This is the first in a series of blog posts on social media marketing for small businesses. Here is part 1 on Facebook marketing.
Website content should be deliberate, explanatory, and drive sales, leaving little room for personal engagement. For small businesses, that’s where social media marketing comes in. Social media is a valuable tool for speaking to your audience on a more conversational level. Each social media platform has its own niche audience, and a particular voice associated with it. Using the same post across channels will make it seem “not at home”, and discourage users from engaging. Learning about the demographics, ideal posting time and posting frequency will help your social media channels to acquire new business. Read on to find out which platforms your small business should be posting on, and how you can write the perfect copy for each platform.
Who Uses Facebook?
Well, I guess we shouldn’t say that every platform has a niche audience. Almost everyone uses Facebook. Younger people, middle-aged people, older people. People with and without college educations. Though it does skew slightly toward women, it is generally used by everyone. In the past few years, people over the age of 65 have been joining as well.
That being said, younger people have recently been favoring platforms with less of an adult presence, such as Instagram, which we’ll discuss in the next post.
Marketing Your Company on Facebook
The first thing you need to do is create a Facebook page. This may seem obvious, but we say it for people who don’t understand that there is a difference between a personal profile and a page. A Facebook page can be created for a local business or place, company, organization or institution, brand or product, artist, band or public figure, entertainment, and cause or community. Facebook pages should be used for marketing efforts, and the personal pages should be left as personal.
There are two main ways that you can market your brand on Facebook. The first is the paid route. With Facebook paid ads, you can target a particular demographic, and appear as sponsored or suggested posts in that demographic’s news feed. Facebook boosted posts will only appear to people who have liked your brand’s page (unless you pay for a higher reach, which expands the scope of your presence). These are the ads that you see in the right column on your desktop computer, or in your feed on a mobile device or desktop. With the right configuration and research on who would be the most responsive to your page, this can be extremely beneficial to your business.
The second way, which is way more tedious and time-consuming, is organic marketing. Put simply, this is good old fashioned engaging with your customers. By encouraging your customers to “like” your page and leave reviews (either in person, through email marketing, print ads, or on your website), you are growing your audience and boosting your reach. Since Facebook changed their algorithm (which essentially forces people to pay for visibility), it is important that you continuously post, comment, and engage with your audience so that you remain relevant and, therefore, visible in news feeds. Organic marketing on Facebook is somewhat a snowball effect, in that its tough to get going, but once you pick up momentum it gets easier. This bring us to our next topic…
8 Tips for Effective Facebook Posts
As stated above, keeping your audience engaged is very important when marketing on social media. Being conversational without seeming unprofessional is the key to writing a well-received Facebook post. However, be sure that the voice you use is in line with your company branding.
1. Include Pictures in Your Posts
Posts with pictures liven up customers’ news feeds, and give them a reason to engage with your brand. You don’t need to take the picture to post it on your page – just make sure there are no copyright infringements.
2. Keep Text to a Minimum
Facebook doesn’t have a character limit like Twitter, but posts with minimal text tend to perform better than posts with excessive text. If you wouldn’t read your post, then consider tightening it.
3. Include a Call to Action
This is crucial. You should have a goal for each Facebook post. After delivering your message, challenge your customers to take the next step. This can be to register for, purchase, or even read more about something. A call to action is generally a link to your website.
4. Be Conversational & Engaging
Don’t be excessively informal, but show your customers that you are more than a computer. With rare exceptions, writing in a positive, light voice can compel readers to engage with your call to action.
5. Avoid Hashtags
Hashtags are primarily used in more specialized platforms like Twitter and Instagram. On Facebook, they can come off as spammy, careless, and visually unappealing.
6. Edit Link Headlines & Descriptions
As a Facebook page admin, you have the privilege of editing the headline and brief description for each article or link you share. This means that you should carefully parcel out your message between the headline, description and post copy, while avoiding redundancy.
7. Think About Posting Time & Frequency
Depending on your business and competition, certain times will be more effective than others to post. You can do your research and check the “insights” on your Facebook page to see what days and times are most effective. There are tools, such as Hootsuite, that will post for you when the time is right.
Depending upon the quantity of content you have at your disposal, try to post around two times per day. More than this may overload customers’ news feeds, and dissuade them from engaging or taking further action.
8. Keep Mobile Users in Mind
These days, most social media users are on mobile devices. If you’re posting from a desktop, think about how your post would appear on a mobile feed before posting it.
Depending upon your audience, you may have to vary your strategy slightly. However, Facebook offers free analytics that will help you to determine how certain posts perform in comparison to others based on factors such as posting time, likes, engagement, comments and more. Experiment, and use these analytics to determine what works for you!