As of late 2013, Facebook is one of the top 5 most visited websites in the United States which means, for most businesses, being on Facebook and having an effective social media strategy is a mission critical aspect of their marketing plan. In this article we will be taking a look at how this works, what are some of the things you need to do, and how to do them smarter and more efficiently.
Setting up a business page is fairly easy but beyond the scope of this article. There are quite few online tutorials but the best place to start is Facebook’s own tutorial on how to create a page for your business. Once you’ve got your page setup, there are a few steps you want to follow. The first is securing a vanity URL. There are a few requirements, but the most difficult is to get 25 fans to follow/like your page. This is the time to work your rolodex and get your family, friends, coworkers, neighbor across the street, and anyone you can think of to help you over that 25 fan hurdle. This may not seem like a big deal, but having a Facebook URL with your company looks a lot more professional than one with a bunch of random numbers or letters. And remember choose carefully once you select a vanity URL you can’t change it.
Once you’ve gotten your page set up and running you want to give some thought to editorial style and frequency of your account. While people do spend a lot of time on Facebook, they don’t want to be overwhelmed with messages from any once source, so for most people posting 1-2 times a day or 6-8 times per week is a good frequency to strive for. Now there are exceptions, and you can increase the frequency during your busy season. For example, a cookware merchant would post more around Thanksgiving, and then return to normal once the season is over.
To make the most of what gets shared on Facebook you need to look the data Facebook has about your followers. For example, here’s a look at the age, sex, and geographic distribution of a set of fans:
You can drill down even further and see the demographics of the people who are liking your posts. Next you can see what days and times people who see your posts online:
If the majority of your users are online during the week at 3PM, you probably want to try and schedule your posts a little earlier so when they log in it’s near the top of their newsfeed. If you post at 8AM, it will be farther down the newsfeed and less likely to be seen. Lastly you can look how many people are seeing the posts, and how many are interacting with them:
After looking at who your Facebook fans are, when they are online, and what type of stories they enjoy you can be smarter about what you are posting and when.
Increasing Visibility and Engagement
Facebook has an algorithm that determines who sees your post and who doesn’t. Facebook says they are currently looking at over 100,000 factors to make this decision. Some of those key factors are
Have you liked/shared/interacted with this person recently?
Have your friends liked/shared/interacted with this person?
Has the overall community liked/shared/interacted with this post?
Generally speaking between 20-40% of people who have liked your page will see your posts, however the more of the above factors that are true the higher number of people will see what you post. With this in mind it’s important to know you have two real goals when you are posting to Facebook:
You want your own content to be seen by the most people who will like/share/engage or do whatever conversion action you wanted them to do (buy something, fill out a lead gen form, etc)
You want your fans to like/share/engage with your non-Self Interested Facebook posts as much as possible as this increases the likelihood they will see your Self Interested posts down the road. This is why many pages post funny pictures, inspirational sayings, quizzes, polls, etc.
For most companies its recommend that only 20-30% of your posts be about you, and the rest be about related subject material. For example if you sell car wax, you could post a classic car of the week picture, articles on saving money on gas, or tips buying used cars. These “fluff” pieces that aren’t about you may seem like a waste of time, but to be honest they play tremendous role in how many people see your Self Interested posts. Lastly if you’ve ever been to a party and met someone who won’t stop talking about themselves, you know how annoying they can be…don’t be that guy and talk only about your company on Facebook.
There’s a lot of debate about if you should post the content from your blog or other social media channels onto your Facebook page, and there’s no one size fits all answer. If you are producing a lot of other content, cross posting all of it may be a bit overwhelming, so you are probably better off cherry picking the best content to cross post. If you are producing one blog post a week, by all means cross post it. The key here is to find a balance that makes you look like you want to be part of a community, not be the ruler of it.
Once you’ve got a game plan and are ready to get started you may be overwhelmed by the process of being involved social media. While you don’t need to have a full time employee devoted to project you do need to have someone who will make it their priority. If it’s #3 or #4 on their list chances are it won’t get done, and when it does it won’t get all of their effort. There are tools to automate some of the process and make the job easier, but for many businesses it’s just not the best use of their time. If you know you need to be involved but don’t have the time or know where to start, give us a call and see if we can help.