Social media for business – Facebook

| February 15, 2018

In my previous article I outlined why firms should use social media and the two platforms I recommend for business to customer (B2C) social media marketing – Facebook and Twitter. To recap, Facebook is a platform where you may discuss personal experiences that might include products you’ve bought or seek advice on products you want to buy and hence my preferred platform for B2C social media.

Twitter I’d use in conjunction with Facebook as a brand awareness platform as it is easy and quick to join in a ‘conversation’ – but more about Twitter in a future article.

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook for his fellow students out of his dorm room at Harvard. Today, every man and his dog (yes – my sister-in-law’s dog has a Facebook page) can be found on Facebook. I suggest Facebook for B2C as Facebook knows a lot about its over two billion users and your potential customers.

Facebook uses this information to your advantage when you purchase ads. It is fairly straightforward and free to create a Facebook page for your business which comes with features such as call-to-action buttons, reviews links, a community where posts, photos and videos from customer show up, a messages inbox, polls and insights into page views, number of people you have reached and much more.

Once you have created your business Facebook page you then need to start creating and engaging an audience. Here are some tips: –

Know your ideal audience
You need to understand who you are selling to. This might be more than one group so spend a little time building Facebook personas of your target audience. Facebook is really good at targeting defined audience. If say you sell baby products in Melbourne you can utilise Facebook targeting tools to sell to people aged between 25-40 and 65+, in the part of Melbourne you wish, or even people that have just got married. This targeting ability is really why I like Facebook for B2C marketing.

Create and advertise events
Another Facebook tool is the ability to create an events page, which you can use to invite people to and (for a fee) invite people in your targeted audience group. Your targeted group might be people that have just got engaged so you might invite them to a tour of your wedding venue. Facebook at the moment loves, loves, loves videos so make a short video and post that online.

Consistency
This applies to all platforms – select a @username that reflects your business e.g. my Byronvale Advisors Facebook username is Byronvaleadvisors so the url is www.facebook.com/byronvaleadvisors/. If you can’t get your ideal pick or if your ideal username is too long, then think of ways to get as close to your brand as possible. Byronvale Advisors Twitter handle (username) is @byronvaleadvise as Twitter limits username length to 15 characters.

Spend some money
To really get the most out of Facebook for your business you’re going to have to spend some money. Because of the targeted audience ability with Facebook you pay for ads that will hit a target audience rather than a ‘shotgun’ approach of paying for ads that reach a wide audience but not necessarily your target audience.

Ads are relatively inexpensive and you can set a budget that suits your business. Use Facebook insights to help you develop future promotions. Don’t use boosts – they only have limited targeting ability and conversion tools (call-to-action buttons, scheduling etc.). You can still use Facebook without ads however it might not be very effective, and for B2B businesses this might be appropriate if you’re using LinkedIn and Twitter as your primary social media platforms.

Don’t just post and forget
Facebook is social media – which means you need to interact with and respond users that leave comments, questions and complaints. It’s a two-way conversation and just like customers that come into a store they are more likely to buy from you if you have a conversation with them than if you ignore them.

Experiment
Facebook algorithms change constantly so what you did and may have worked last month, might not be so successful this month

So, you’ve now created engaging content and then Facebook changes the playing field. Yes – unfortunately this is a reality and social media platforms are constantly changing their algorithms. In January 2018 Facebook flagged changes to news feeds. Facebook will prioritise personal news feeds and only has limited spaces for business news feeds and ones that Facebook’s algorithms predict will spark meaningful “back-and-forth discussion.”

In addition, there is likely to be a separate news feed for business called ‘Explore’. This doesn’t mean there is no longer a place for business feeds – it just means businesses will need to create more engaging content and also targeted ads. My tips when these changes occur are: –

Schedule through Facebook directly (not through third-parties such as Hootsuite or Statusbrew)
Facebook will love videos but upload them directly into Facebook and not via Vimeo or Youtube links
Don’t use outbound links in your post e.g. don’t put a post telling about your lawn mowing business and attach a link to your website. Facebook will treat this as overt selling and penalize you.

Remember Facebook’s revenue comes from ads so they do not want to kill off your ad spend. In fact, this change is not just done so Facebook users don’t have as many ‘pesky ads’ – it is done to push businesses towards paying for ad placements.

These changes don’t need to be a disaster for your business. Because individuals will have their own news feed Facebook predict they will spend more time on Facebook. Then as a business you need to be more Facebook savvy to get a result from Facebook this will drive your competitors that aren’t either off Facebook or their impact will be dramatically reduced.

In summary, out of all the social media platforms Facebook is my ‘go-to’ platform for business to consumer businesses. I will address how to manage your social media, including Facebook, in a future article in this series, so you can ‘Run Your Business Better’.

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Stephen Barnes

Stephen Barnes is the principal of management consultancy Byronvale Advisors and the author of ‘Run Your Business Better’. He has spent over 20 years advising clients from start-ups to publicly listed companies and prides himself on understanding their issues and producing pragmatic solutions.