such as the image, a piece of text or the call to action. This way you can identify what is working and what isn’t.
We mentioned above the importance of testing different ad types and content. You can track their success and audience engagement through Facebook Insights, where you can see:
- Reach (how many people saw your posts)
- Engagement (how many people liked, clicked, shared or commented on your post)
- Which of your posts results in people unliking your page
Additionally, Facebook Insights will help you determine which types of posts work best for your Page. This way you’ll know if your current content mix is working.
There is a lot to learn with regard to Facebook but then the potential rewards are extremely large if you get it right. And Facebook provides an enormous amount of resources also to help you out.
Once you have utilised Facebook to improve lead generation and sales, you need to send quotes, invoices and take payments. Hoof’s payment solution has all the tools to help you win business and more efficiently manage payments.