If you run a small business or own a start-up company, you may already incorporate a variety of social media tools into your marketing campaigns.
However, there are always new tools and resources available which could improve the effectiveness of your marketing.
By developing an excellent strategy Facebook can be one of the most effective marketing tools available.
With over 2 billion active users each month, the platform provides unlimited potential for businesses of every size.
This guide will take you through the basics of using Facebook for business, so that you have the skills required to develop a powerful business Facebook page.
The differences between Facebook pages, profiles and groups
If you are new to using Facebook for your business, the differences between pages, profiles and groups can make things confusing.
The most important thing to remember is that a Facebook profile is not designed for business use and Facebook could even delete it.
The first step for every business looking to benefit from Facebook should be to create a page.
Although, a Facebook group can also be a useful way of building a community to loosely market your business.
A personal profile is designed to allow personal information to be shared, whereas a Facebook page allows public figures and businesses to connect with their followers.
There are many reasons why a Facebook page can be beneficial to your business, from creating a public face for your brand to discovering more about your customers.
If your marketing strategy involves online platforms, a Facebook page should be one of your most important aspects.
How to set up a Facebook business page
Although your business should not set up a Facebook profile, to set up a page you will need a personal Facebook profile.
This is because every Facebook page is attached to a personal Facebook account.
Once you are ready to create a Facebook for business page, it is simple to follow Facebook’s own on-screen instructions.
Firstly, click the ‘Create a Page’ link which is located in the right-hand top corner.
Initially, you will be asked what type of business category you fall into including; local business or place and company, organisation or institution.
Once you select your business type you will then be asked a series of questions, such as the name of the business, address and business type sub-category.
It is important to make it easy for your customers to recognise your brand, while also providing the necessary contact information, so try to include as much information as possible.
Next, you will have the option to upload a profile picture. Try to create a strong first impression by using images which reflect your brand and its personality.
The profile picture will be shown when users search for your business and will be located within your Facebook page to the top left. Most businesses choose to use their logo as their profile picture, although images of your products or services can also be used.
It is worth bearing in mind that the profile picture is currently circular in shape and any uploads will be cropped to a circle which could cut important information, or the edges of your logo.
Once you have uploaded your profile picture the next step is to choose your cover image.
This picture should measure 820×312 pixels for desktop screens and 640×360 pixels for mobile devices.
It is the most prominent image used on your Facebook business page, so it is worth spending time creating an image which reflects your brand and its objectives.
You can also use video as your cover, which can look great.
Once your cover photo is set your page will be live and Facebook will prompt you to take a walk-through tour of the various page features.
At this point, one of the most important steps is to set your username, as this will make it quick and easy for people to find your business in the search bar.
Creating effective page sections
Although the skeleton of your page is set, there are a variety of additional page sections which you can add, although not every option will suit each business.
One of the most important sections to include is an about section, which will include your contact information and an overview of your business.
This is a great opportunity to introduce your business, although you are only provided with a maximum of 155 characters.
Aside from the standard home page, it is also possible to create a custom welcome tab within your Facebook page.
This will become the first thing your visitors will see when they visit your page and it could guide them towards connecting with you.
In addition, to enhance the visitor experience it is possible to add a variety of page sections which are designed to improve the levels of interaction.
For example, you can add polls, blog feeds, a community page, events section, offers, reviews, services, photos and even a Facebook shop. These are found under ‘settings’ > Templates and Tabs.
3rd party apps are also available and can really enhance your desktop visitors experience – 3rd party apps are not visible on Facebook mobile.
How to grow your Facebook community
Once you have built your Facebook page, the next step is to start to grow your community.
It takes time and consistency to turn a page into a strong community, with engaging content and interaction at the heart of everything.
Although the type of business you operate and your own customers will impact how you use your page, there are some aspects which are essential to every Facebook page.
It is important to remember that your audience doesn’t want to see constant advertisements and sales related content, instead, posts should be engaging and personable.
Before you start inviting people to like and follow your Facebook page, you need to share valuable and engaging content.
Whether you want to add a generic post, advertise an event, or share an offer, the tabs at the top of the status box will provide you with every option.
Once you have added content to your page it is time to give things a nudge by inviting your personal friends and family to like the page.
If you have other social media channels, a website or email subscriber list, these are also excellent places to promote your new page.
When a post is published you should make time to respond to comments and engage with your audience. By maintaining conversations with visitors to your page they are more likely to convert to customers.
Facebook prioritises personal connections when displaying newsfeed posts, so unless you generate a conversation within your posts they may not be seen.
The ideal content for your business will vary hugely, although there are certain types of posts which will usually perform well. For example, celebrating your business milestones or anniversaries while offering a special promotion will make you seem more personable.
Alternatively, videos displayed within the timeline or via Facebook Live will always result in a higher level of interaction than a text-based post. One of the main benefits of using Facebook Live is that you are able to conduct real-time conversations with your followers.
Curating your own content can be time-consuming if you do not have the time or resources to create original content you can also share content from other relevant sources.
This can also improve your networking ability, as other businesses may be willing to share your own content in exchange.
Facebook has a variety of publishing and targeting tools which can improve engagement levels for the content you publish.
For example, publishing tools will enable you to schedule posts for the future. Ideally, you should post at least twice a week, but it can save time to schedule posts ahead of time.
In addition, Facebook Insights is designed to provide you with information about your post engagements, such as the actions taken, the number of people reached and page views.
By combining this information with the ability to schedule posts it will be possible to improve the effectiveness of the content you post.
Responding to messages
Facebook messenger is an ideal customer service tool, which can be used effectively to respond quickly to customer queries.
In fact, many people feel more comfortable using Facebook messenger to conduct a live chat than speaking via a phone call.
Facebook will track the time it takes you to respond, with the most responsive brand pages awarded the best ratings.
To maintain responses which are in line with your customers’ expectations it is possible to add your available online hours and estimated response time to your about section.
There are plans to merge messenger with WhatsApp and Instagram messages, which will make it possible for users of multiple apps to communicate effectively.
Effective Facebook advertising
It is possible to pay to promote a post, which will lead to increased engagement. Although Facebook ads will cost money, they can be a very effective way to target a specific audience.
It is possible to set an overall or daily budget and also select how long you would like the ad to run for.
To improve the effectiveness of your paid posts Facebook has developed targeting tools which will help you to target specific locations and demographics.
Facebook has produced its own guide to creating Facebook ads, which will take you through the complete advertising process. As a small business owner or a new start-up,
Facebook advertising is a great way to test potential advertisements, while gaining valuable customer insights.